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Hydration

The importance of hydration for athletic performance has been realized increasingly in the last few years. Lack of proper hydration can decrease the viscosity between layers of skin, fascia, muscles, and ligaments. This reduces mobility and increases inertia when we move.

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Your body gives you a good estimate of your hydration levels through the color of your urine. A clear or very light yellow color indicates that you are well hydrated. But if the color is a darker yellow or orange, you need to drink more fluids.

Another method you can use to determine how much you need to drink is to weigh yourself before and after a workout. The difference will indicate how much water you need to replenish.

To increase hydration, you can add electrolytes to your fluids. A common method is to add a pinch of salt or lemon/lime juice to your water. This is more hydrating than drinking only water by itself.

Additionally, make sure you don’t go into a workout thirsty. Drinking a glass or two of water 30-60 minutes before a workout should ensure you remain hydrated throughout the workout.

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Alcohol

As you already know, alcohol can have a negative effect on athletic performance. This is especially true with an intense fitness program such as CrossFit. Alcohol disrupts your sleep patterns and alters your hormone levels, inhibiting recovery. It also has a dehydrating effect, with the negative consequences already described. Finally, alcohol consists of “empty calories” devoid of micronutrients, so it has a negative effect on your diet. In summary, you should probably skip it completely if you are serious about your training.

However, with the prevalence of alcohol in modern culture, it is possible that you will keep drinking despite these effects. In that case, consider this research. An interesting study tested the effect of different levels of alcohol consumption on athletes.8 It concluded that alcohol consumption of 1 gram per kilogram of body weight had a significant negative effect on muscle recovery and growth. However, 0.5 grams per kg had very little effect.

Let’s put the results of this study in understandable terms. One alcoholic drink, such as a bottle of beer or a glass of wine, contains approximately 14 grams of alcohol. So the lower amount of 0.5 grams per kg corresponds to two drinks for a lightweight female (125 lbs. or 57 kg), or three drinks for a medium-build male (185 lbs. or 84 kg).

This study illustrates how the negative effect of alcohol grows disproportionately as you drink more. If you choose to drink, do your best to stay at or below these amounts to ensure you don’t undo your progress.

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Movement

No matter how active you are in CrossFit, most of your waking hours are spent outside of the box. To illustrate, let’s assume you sleep for 8 hours every night and train for 1.5 hours five times per week. This would mean that training would constitute 7 percent of your waking hours. So, even if you are very active, 93 percent of your time will be spent on other activities.

Increasingly, these other activities have come to mean sitting still in a chair or a couch. A recent study using smartphone data estimates that just 3 percent of our waking hours are spent exercising, while 39 percent is spent on light-intensity activity and the remaining 58 percent is spent sedentary.9 The conclusion is that the average person spends the majority of waking hours sitting still.

Exercise doesn’t undo the negative effects of prolonged sitting. A recent study refers to those who regularly work out but are primarily sedentary as Active Couch Potatoes. It concluded that despite regular exercise, prolonged sitting hours still had a detrimental effect on their metabolism, including higher blood pressure and blood sugar levels.10 So, the harmful effects of sedentary behavior cannot be undone with training.

You can make simple changes to reduce prolonged sitting. For example, try standing at your workstation in the office, walking or biking instead of driving shorter distances, or standing up regularly to stretch or move around when sitting at home. A few simple changes like this can go a long way.

Top Crossfit Workouts Crossfit Upper Body Workout

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