For a long time I did absolutely nothing once I finished my WOD – other than lie there and catch my breath back. No stretching, no foam rolling, literally nothing. And I would pull up crap the next day too, with my body aching and needing the warmup to get me going.
Luckily while browsing the web, I stumbled across a couple articles (will post these soon) which talked about active recovery and getting the waste products out of your system.
For a long time I had believed ice baths or some sort of cold therapy were the gold standard of recovery. These articles made me realise all this was doing was stopping some inflammation and reducing blood flow, while also reducing your body temperature. Perfect if you had an injury and were in a ton of pain or if you were training in extremely hot conditions, not so much if you were looking to recover quicker to train the next day.
What I rediscovered (I use this instead of learnt because it is somewhat obvious) was that for anything to recover (muscles, bones, injuries) you need blood supplying oxygen and nutrients constantly to it. Cold therapy does the exact opposite this and somewhat stalls your progress in recovering.
A better solution?
10 minutes after you work out. No less. Literally just sit on an air dyne or go for a brisk walk for 10 minutes, allow the waste products to be flushed out of your system with fresh blood and oxygen coming in and you will feel the benefits the next day.
The first time I did this was after a huge 3 hour session. I was taxed, cramping and feeling like crap. From the sessions I had done previously I knew I was going to hurt in the morning. To my amazement, this was minimal. The soreness had not come as I had expected and I was able to train just as hard the next day.
All you need is 10-20 minutes.