Five Ways to Recover Faster after CrossFit

heavinglifting

 

 

heavinglifting

 

Heavy lifting such as CrossFit can be very taxing on the entire body. Most people do not realize that physical stress, (not just mental stress) can also trigger adrenal fatigue. Not only do the muscles need to recover, but the entire body needs to heal from the stress induced by heavy lifting. Some of the most amazing athletes know that they need to rest and recover in order to maintain their strength, stamina, and ability to perform at their best. What are some things you can do now to speed the recovery process and heal faster?

 

1. Magnesium.

Magnesium plays an important role in the production of energy. Being deficient in magnesium can have a negative effect on sports performance. Magnesium is a calming mineral, and can turn the body from being in a stress-state or sympathetic state into a parasympathetic or relaxed state. According to this study, magnesium supplementation reduced the stress response in the body for the athletes. There are different many different forms of magnesium, but to help with muscle recovery and overall relaxation after a tough workout, transdermal magnesium massages and magnesium bath soaks are both great solutions! Soak for 20 minutes after a workout for best results.

 

2. Include gelatin in your diet.

All that heavy lifting can be taxing on your joints and cartilage! Although gelatin protein doesn’t necessarily support initial muscle healing (you need to include nutrient dense sources of protein, such as pasture raised meats and wild seafood which contain all essential amino acids), gelatin is great for the joints, and helps with stiffness and pain associated with heavy lifting. Gelatin contains high amounts of glycine and proline, which are both anti-inflammatory and great for joints. According to this research, gelatin was beneficial for symptom relief of osteoarthritis, and can stimulate change and enhancement of cartilage tissue. Try adding it to your morning coffee or tea, or even as part of your recovery drink.

 

3. Prioritize sleep!

In our ‘rush rush’ culture, sleep is often not a priority. Sleep is perhaps one of the most important means to recovery. When we are asleep, the body can heal and renew. Most of us are not getting enough sleep. For athletes, not getting enough sleep makes for slower healing time, increased stress, and decreased recovery. According to this research,  adapting appropriate sleep hygiene and healthy sleeping habits are important for optimal athletic performance. Sleep needs to become our number one health priority, rather than our last. A few things that can help ease into a good night’s sleep are to stay off of all screens 2 hours before bedtime, and to have a routine that includes reading, gentle stretching, a warm bath, or something you find relaxing. It’s important to keep the same routine and bedtime every night.

 

4. Take yoga.

There is no better way to stretch out those fatigued muscles and improve recovery than by taking a yoga class. Yoga enhances strength, stamina, and flexibility. According to bodybuilding.com:  

‘Yoga is the best medicine for preventing injuries and aiding muscle recovery and repair. When the muscles and surrounding tissues are lengthened and relaxed during yoga asana (Sanskrit word for postures) it creates more room for blood to flow.’

Yoga also forces you to take time to just ‘be’ without thinking. This can help significantly with emotional stress, which is also taxing on the body. Even one yoga class a week can really help athletes with recovery and performance!

 

5. Eat a sweet potato instead of an apple!

Glycogen depletion can cause fatigue for athletes. Low glycogen can be a limiting factor in both performance and recovery. It’s important to get glycogen directly to the muscle during recovery. Adequate carbohydrate during the recovery period is important in this metabolic process. However, the type of carbohydrate consumed actually makes a big difference! Fruit sources of carbs contain fructose, and fructose does not help with restoring glycogen nearly as much as glucose does. These researchers studied muscle recovery with glucose vs fructose. They found that glucose restores muscle glycogen 40% faster than fructose! They believe fructose is absorbed slower in the intestines, blood glucose is significantly higher with glucose vs fructose and therefore higher plasma insulin results in increased glucose uptake. Finally, fructose gives rise to more liver glycogen than glucose. This lowers muscle glycogen directly available for muscle glycogen synthesis. -Read more.

