CrossFit Recovery with James Newbury

Article | Josh Scully

My name is James Newbury, CrossFit coach, athlete and gym owner. 

I've been competing in CrossFit for almost 8 years now and have competed at the highest level soon to be 3 years. Recovery is just as important as the physical training itself, in fact, this is actually where the magic happens. 

Let's Talk Sleep

Sleep is the most important part of recovery for any athlete, and any human for that matter! This is where your body undergoes its radical adaptation. While you sleep muscles, nervous system, and much more heal and become stronger than before.

There is a difference between broken sleep and quality sleep. I strongly suggest for serious athletes to invest in a good mattress that aids in finding more restful quality sleep.

Food - The Basics.

We all know nutrition and hydration both play a huge role in recovery. It’s simple: drink quality spring water that hasn't been treated or exposed to pesticides or chlorine. It also pays to add some extra minerals to your water through sea salt or Himalayan salt to increase your daily mineral intake that may be lacking in your day to day diet – this has helped me in the past.

Eat quality food that is unprocessed (grown from the ground) and ideally organic. Preferences on whether to eat meat is entirely up to you. Try to get an array of season fruit and vegetables as this will assist in aiding the gut to do its job properly.

The Fun Stuff.

Here are some things I've added to my recovery protocols over the years and have found them to be very effective in faster recovery:

Floating, otherwise known as sensory deprivation, is when you enter a pod-like bathtub filled with only water and epsom salts, about 400kg worth. The salts make you buoyant and the water is skin temperature. This gives you the sensation of floating in nothingness. Extremely good for magnesium absorption and releasing muscles. I’m personally at around 270-280 floats after 7 years of floating (and 5 of those being a tank owner myself).

GTS (gravity training system) I was given a GTS by SMAI quite some time ago and have found it to be very useful for accessories (NEVER underestimate your accessory pieces). Accessory work is important for complimenting the bilateral and full-body movements that I do in CrossFit. This helps also with traveling and still being able to get your workout done. Consistency is key. The GTS can also help with active recovery or low-intensity training to help get the blood flowing.

Massage is a huge part of my recovery day. I do self-massage every day to aid my recovery in between seeing my massage therapist. I see him twice per week. One upper body and one lower body session have been what I have found to be the most effective. Loosening off muscles, generating blood flow, working out adhesions in the muscles that cause restriction. Want to feel better? Get a massage. 

I Sauna on a regular basis. Most of the time daily, post workout, dehydrated. This helps with heat shock protein release, increasing blood flow and many more physical effects. It's also relaxing. This gives you a chance to work on your breathing techniques and chill the F out. Remember sauna until you feel a little uncomfortable and no longer - any time after the feeling of being uncomfortable sets in is overkill.

I hope the article leads your to faster more effective recovery.

Go get em!


James Newbury is the 2018 Pacific Regionals CrossFit Champion

Follow James in the CrossFit Games next week.