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CrossFit Ex Animo Coaches Couch | Recovery


Coaches Couch

Coaches couch are the ramblings of the CrossFit Ex Animo coaches. Some of the ramblings are based on regular queries from the box and members and some or just great pieces of information the coaches have picked and and are sharing to add value to your training life at CrossFit Ex Animo.

This article is focused on recovery but if you have an idea for an article or need some advice, share it with us and we will dig up the deets for you.

Recovering is training

Recovering is training

This weeks article is from Coach Andy. Andrew has a wealth of CrossFit experience and has been with the sport since its infancy in South Africa. He has represented CrossFit boxes and regional level and is an accomplished lifter as well, Andrew has also coached junior level national teams in touch rugby.

When Andrew is not in the gym or preparing to become a dad he can be found on the trails of South Africa on his mountain bike.

Its December Soon! Some thoughts on Recovery from Coach Andy 

This article is about recovery methods and options for those of you feeling a bit of fatigue or performance decrease as we near the end of the year. Whilst all of the options below are a guideline to recovery techniques, some thing that should not be missed is the micro recovery sessions that you do post training and pre training every day.

To get some insight on the foundation of stretches you should be doing every day you can always refer to this great reference channel : Mobility WOD

Or you could just ask your coaches. There are some stretches listed on the white board that we recommend you get to know. That should be a staple. 

The foundation to good recovery relies on the following:

  • Good Eating
  • Sleep
  • Hydration
  • Maintenance (Stretching)
  • Consistency

Below are some forms of recovery you can consider:

Cold or Cryotherapy

Cold therapy is a recovery method used nearly every day (in the form of morning and evening cold showers, and many, many cold soaks in the bathtub or pool). The benefits of all these forms of “cold therapy” include enhanced immune system, increased cell longevity, decreased level of inflammatory molecules such interleukin-6 (Amino Acid Cell Repair). 

Some ideas to try are : Keep Chilled

  • Cold Shower Straight after a WOD
  • Ice bath
  • Cryo Chamber

A good method is hot and cold therapy, try 30 seconds in and ice bath and 2 Minutes in the Sauna 2 or three times to help fatigued muscles expand and contract.

(Please note that the above is a guideline and should you have a medical condition you should check with a healthcare practitioner)


A deload week is an easy recovery week, and in the currently catered for in the CrossFit Ex Animo training  programming.

Deload weeks depending on the volume of training and the type of athlete, the age of an individual (the older you are, the more deload weeks your hormones, joints and ligaments might need) and the season training time of year.

Novice athletes can recover in as quickly as 24 hours whilst advanced athletes need very structured deload programming as it can take 4 weeks to properly deload without sacrificing performance.

Typical recovery cycle

Typical recovery cycle

Exercise is just like any injury, wound, illness, or other stressor, and it’s during the recovery period that you grow stronger.  So when used properly, a deload week doesn’t just leave you with the same fitness you had when you left off training, but can actually improve your fitness to levels greater than prior to the deload.


Studies have shown that when you wear compression gear during a hard workout, your performance in subsequent workouts may be better than if you hadn’t worn the compression gear – possibly because the increased blood flow from compression helps to restore muscle glycogen levels and to clear metabolic waste. compression_gear-2When you wear compression, there may also be less muscle damage from tissue “bouncing up and down” while you exercise. If you sleep, rest or travel wearing compression gear, you’ll find that the improved support and blood flow leaves you less stiff and sore.

Foam Roller

Deep-tissue massage and trigger-point therapy are the only true ways to remove knots from your muscles, and having a good foam roller handy keeps you from having to schedule a massage appointment after every workout. If you stretch after a workout, it will only make knots in your muscles tighter (in the same way that if you tie a knot in a rubber band and pull both ends of the rubber band, the knot will only get tighter). So save your stretching for after deep-tissue and mobility work with a foam roller (or lacrosse ball, tennis ball, golf ball, etc.), which will actually encourage release of the muscle knots. This means your ideal workout recovery order should ideally be: foam rolling to exercise, back to foam rolling, and finishing with stretching.

Amino Acids

When used in daily doses (preferably during workouts) of 3-10 grams per hour, Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) such as leucine, isoleucine and valine can significantly enhance performance, improve physiological markers such as red blood cell count, haemoglobin, haematocrit, serum albumin and fasting glucose, and also decrease inflammatory markers such as creatine phosphokinase while enhancing restoration of muscle glycogen.


You’ve probably heard of an Epsom salts bath for decreasing muscle soreness, enhancing relaxation, and displacing many of the calcium ions that can accumulate in muscle tissue during workouts. This is because Epsom salts deliver magnesium sulphate, which is the active compound that actually causes the effects listed above.  However, concentrated magnesium chloride is even more effective than Epsom salts. This mineral is essential for more than 300 reactions in your body, including nervemagnesium and cardiac function, muscle contraction and relaxation, protein formation, and perhaps most importantly for the exercising individual, synthesis of ATP-based energy. A magnesium deficiency can result in muscle cramping, excessive soreness, inadequate force production, disrupted recovery and sleep, immune system depression, and even potentially fatal heart arrhythmias during intense exercise. In addition, supplementation with magnesium can elevate testosterone levels and muscle strength up to 30 percent.
If you use sports massage therapy, you can give magnesium chloride spray or oil to your massage therapist for use during your session. A magnesium sports massage can assist with the body’s natural recovery process and speed up healing from a workout or injury, as well as help prevent future injuries from sore and stiff muscles. Finally, if you have a strain or sprain, topical magnesium can be used to improve circulation or decrease pain – simply spray the magnesium on a sore area and rub it in. It’s important to keep track of exactly how much magnesium you’re taking in via a combination of oral and topical use, since anything above 500-1000mg can cause loose stool or gastrointestinal discomfort. So if you’re using oral magnesium, make sure you’re keeping track of total magnesium “exposure”, unless you want a lot of toilet time.

Get more sleep

While the exact relationship between sleep and exercise is still unclear, multiple studies suggest sleep deprivation and disorders can have a significant negative effect on performance and recovery  . Sleep is also prime time for the body to undergo protein synthesis, so make sure to get in those naps, for stronger muscles and better endurance.


Eat protein in the morning. After a hard night of sleeping (the highlight of many Greatest’ days), the body could use some nutrients to recharge. Breakfasts high in protein can give our muscles the necessary ingredients to start rebuilding and may reduce food cravings later on in the day .

Cut back on the booze

Those of us who enjoy a few post workout Brewskies, might want to be careful of too much of a good thing. Research suggests more than two drinks after working could reduce the body’s ability to recover.

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