If you’re a CrossFitter or not, you recognize that it works because of the high intensity element. But we’re human and even God needed a rest day. We cannot sustain the level intensity needed to perform at our peak day in and day out, otherwise our body ends up breaking down making us more susceptible to injury and illness. We want to become healthier more fit versions of ourselves, that’s why we do this, right? To keep ourselves in tip top shape we MUST rest. Those dreaded rest days are the days we make our biggest gains. Those days give our bodies a chance to regenerate and build long, lean muscles meant for burning fat and lifting heavy stuff.
How often should we rest? CrossFit.com follows 3 days on 1 day off, which means we work for 3 days and rest on the 4th. Most athletes will need that day of rest in order to allow the muscle tissue to regrow and the body to recover from training. That being said, you should always listen to your body. If you’ve been a CrossFitter for any amount of time you know that I’m not talking about being sore, you’re always sore. I’m talking about muscle fatigue. If you’re having trouble holding your arms up long enough to wash your hair it might be a good idea to take an active rest day.
If you’re brand new to CrossFit, 3 days on and 1 day off may be a little much, most people won’t be able to handle that much initially. We suggest ramping up over time, start with Monday, Wednesday and Fridays or Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, at least 3 days a week until your body gets used to the intense workouts. Once you’re feeling good with every other day, then you can ramp up to 2 days on and 1 day off, for example, you would work out Monday and Tuesday, rest on Wednesday, work out Thursday and Friday then spend the weekends getting outside to play and doing something fun with all this new found energy. You’ll start to see that the fitter you become the more active you’ll want to be.
At LandRush we offer programming 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday. We know that not everyone’s schedule is the same and some will come in on certain days, and other won’t. What’s important is that you find a routine that works for you. What really needs to be monitored is how your body is responding to the training. Are you training 6 days in a row and on the 4th and 5th day are you still feeling strong? Are you still able to hit the conditioning portions of the workouts hard and keep the intensity that you need in order to gain results?
Training fatigued will get you one thing and it’s not gains. The problem is, you really start to enjoy coming to the gym, you’re seeing amazing results, making new friends and getting connected to your CrossFit Community and you don’t WANT to take days off. This can lead to some nagging injuries if you’re not listening to your body.
What should you do if you’re taking a rest day? Swim, Go for a run, a hike or a bike ride, explore your city, or take your dog for a walk. You can work on mobility and accessory work or take a restorative yoga class. Or you can take a complete rest day (gasp). Spend an evening at home relaxing. The key here is to balance the yin with the yang. Don’t do something that’s going to be high intensity; rest day needs to be restorative. Get a massage or see someone for some sort of body work, ART, or acupuncture. If you are coming in on a regular basis of 3-4 days a week, it’s a good idea to schedule some sort of restorative body work at least once a month – you are worth it and your body will thank you.
Regardless if you’re a competitive CrossFit athlete, a novice or just someone that wants to be healthy and fit – remember more is not always better, but better IS better. Learn to listen to your body, it’s okay to miss a day in order to keep yourself happy and healthy. You will only become stronger and faster if you allow your muscles a chance to recover.
Find out why we’re different and schedule your “No Sweat” intro today, click here, it’s free.