There's a lot that goes into making sure your body gets the most out of an intense work-out and recovery is a HUGE factor in that equation- one that is easily overlooked. Sleep, nutrition, hydration, mobility, etc. factor in to your performance and results. But one thing at a time. Today, let's focus on getting in the habit of taking rest days.
Most people new to CrossFit will find themselves wanting to be at the box as much as possible. We get it: you’ve discovered something new and exciting. Finally, a way to get fit that isn't boring you or frustrating you in two weeks and you’re driven to see improvements and see them quickly. BUT what most people don’t realize is that most physical gains come from rest days. Yes, the 45 thrusters and pull-ups you did when you killed Fran last week left you sore and possibly unable to wash your hair- physical proof that you are making progress; you sure never felt like this at the Globo-gym a few months ago. Yes, the EMOM of back squats breaks down the muscles in your quads and hamstrings and you can barely walk the next day, but this is a good thing ONLY if we allow those muscles appropriate time to rest and regrow. Do not miss the connection of muscle tweaks, strains, pulls and injuries to overuse, which can easily be avoided by getting on a schedule of work and rest days. By doing so you will allow your body the appropriate amount of training and recovery.
A few things to consider-
1.) Have a plan. Come up with a schedule that allows you at least a couple of days of rest for every 7 or 8 days. Example: If you WOD Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, take Thursday off. Go back at it Friday and Saturday, and rest again on Sunday. If you'd rather have your weekends totally free, go all 5 weekdays and rest Saturday and Sunday. Try Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday off, Thursday Friday, Saturday, Sunday off. You will find that by scheduling rest day you are able to push yourself harder on your training days, making those rest days even better!
2.) Some of you have crazy insane schedules (or kids who do) and are lucky to make it in. Understandable, BUT the key word there is schedules. That means you at least have a pretty good idea of what's going on from week to week and should be able to come up with a general plan of when to come in, and which days to hold back. Being busy can have the opposite effecton your training- keep you away because it is just easier. Get yourself on schedule, just like the rest of your crazy life, and stick to it!
3.) Surprise! You can barely walk but it's a work day. Should you come anyway? Probably not. Take an additional rest day if you feel like someone beat you with a baseball bat. You can make up for it by adding in another work day, but TRY to stick to 2 a week. What should you be doing on a rest day? RESTING. Don't try to do perfect your pistols or do a handstand walk down the hallway. Recover, eat healthy food (which you should be doing anyway), get some extra sleep if at all possible, and watch your guilty pleasure reality show while you use your foam roller. You cannot get enough mobilization work in! If you don't have a lacrosse ball or foam roller at home- we have them up front for purchase, and you NEED to have both at home. You should be working out those muscles, even when you don't think you are that tight, every day.
So what have we learned today, class? Training AMAP (come on, you can figure that out) and hoping that going full speed ahead is going to help you reach your full potential...isn't. Find a schedule that works for you, give it all you've got when you step in the box, and give your body the attention it needs to recover on those rest days. THAT is how you will increase your performance and gains.
If you want to work harder, you have to be smarter.
To be continued.