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Carbs and Crossfit Recovery

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  • Carbs and Crossfit Recovery

    I start CrossFit a couple of weeks ago. I am having a hard time recovering from my workouts. I am not new to working out. I have been lifting on my own for a while, but I've slacked a bit on the cardio stuff. I've been going 5 days a week, alternating strength training and metcon days. I am used to working out in the morning, but my classes are a 7:00pm. I am having a hard time "feeding" my workouts. I don't eat before noon. I can't seem to stomach food much before then. My first meal, typically around 1:00, is usually a 4-egg omelet. I may have something small in the afternoon and a banana before working out. I get home around 8:30 and will typically have a snack - maybe Greek yogurt, a sweet potato, etc.

    I am tired all the time - physically tired. I'm not particularly sore, but feel a bit "beat up." I suspect this is nutrition-related, rather than the workouts themselves. Is adding more carbs the solution? Does that mean keeping the fat a bit lower? Suggestions?

  • #2
    I'm not going to bash Crossfit, but it's pretty intense and you might be creeping into the overtraining arena. You need to build in some rest days and some easier days, particularly if you are lifting heavy. Five days of lifting and MetCons is probably too much, or, at least too much right now. Why not cut down to 4 days/week, try to get more sleep and eat a bit more. I'd add a sweet potato or rice on lifting days, and possibly on metcon days as well. Experiment a bit.

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    • #3
      I'd do 2 strength and 1 metcon day.... rest of the time walk, do yoga, swim, rest, etc.

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      • #4
        I agree with the advice to eat more calories and carbs on workout days, with the carbs mostly after your workouts (the insulin will bring amino acids/glucose back into the muscle cells and aid recovery). Also people report having good success using , BCAA's or whey protein prior to workouts and L-glutamine after workouts. Creatine is another supplement that is documented to increase energy for lifting and to improve recovery. I haven't tried it yet but I plan to give it a go. I also agree with cutting back on the number of workouts per week to 3 or 4 rather than 5. That could prevent psychological as well as physical burn-out.
        I'm a quitter...but I'm back now.

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        • #5
          You seem like you're jumping in. It takes time to build up to a lot of workouts. You could also be training too hard. The elites doing crosssfit will throw in some periodization and will not go 100% all the time, rather it would look like a workout schedule a fighter or athlete would do. They would spend most of the time training, but not 100%, and when in comes the time where they need to peak they will ramp up training in order to hit peak performance. If you train 100% all the time you will burn out. Plus not even the elite crossfitters can train 3 days on 1 day off all the time. You got to listen to your body.

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          • #6
            I've been doing the 5 days because I feel like I need to get my money's worth, but I was worried about overtraining. The coaches don't think that should be a problem the way they schedule the WODs (M/W lifting, T/Th MetCon, F Goat Day - skill work), but I am a bit skeptical. Part of the problem may actually be that I came in fairly strong (strict pull-ups, etc.), and they want me to think about competing. That's not something that I had considered going in, but you never know. I do think I need more calories, but I'm having trouble "scheduling" them. Late, late breakfast doesn't leave a lot of time to get more food in before working out, and I hate to eat a ton before bed.

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            • #7
              You're beating yourself up 5 days a week - and then you suspect that your feeling beaten up may be related to nutrition?

              CrossFit is not healthy IMO. Maybe not if you do it once a week - or twice (one lifting session, one metcon session), but that's not what the CrossFit trainers would recommend, or is it?
              MikeEnRegalia's Blog - Nutrition, Dieting, Exercise and other stuff ;-)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JenCat View Post
                They want me to think about competing. That's not something that I had considered going in, but you never know.
                What do *you* want to achieve? There's no such thing as functional training per se - you can only define functionality with regard to an particular goal or purpose.
                MikeEnRegalia's Blog - Nutrition, Dieting, Exercise and other stuff ;-)

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                • #9
                  From what I understand, the typical schedule would be 3 days on/1 day off. I can't do Saturdays, so that would leave me M/T/W/F. Maybe that really is enough. Or perhaps I really need to scale back on one of those workouts each week; just warm-up, do some stretching, and work on form. Again, I'm not new to working out and used to do 6 days/week of fairly rigorous training. I cut way back in the last few months. I do think that nutrition is a big part of it. Just not getting enough in.

