Recovery For The Aging CrossFitter
By Coach Manny Alayon
Whether you are an ex-athlete, marathon runner, veteran CrossFitter or weekend warrior taking care of your body becomes vital as you age. In a previous post, I discussed some training advice for the aging CrossFitter. The post mainly had to do with the training volume and training frequency relationship for the aging CrossFitter. As previously discussed, biological and training age are different and can give you some insight as to how to train optimally. You can read more about it here.
I often half-joke about me being “too old” to do what some of my workout partners are doing. I always use this excuse for my (debatably) unnecessary long warm-ups and my refusal to participate in too much competitive exercising. But the truth is I have been doing CrossFit for around 11 years (pre-bok era) and have almost 20 years of wrestling (10 years of which were highly competitive) under my belt. So even though I am 31 years old, my body has become a little more sensitive to training. I simply do not recover as quickly as I used to. Something I have really dialed in in the past few years was making sure my training volume and frequency was appropriate for what my body can handle and also what it needs for continued progress. A little more recently I have become heavily into what recovery practices work best. I’d like to share some of these successes with you in hopes that you may find them beneficial and can implement them into your regimen. Some of these are basic, but perhaps you may find some of the others surprising.
Anything less than 8 hours simply isn’t optimal for recovery. Before the excuses start, try your damn best to get to bed earlier to start the recovery process. Your body does most of its recovering while you are asleep!
Seems pretty simple right? Most CrossFitters think they eat relatively healthy until we begin to peel the onion (no pun intended) as to what is going into their bodies. Some of us overeat and some of us undereat. Overeating will not hinder your recovery unless you are getting it from heavily processed sources and your macronutrients are not BALANCED. Taking in around 1g/lbs. of bodyweight of protein is a good start for most people. Undereating will severely hinder your recovery, your energy levels will be low thus leaving you feeling sluggish all the time. For someone looking to maintain their current weight but have sufficient energy for kickass workouts we recommend taking in 12-16x their bodyweight in total calories. This has a large variance depending on goals, current workout routine etc.
I would only recommend supplements if you have the above two checked off. Supplements are not meant to be a magic pill or a quick fix. However, coupled with some good sleep and nutrition I have seen some pretty awesome results with some popular supplements. My #1 go to is a solid protein powder. A hydrolyzed whey isolate is the purest form of whey, it is highly absorbable and is used primarily for muscular recovery. Whether you are looking to lose fat or gain lean muscle, using a protein supplement is pretty essential. I personally use Progenex More Muscle for my post workout protein. I would recommend Paleoethics Super Serum for anyone who has discomfort with whey products.
To further enhance the recovery process, I also take fish oil 2x a day. I take about 1g in the morning and 1g in the evening. Fish oil helps with inflammation and also with joint recovery. I am a bit of a brand whore, so I stick with the Progenex Omega. It is one of the only ones that I have used that does not give you the fishy burps! Eww!
The last supplement I use is a relatively new one to the industry. It is pretty controversial because of where it comes from (don’t worry it is 100% legal). But I have been adding this to my routine every night and do believe it has helped my body with inflammation and recovery. CBD oil is best known for its pain relieving properties as well as anti-inflammatory properties as well. CBD oil comes in salve, vape, pills and a rub.
Again, supplements are not used as substitutions for the basics. Sleep, hydration and nutrition are your foundation. The supplements are an added little bonus. I try my best to make sure I am training with the appropriate amount of volume and frequency. It all comes full circle when my sleep, nutrition and supplements are on point. So take care of your body by training the appropriate amount for your training age and use the recovery methods to promote even further longevity and performance! Let’s live a long, healthy and high quality life together!