Fructose is found in fruit like apples, pears, peaches, oranges, etc. The better thing to reach for when recovering are starchy vegetables like tubers, sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, beets, carrots and squash. These are all great ‘read food’ way to get glycogen to the muscle. Some athletes find that white rice right after a workout works great for them as well.

*Remember not to overtrain, and to listen to your body. It’s counterproductive if you are not getting adequate sleep and nutrition, yet still training.

 

Self-Healing Through Meditation

K9

K9

We are very much alike on the inside. We all internalize and present our emotions differently, but we all have similar internal struggles.  We all want to feel good inside. Most of us look outward to fulfill our needs. We look for recognition and validation through how other people react to us. Then when our expectations from that other person are not met, we have someone to blame other than ourselves. Our minds may be small and closed-we see through the same “eyes” over an over, and hold onto the same judgments that have been ingrained in our brain.

Looking inward…turning inward is very difficult because it means feeling very uncomfortable. It means you have to be alone with yourself, and learn to like what you feel.  We live in a harsh world, and years of negative experiences takes a toll on us. There is no one to blame for the strong emotions that are experienced, even though we want to blame others. However, facing these emotions facilitates inward healing.  You will no longer have that need to justify love for yourself by how others perceive you. Once you start to focus on the good in yourself, you will begin to see more of the good in those around you. You will begin to judge less.

This is where meditation comes in…

The act of “meditation” seems so out of reach to many of us. Where on earth would I find the time for that? How could I ever quiet the chatter that goes on in my mind? You may even think of it as nonsense, or foolishness. Why on earth would someone want to just sit there and be still? How can I not think? I have heard many people say “I’m too much of a Type A personality to meditate” or “I can’t get my mind to turn off”

Try to just imagine for a second being able to center, and focus. Try to imagine moving to a quiet place in your mind.  How awesome would it be to feel “high” and happy without stimulation, or materialistic distraction? Imagine being able to connect with yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin.  Imagine being able to view the world through a new set of eyes-ones that don’t internalize the world in quite the same way as before. To me, meditating is about being able to sit and feel, to process, and to let go. It is about being in the moment, and taking in what that moment has to offer. It is about connecting with yourself, and forgiving yourself. It is about healing, creating self love and self respect. It is in this space where you may begin to experience true happiness. Through meditating, we can “face our demons” so to speak.

Most people who meet me think that I am very laid back and quiet. I’ve been told that I am a calming presence and that I seem easy going. I am slowly getting there, However, people who really know me know that I am actually very intense. I am usually stiff and rigid, holding everything inside myself.  I am  an extremely “Type A” person. I have always been at least a ½ hour early for every appointment. I’ve always written lists, adhered to schedules, worried about pointless things. My mind would focus on the past…or worry about the future. I set very high standards for myself, and get disappointed with myself very easily. In the past I have always cared about how other people perceive me, yet I was not fulfilling my own desires. I always assumed I was not fit for meditation of any kind, because my mind just could not be quieted. It was just not possible or for me. I found my “happy place” through music  and through exercising…through long drives and through solitary hikes.

Little did I know…I was meditating during these activities! 

 Anytime the mind is quiet (NOT empty, just quiet), and focused-you are meditating. You are going into a semi-trance state, and you are more open to suggestion. Your thoughts are all on one particular object or idea. So…when you are listening to music and experiencing the emotions that you feel with the song…you are meditating. The song is taking you to a place in your mind where you are focused. You are dealing with the emotions the song is bringing up-be it happy, sad, scared, longing, lonely. You feel the music, you are in tune with your inner self. You are feeling. You are meditating. Acknowledge the feelings you are experiencing, no matter how painful they may be. Acknowledge the feelings, and then try to let them go.

Remember, your thoughts do not own you, and sometimes they can be toxic to you. So during these times of solitary focus, try to acknowledge that these are just thoughts stuck in your brain through many from years of conditioning, and free them. Don’t let these thoughts own or define you. We can get pretty tied up in our own minds.

