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and on the hundreth day we rest…

I drank the flavor aid and I am hooked.  I have heard numerous times “go home…i don’t want to see you for a couple of days.”  All out of love of course.  But why are rest days so hard to take?!?!  When I went out to do a swimming WOD this past Saturday only to find out the pool was broken I was not happy…but really coming off of tough mudder and being sick…maybe someone was looking out for me cause clearly I cannot make informed decisions lol.

Crossfit Roots did some amazing articles on Rest Days.  Below is some of my most favorite key points.

Why We Overtrain

1. The “cool-looking” Workout/I don’t want to miss out
This scenario is fairly CrossFit-specific.  Athlete needs rest day – peaks at day’s post – sees cool attractive workout – goes online to see if there’s space (there is!) – reserves spot and bam, the product is 5-6 days in a row.

The temptation of the “cool-looking” workout is great, we know.  Thoughts such as, “that might not come up for a long time so I want to make sure I do it”, “I missed this last time so I HAVE to get it in this time”, or “everything has rep loads over 100 so it must be awe-some” flash through our head.

We know CrossFit is fun, addictive, and well, really fun.  It’s hard to choose NOT to come to the shop, hangout with your workout buddies, and sweat through a grindfest.  We get it, but remember that too many dives into the “cool-looking” workout trap will leave you overtrained and slogging through sub-optimal workout after sub-optimal workout.

In our box we don’t get to see the workout before we get into the gym…sometimes facebook hooks us up ;).  So really its more about “I am so going to miss out on an awesomely cool workout tonight I can just feel it.”

2. Getting Ahead or More is Better Syndrome
I must get stronger.   Oh wait, and better and gymnastics too.  And wait, my Oly needs some work.

CrossFit provides us with this wonderful array of exercises and movements to learn and perfect but it can also lead to a schizophrenic phase where an athlete tries to do everything all the time. Pick your battles and make them small, challenging, yet attainable, and then move one.  Don’t try to conquer the world on four different continents.   You know more isn’t better, that’s what CrossFit has taught you.

3. Burning Calories
If I don’t workout then I won’t have burned any calories today and if I don’t do that then I’ll surely get fat.  Stop connecting diet and exercise!  They are two separate pieces of a healthy profile.  Did you know that people actually GAIN weight when they are overtrained or under-slept?  That’s right.

The Importance of Rest Days

Rest days allow for physiological and psychological benefits that are vital to athletic progress.

Physiologically, rest allows the body to learn from and adapt to the recent physical stress, repair muscles, rebuild, and be stronger and better adapted for the next physical challenge (in our case, a workout).  In CrossFit we believe in relative intensity and work to dial in our athletes’ workouts to an intensity level that hovers in the “hard but doable” realm.  The result is an adaptation that continuously tips the athlete toward stronger, more skilled, faster, you get the point.  But the CRAZY PART is that this adaptation takes place during the rest and recovery phase, not during the workout! Too much intensity or too little recovery blunts the adaptation creating an athlete that is headed toward plateau rather than continuous improvement.

As athletes (and not just CrossFit athletes) we constantly chase performance and for many, appearance too.  We’ll do anything for a better run time, a faster Fran, or a heavier deadlift.  Change my diet?  Sure, tell me what I can and can’t eat.  Buy the right shoes?  Sure, where do I pay?  Take a day off?  NO WAY.

Rest and recovery includes true rest days as well as rest in the form of consistent quality sleep (and that means 7+ hours).  Think you can perform well on 5 hours of sleep a night?  Think again.

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