Recovery Series – Part 1, By: Coach Rachel

Recovery Series – Part 1

Go to SLEEP!

Sometimes easier said than done…

Perhaps you are one of the lucky few who don’t put much thought into it. You sleep well most of the time, you feel rested on waking, you are not building an ever-widening gap of sleep deprivation. Good for you, you can stop reading now. Really, it’s a waste of your time from here on out.

Then again, you might be a member of “Team Delusion”… maybe you better keep reading just in case.

I’ve seen the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE… Seriously, and any of my fire service brothers and sisters who endure sustained service on a busy ambulance have seen it too. (Whether or not they are willing to admit yet to the trade-off of health for a paycheck -and all the likely reasons for denial, noble as they are -we will leave for another story). I spent the past 13 years working shift work. I assure you I know sleep deprivation. I was a trained and highly functional zombie. I hope none of you ever experience prolonged zombie existence, but the odds are pretty good that many of you are, even if you don’t believe it yet.

The CDC recently reported:

“Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health Epidemic.”

Hypertension – diabetes – depression – obesity – cancer – heart disease – stroke – high cholesterol

All leading to increased mortality and reduced quality of life.

Don’t miss Dr. Kirk Parsley’s awesome Tedx Talk on sleep here:

So hey, it turns out that a lot of us have sleep difficulties. The relationship between poor sleep and poor health is simply not up for debate. Studies consistently support it. Period. For some, poor health and associated medications drive poor sleep. For others, lifestyle choices and behaviors are contributing to a vicious cycle. In this merry-go-round, sometimes it is the chicken and sometimes it is the egg, but either way it’s a ride you best avoid getting on altogether.

If there are choices involved, than we have the power to change those choices. So just what kind of “choices” are we referring to? Here is the short list:

Obvious (Fixes in RED)

Shift Work: Get a different job – seriously

I Love to Party! Knock it off

New Parent (aww): It will get better

Drinking caffeine too late: Knock it off

But did you know these are just as bad?

Alcohol consumption: Knock it off

Blue Light (TV/Devices): Talk to your family

Eating too late: Stop it

Sugar Consumption: Do a detox program or challenge

Widely varying bedtimes: Set up a schedule and stick to it

Not Exercising: Make yourself a priority

Now let me bring this back to the gym and your training.

CrossFit and Sleep

Presumably you came to CrossFit Lakewood in pursuit of health. You give your effort in workouts, you tear your body down (that is physiologically what we are doing), in order to build it stronger, right?

Then you go home, turn on your computer and watch every Season 2 episode of House of Cards while drinking your wine and staying up too damn late?? And some of you do this IN YOUR BED?!   Hmmm.. I wonder why progress seems to come so slowly sometimes? If you are training seriously, it is time to start sleeping seriously people!

Here is some good news though. A study by The National Sleep Foundation found that “vigorous exercisers” report the best sleep. I see you all workout, you are definitely vigorous exercisers!!

Here for full study.

Whatever metric of improvement or performance you chase, proper rest will get you there. Proper rest starts with sleep. Athletic performance – particularly your best – requires impeccable rest and recovery efforts. Sleep is the foundation.

I wish I knew how to draw something pretty for you, but here is how I see it





If you don’t sleep well, your brain will sabotage everything that depends on it. Attitude problems show up in personal relationships, and in the box when you glare at your coach (yes, I see you). Nutrition falls apart when your brain decides it WILL get the energy it needs come hell or cookie binge. Ahh your brain, central control, do not doubt for a second that it has the power to outwit even the best-laid plans to avoid sugar and refined foods. Last but not least, your workouts suffer.

Develop good habits now. Take an honest look at your sleeping rituals and lifestyle choices and make the changes that set you up for success.

Sweet Dreams / Coach Rachel

Part 2 will reveal a peak into the bedrooms of coaches ~ No we are not installing cameras, but we will reveal the lengths we go to in order to create the perfect resting environment.


Photo Credit: photo credit: <a href=””>Jayel Aheram</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

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