While driving in the car you “space out”…suddenly you reach your destination. However, you have no recollection of the trip. You are meditating. You are focusing on the road, your thoughts are able to enter your mind, and leave. When running or cycling you reach that “high” where you are focused yet strong, and you feel really good. You are meditating. It is during these moments that you are the most creative! I always find that while running I have the best ideas-and I get really excited about them.

Successful meditation is not necessarily thinking about “nothing”. It is about being present with yourself in that moment. We have this preconceived misconception that in order to meditate you have to fully clear your mind of all thought. Therefore, we don’t even bother trying. However, the flow of your mind does not ever stop. You cannot “turn your mind off” To me, meditating is about letting the thoughts enter your mind, experiencing them, and then releasing them. We usually ignore how we feel-suppress it-push it aside-bury it. The simple act of acknowledging how the thought made you feel helps you to heal. It may take time, but it is a process.

 It’s as if you are taking the time to sit and have an important conversation with yourself…you are focusing on only yourself. Give yourself permission to open up and let go. You will begin to realize that your thoughts do not define who you are. We tend to be terrible to ourselves, and can be our own worst enemy. Forgive yourself. You are complex and multifaceted. The feelings you experience are necessary-that is your way of healing. Don’t try to close out these feelings before acknowledging them. Try to be present and in the moment. Really feel how you are feeling, as if a friend is crying on your shoulder, but that friend is yourself. With each breath, release the feelings you are experiencing.

Not only will you begin to heal, but you will feel less angry and more forgiving. You will begin to better understand the actions of those around you, and be less judging of others. You will experience lower stress levels and better health! You may even begin to be true to yourself, and make necessary changes in your life.

Anyone can meditate.

Take 15 minutes a day for yourself. Listen to music that moves you. Go for a long drive, or even just sit on the edge of your bed and focus on your breathing. Have these conversations with yourself. It can be first thing in the morning, on your drive to work, while on lunch break, when your child is napping, before bed or during intense exercise. Anytime…just take that time.

Pay attention to your breathing. Let the thoughts come in and acknowledge them. Record in your mind how you felt, and focus on that feeling for a moment. Did you feel angry? Accept that. Did you feel sad? Feel it. Then let it go. Imagine that thought and the feeling drifting away in the wind. Then let the next one in. Eventually you will find that you are more in tune with yourself, and how you internalize the world. You are healing yourself. Eventually the thoughts will come in and go out faster and faster. You may begin to feel serene and peaceful. You may realize that you want to stay longer each time, and you may begin to go into deeper and deeper states of relaxation and peacefulness.

I remember meditating on a park bench this past summer while the kids were digging in a sandbox. I could smell the summer air, hear insects buzzing…everything felt so intense. I felt warmth on my face-I felt excited and happy, yet peaceful. I did not want to move. I wanted to stay there forever. This was a gift I gave myself, and it was free. I was also a better mom the rest of that day.

By giving yourself these 15 minutes each day, you are teaching yourself that you do matter…because whether you believe it or not, you do. When you begin to forgive yourself, you will begin to forgive those around you. You will stop blaming everyone else for how you are feeling. You will begin to accept that feelings are your way of communicating with yourself, and regulating yourself. You may begin to feel comfortable being alone with just your thoughts…something not many of us can do. Use them to move forward and make changes in your life, and let go of the negativity.

It still might not come easy for you…but don’t give up. You will make progress, and you are worth this time!

