RECOVERY: How to stop wrecking your body

Now. We all know you love working out and it’s that satisfying exhaustion post-workout that keeps you coming back for more.

So you’re back for another workout and you’re motivated to get moving, but you’re also feeling achy, a bit of tension here and a niggle there, blaming all the thrusters or burpees from the previous day. You push through, however, because you’re a CrossFitter and therefore badass.

Now that could be okay. Your body can push you through, mind over matter. You’d still get a good workout in and feel the benefits.


and here’s the important part. That’s only the case if you are giving your body the TIME and the right ENVIRONMENT to RECOVER.

If outside of your training at the gym you are relaxing on a beach, taking long strolls through the countryside, eating a nutrient filled diet and getting 10+ hours sleep a night (4), continue on good friend as you are living the life.

But for most of us this is not the reality, we have jobs, family and many commitments pulling our time in all directions. If you want to maintain and/or improve your health then you need to structure your recovery like you structure and plan your workouts.

Simple things such as not getting enough sleep can radically affect your body’s ability to heal itself and recover (3, 5).



  • Cortisol is a natural hormone found in your body, which makes you alert and is released in response to stressors (physical or emotional).

  • Melatonin is a natural hormone found in your body and it makes you sleepy and promotes recovery along with being a powerful antioxidant.

  • Together they are the main hormones in your body’s sleep - wake cycle (circadian rhythm) (1).

* Also many further roles within the body.



Melatonin Levels at Night

Melatonin levels are highest between 10pm and 6am. This means your body recovers most between these times. e.g. If you regularly get to sleep well past 10pm then you’re seriously cutting into your body’s ability to physically repair, therefore making you feel more achy and tender in gym the following day (4,6).



Take away:

  1. Getting enough hours of sleep and at the right time frame is vital to allow your body to recover from training, minimize injury and maximally benefit your health and fitness. You can’t cheat your body clock (2).


  1. Listen to your body - not enough sleep, don’t train. Both lack of sleep and intensive training are associated with increased risk of illness and injury (7). Instead, do some mobility, take a walk or do some low level aerobic work to help look after your body.

  2. Sleep health- try and limit blue light exposure (TVs, Phone Screens and Laptops) in the hour before sleep.

  3. Try a Sleep Cycle alarm, that wakes you in your lightest sleep cycle so you don’t wake with a jolt.


  1. Importance of Recovery. It is equally important as the workout. Why put all that effort in to getting to the gym and powering through that disgusting WOD just to lose all the benefits because you haven’t let you body recovery before the next one!

Trouble sleeping? Feel your body is not recovering from training? Want to feel better, so you can perform better in the gym and in daily life? Osteopathic treatment can help your body to recover more effectively, get better quality sleep and reduce the likelihood of injuries or niggles cutting into your training time.

Coach Meg

Osteopath & Coach


1. Zisapel, N., Tarrasch, R. und Laudon, M. (2005): The relationship between melatonin and cortisol rhythms. Clinical implications for melatonin therapy. Drug Development Research; 65 (3): 119-125.


3. Shona L. Halson (2008) Nutrition, sleep and recovery, European Journal of Sport Science, 8:2, 119-126


4. Dijk, D.-J. et al. (2012): Amplitude Reduction and Phase Shifts of Melatonin, Cortisol and Other Circadian Rhythms after a Gradual Advance of Sleep and Light Exposure in Humans, PLoS ONE 7(2): e30037.

5. Hormones and Sleep Disorders.

6. Teboul, M., et al. (2005): Atypical patterns of circadian clock gene expression in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, J Mol Med (Berl). 2005 Sep;83(9):693-9. Epub 2005 Aug 12.

7. Blumert PA, Crum AJ, Ernsting M, Volek JS, Hollander DB, Haff EE, Haff GG. The acute effects of twenty-four hours of sleep loss on the performance of national-caliber male collegiate weightlifters. J Strength Cond Res. 2007; 21(4):1146-54.