Mission Accomplished: The Benefits of a Proper Cool Down after a Hard Workout

In the world of military and functional fitness, where physical readiness is paramount, every workout is a strategic mission to enhance strength, endurance, and overall performance.

However, the intensity of these training sessions can take a toll on the body, making a proper cool down an essential component for achieving long-term success. Let’s explore the benefits of a proper cool down after a hard workout and making it part of your training regimen.

Enhances Recovery:

After pushing the limits in in a functional fitness style workout, the body needs time to transition from intense activity to a state of rest. A well-structured cool down facilitates this transition by gradually lowering the heart rate and promoting efficient blood circulation. This helps in removing metabolic waste products, such as lactic acid, from the muscles, reducing muscle soreness, and expediting the recovery process.

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Improves Flexibility and Range of Motion:

Functional fitness and tactical athletes often engage in dynamic and explosive movements that can tighten muscles and lead to reduced flexibility. Incorporating static stretches during the cool down phase helps improve flexibility and maintain a healthy range of motion. This is crucial for preventing injuries, enhancing overall agility, and ensuring optimal performance in physically demanding situations.

Mental Recovery:

The demands of military service and the high-intensity nature of CrossFit style workouts can take a toll not only on the body but also on the mind. A proper cool down provides a valuable opportunity for mental relaxation and reflection. Incorporating mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or stretching with focused attention, can help reduce stress, improve mental clarity, and enhance overall psychological well-being.

Promotes Longevity and Consistency:
In military operations and CrossFit training, consistency is key to success. Neglecting a cool down routine may lead to accumulated fatigue, increased risk of injuries, and burnout over time. Prioritizing post-workout recovery through a structured cool down contributes to the longevity of an athlete’s career, ensuring they stay mission-ready and achieve sustained success in their fitness endeavors.

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Foam roll as needed

Foam rolling, a crucial practice for functional fitness athletes, serves as a self-myofascial release technique to alleviate muscle tightness and enhance flexibility. To foam roll effectively, target specific muscle groups by applying sustained pressure on the roller. Begin with slower rolls, allowing the foam roller to pinpoint knots or trigger points.

Once identified, focus on those areas, maintaining pressure until you feel the tension release. Pay attention to major muscle groups like the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and back. Roll each area for 1-2 minutes, adjusting the pressure based on your comfort level. Incorporating foam rolling into your routine aids in preventing injuries, improving range of motion, and expediting muscle recovery, ensuring you stay primed for the demanding physical challenges of military training.

Box breathing 5×5

Box breathing, a valuable technique for military personnel including US Navy SEALS. It involves a simple yet effective pattern: Inhale for a count of 5, hold for 5, exhale for 5, and pause for 5. This controlled breathing method aids in optimizing performance under stress, promoting mental clarity, and enhancing overall well-being.

Whether tackling intense CrossFit workouts or navigating high-pressure military situations, Box Breathing 5×5 provides a structured approach to regulate the nervous system. By incorporating this technique into training routines, athletes and military personnel can foster a sense of composure, reduce stress levels, and improve focus, contributing to better physical and mental resilience in the face of challenging circumstances.

Yoga warrior position

The Warrior position in yoga offers numerous benefits for CrossFit and military athletes, promoting both physical strength and mental focus. This pose, with its deep lunges and grounded stance, enhances lower body flexibility, hip mobility, and stability. It engages major muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip flexors, aiding in injury prevention and improving overall athletic performance.

The Warrior position also cultivates mental resilience, requiring practitioners to maintain focus and balance amid physical exertion. Incorporating this yoga pose into a training routine helps build the strength and mindfulness necessary for the diverse challenges faced by CrossFit enthusiasts and military athletes.

Cold shower

Taking a cold shower after an intense CrossFit session or military workout can be a game-changer for recovery and overall performance. The cold water helps reduce inflammation and muscle soreness by constricting blood vessels, which can alleviate the discomfort associated with intense physical activity.

Cold showers enhance circulation, promoting efficient nutrient delivery to fatigued muscles. The shock of cold water can also stimulate the nervous system, increasing alertness and mental focus—crucial for military personnel and CrossFit enthusiasts alike. Incorporating cold showers into your post-workout routine can contribute to quicker recovery times, improved endurance, and heightened mental acuity for the next challenging training session.

Write in your training journal

Maintaining a training journal is a powerful tool for athletes seeking to optimize their performance and progress. The act of writing down workouts, goals, and reflections creates a tangible record of your fitness journey. This practice allows athletes to track their achievements, identify patterns, and pinpoint areas for improvement.

The journal becomes a roadmap, helping athletes set realistic goals and stay motivated by celebrating their successes, no matter how small. Moreover, it serves as a valuable reference for tweaking training plans, adjusting intensities, and assessing recovery strategies. By documenting both physical and mental aspects of training, athletes can gain deeper insights into their overall well-being and make informed decisions to continuously evolve and excel in their athletic pursuits.


In the challenging realms of military service and CrossFit style workouts, a proper cool down is not just a luxury but a strategic necessity. By embracing the benefits of enhanced recovery, improved flexibility, mental resilience, and long-term consistency, military and CrossFit athletes can elevate their performance, conquer their missions, and achieve peak physical readiness. Remember, the mission isn’t complete until a thorough cool down seals the success of your workout.

Nate Schrader CrossFit Games Athlete Interview

Brad McLeod went through Navy SEAL training Hell Week twice after training all the wrong ways. A year later he went back and finished the drill.

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