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a Dietician. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

New Years Goal #1 Conquering the Handstand

melaughing

Yoga Handstand Series

“And as my mind begins to spread its wings

There’s no stopping curiosity

I want to turn the whole thing upside down

I’ll find the things they say just can’t be found” –Jack Johnson “upside down”

It’s a New Year and I am all about trying new challenges, and pushing my personal boundaries so that I may grow as a person. I wanted to start with an obtainable goal, but something that I would have to work at to achieve.
I have always admired gymnasts. As a child I hoped and dreamed that I would be able to do flips, acrobats, somersaults, handstands, and cartwheels. I would spend hours trying, but to no avail. My sister Laura and I would do what we called “underdog flips” We would run super fast, tuck our heads in, flip and land on our backs. I remember feeling like a rock star when I did an underdog flip. Oh how silly we must have looked.
For Christmas one year I asked for full gymnastic regalia. I wanted a leotard, tights, headband, the works. I thought that by dressing the part I would suddenly be an overnight superstar gymnast. Yeah…no…..

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I never did learn how to do any acrobatics. Eventually I even forgot how to do the underdog flip (although I can still picture it in my mind). I am a runner and I strength train. However, I was never very flexible. I lack the core strength and confidence to even try these maneuvers without the risk of breaking something.

A few weeks back I was enjoying a glass of wine with my neighbor Tracy (who is also an awesome yogini). I admire Tracy. She doesn’t know it, but Tracy has taught me a great deal about life. The past few months we have developed a real friendship, and I feel fortunate to have her in my life. I can just walk over there, open the door and sit down. Tracy gets right up and starts cooking dinner for me…and she is an amazing cook. My kids call her “chef Tracy” No matter what I cook them, chef Tracy makes it better. She is way less structured and rigid than I am. I feel relaxed being around her. So here we are sipping some wine and chatting…and I mention to Tracy that I would love to learn how to do a handstand. Well Tracy gets me right up and within a few minutes she has me doing an assisted wall handstand. I was literally upside down.

Being upside down really changes your perceptions on life. It sort of “re-sets your mode” so to speak. Tracy told me it would…and strangely it did! I felt the blood rush to my head and I felt alive. I felt strong. I crashed to the floor shortly after, but I was filled with excitement-almost as if I were looking at life through a new set of eyes.

I recently celebrated a birthday, and Tracy surprised me and signed me up for a “Climb Higher Series, Mastering the Handstand” at a local yoga studio. I would get to learn the skills needed to do a real handstand!

My dear friend Melanie is an amazing photographer. Her studio is called Out of Eden Images. She is getting into fitness photography, as her new endeavor. I am lucky to have her photographing my progress during the handstand series! I will write about my progress each week, and the lessons I have learned along the way. My hope is that by week 4 I will be doing an unassisted handstand! Maybe…either way, I will learn a lot.

“It is not about mastering the handstand. It is about the journey to get there.”-Justin Wolfer (our yoga instructor) Taking any steps toward a new goal is scary-whatever that goal may be. I’m sure I will feel uncomfortable and awkward. Leaving what feels comfortable is hard. It’s scary, it may hurt-a lot…but sometimes it needs to be done. You cannot grow and change if you are stagnant.

Day 1: I fell…many times. But I was able to laugh at myself and get back up again. Justin explained that we would go through a series of poses to help build strength, stamina, and confidence while being in a new position. It takes a certain amount of self-awareness to essentially use your hands as feet…(and not worry about falling and breaking something).

At first I was frustrated because when I crashed I sounded as loud as a pile of books landing on the floor.

melaughing

I gave the people around me a few good chuckles. Justin reminded us to have fun and smile! He wasn’t one of those strict yoga teachers where you get the look of death if you start cracking up. I appreciated that. He also reminded us to be soft on our feet. I need to practice being softer on my feet. At certain points I became frustrated because people around me seemed to just “get it.” I quickly learned that I had to completely block out those around me and turn my focus inward. When I did this, I started to make progress in my own way. This is true in life! We tend to compare…we focus on those around us. Just by turning your focus inward, you will begin to understand yourself more. When you understand yourself, you can understand those around you. You stop blaming. You grow as a person.  I was able to do an assisted wall handstand, and the instructor was able to let go for a brief moment before I crashed to the floor. Overall, the first class was a success for me. I learned some lessons, I feel stronger. Most importantly I had some good laughs. I’m ready for the next step!

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