We know how addicting CrossFit can be. We honestly wish we could do it everyday. You always want to catch up with your friends at the gym and get a good sweat session in.
This might sound like a surprise to some of you BUT when you workout, you are actually getting weaker!
Working out causes microscopic tears in the muscle.
Our body adapts to the amount of stress it’s been put through during a workout and gets stronger by repairing those micro tears and building more muscle. BUT this only happens when we rest and get good, quality sleep.
On top of the muscular effects of training, we are also tax our central nervous system. We need to rest so our hormones can return to normal levels.
What to know something else that’s really cool that happens when we rest?!
All the drills you did today to better your technique on your lifts, gymnastic moves, running, etc…that will turn into “muscle memory”. But our brain only creates that “muscle memory” when we sleep.
If you don’t take adequate rest, you run the risk of over-training as well as increasing your chance of injury. If you want to get fitter, you will take a rest day!
When should you rest?
It all depends on where you are at in your fitness journey. Some individuals do well on 1-day on/1day off, some do 3 days on/1day off, and others do 5/6 days on/1 day off.
The best thing to do is listen to your body. If you are just a little sore and still feel good, come workout. But if you feel completely drained, you shouldn’t be going in to do that workout of the day.
Here are some symptoms that you need a rest day:
- Excessive fatigue
- Pain in joints
- Performance is suffering
- Feeling drained before class even starts.
What should you do on a rest day?
There are two types of rest days, active rest and complete rest. You should have one of each every week.
During active rest, your goal is to get blood flowing to the muscles without overtaxing them. Getting the blood flow going can speed up the recovery process.
Here are some examples of what you can do on active rest days:
- Go for a long walk (active rest doesn’t mean go do a 5K run)
- Go swimming
- Schedule a massage and/or chiropractic sessions (Body work is important especially if you are working out 4-5 times a week) #treatyoself
- Foam roll for an extended period of time
- Yoga (active range of motion movements and stretches)
- Very light rowing and/or biking
(p.s. you can do any of these things after a WOD as well, not just on active rest days)
Complete rest days are just as important, as it lets your body and your mind recover 100%.
Here are some examples of what you can do on complete rest days:
- Sleep (7+ hours)
- Meal prep
- Hang out with family and friends
- Laundry (you know you need to wash those knee sleeves and your favorite workout shirt)
- Did we mention sleep? (can’t stress enough how important sleep is)
So, if you want to continue PRing on your workouts/lifts, go rest!