As a coach, I get the question all the time, “How do I get stronger?” and “How do I get better at ___ (insert whatever movement here)?” The answer we think might be the most obvious one isn’t necessarily what you need to work on in order to get better at these things. Practice helps to an extent, even mobility a little more than that sometimes. The biggest factor in improving your fitness is actually what you do outside of the gym, predominantly how you are recovering. Are you sleeping 7+ hours/night? How is the sleep you’re getting?
Are you taking time in the evenings to wind down and relax before hopping in the sack, or are you shoving food in your face and watching horror movies in bed?
Poor sleep and recovery habits are one of the biggest detriments to anyone’s progress, especially considering all of the additional stressors in life (work, family, etc).
So, sometimes the answer is not to practice more or work harder. Sometimes the answer is actually to do less and sleep more. Does your body move slower than it used to? Do you feel like you’re stagnant in your strength, or like you’re losing strength or conditioning? These are telltale signs that you are under-recovering.
Under-recovering is so common, especially in the fitness world we live in as CrossFitters, because we are inundated constantly with social media highlight reels of people training at 4am, taking #nodaysoff, or making huge improvements in their fitness with seemingly no effort. Guess what- THIS IS A HIGHLIGHT REEL. You only see through the filter of what your social media icons are putting out there for you to see! You don’t see the 8+ hours of sleep they’re getting, or the bill for their body work (massage, chiropractors, physical therapists, etc), or even what they are doing to relax and unwind every day.
Need some help unwinding? There are a few things you can do to start developing an evening routine to help you prepare for a great night’s sleep:
Use Blue-Light Blocking Glasses- these block out the blue light rays that stimulate your brain to keep working, which allows you to start to relax even as you are looking at your phone, or watching your fave show.
Make sure you’re done with all your nighttime chores at least an hour before bed- this gives you time to wind down and go to bed relaxed rather than getting into bed with an elevated heart rate.
Develop a nighttime routine that helps you unwind- this could be reading a book, journaling, or even stretching before bed. Something to calm your mind.
As always, if you want to know more, shoot us an email at email@example.com ! Nighty Night!