                  My goal is to improve my body composition. I have not lost a single pound in two + years of being primal, which is okay, but I would have liked for my clothes to feel looser. According to the body fat scale at the gym, I'm at 27%. This shocked me. I know they are not accurate, but this seems pretty high. I would like to be stronger, have more energy, and hit 23% on that stupid scale.

                  Just another of many experiments over the course of this primal journey. Trying to figure out how to make it all work!

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                  • #10
                    Get a fitday account and track your cals and c/f/p for a couple of weeks. I think you will be surprised. I am doing that and realise when I was being strict I probably wasn't eating enough. Plus I have been cycling carbs 25g on rest days and 100g on workouts. I do feel better already but it's only early days in this experiment.

                    As for the workouts, you only enjoy then if you are properly fuelled and you can tinker with the days. Nothing is set in stone.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MikeEnRegalia View Post
                      You're beating yourself up 5 days a week - and then you suspect that your feeling beaten up may be related to nutrition?

                      CrossFit is not healthy IMO. Maybe not if you do it once a week - or twice (one lifting session, one metcon session), but that's not what the CrossFit trainers would recommend, or is it?
                      Crossfit does not come with a mandatory attendance schedule - everything turns unhealthy when you do too much of it.
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                      • #12
                        I have been crossfitting for about 3 years now; I love the challenge and competition between other people at my box and then being able to hang out and make some awesome friends with them in the process also I've made extraordinary strength and conditioning gains (we always have a warmup and skills, then strength, then metcon, and then cool-down per class). However this has been spread out over a period of 3 years (I'm in the military so I also came from a pretty decent strength and conditioning back ground). I started with only 2 days of crossfit per week and built up to now 5 days in a row (I also cannot go on the weekends). However that doesn't mean I go all out on everyone of these days. Usually I'll have one or two days of go as hard and heavy as possible and then 2-3 days of medium weight/ intensity and 1 day of really low weight (more focusing on form, etc.).
                        Also when I switched over to eating primal a few weeks ago I really had to scale back the hard days as my body started to adjust. I'd seriously consider cutting back for a bit and allowing your body to adapt if you feel mentally and physically worn out then it's obviously not having the desired effect that you want and is just adding more stress. So either drop 1 or 2 classes per week or really cut back on the intensity and weight especially if you're transitioning to the primal way of eating.
                        I go even when I'm really sore because I find that even if I go and push as hard as my body wants to go for that day, I end up feeling way less sore. In the end though it really comes down to listening to your body and only pushing as hard as it will let you for that day. Sometimes it's important to push beyond that point (the mind is an amazing thing!) but if you feel beat down then scale it back for a while. Good luck!

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                        • #13
                          I'd agree, five days a week is a lot, and if you're feeling this way, cut it back a bit. I think tuning up your eating will probably help too, but it seems like you're pushing too hard right now.
                          “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

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                          • #14
                            I eat very low carb and don't really have any problems with CrossFit because of my diet. But, as others have said, you can have problems if you overdo it.

                            Some weeks, I go 5 days. Some weeks, I go 2 days. When I go more days, I scale the workouts appropriately so I'm not going all out every day. I assume your box lists levels that you can choose from each day. Maybe only do the Rx'd level twice a week (or less) for now, and do lower levels other days.

                            A few weeks ago, I got through the warm-up just fine. I got through the strength work just fine. And then, as we started the MetCon (box jumps, wall balls and burpees - 10 each per round, AMRAP), I realized I was shot. So, I would do the box jumps and the wall balls, and then I just took a short rest instead of doing burpees. I scaled it myself based on what my body was telling me at that point in time. Your body knows how it feels better than the coach does.

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