Rest Day Rant #1

Posted: March 17, 2012 by Admin in Uncategorized

If you trained 4 or more days at CrossFit Infragilis this week, then today should be a day of rest. Unfortunately, like I once did, some of you continue to fall for the trap of overtraining thinking that “more is better.”

Rest and recovery are as vital to your success and results as your workouts and your nutrition. The CrossFit pyramid of training includes Nutrition as the foundation, followed by Metabolic Conditioning, Gymnastics (i.e., body weight control), weightlifting and throwing, and finally sport. I believe that Rest and Recovery should occupy the same foundational placement as Nutrition.

In other words, taking time off from training is important people!

So why do we overtrain? For me it was guilt. As a former heavy man, when I was not working, I believed that meant I was getting worse, i.e., getting fat again. Perhaps working out is a powerful form of stress relief for you, thus making days off a potential emotional nightmare.

No matter the reason, if we truly care about our fitness and getting into the best shape of our lives, we’ve got to take the issue of rest and recovery very seriously.

Rest is not only essential to our bodies, but also to our minds. Taking time away from our training helps us maintain balance in all aspects of our lives, and balance is one ingredient to a happy, joyous life. Rest includes much more than taking a day off; it includes exploring our interests, enjoying the relationships in our lives, and giving ourselves a mental vacation from our very high intensity training program.

So what happens to our bodies when we recover? We start putting on the fat, right? WRONG!

Recovery is when our bodies adapt to the stress of exercise. This adaptation is the true “effect” of our program. Guys, our training introduces injury to our bodies. During our rest days, repairs are made and our bodies, when allowed to rest adequately, rebuild bigger and stronger. Recovery also allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues. Exercise or any other physical work causes changes in the body such as muscle tissue breakdown and the depletion of energy stores (muscle glycogen) as well as fluid loss.

Recovery time allows these stores to be replenished and allows tissue repair to occur. Without sufficient time to repair and replenish, the body will continue to breakdown from intensive exercise. Do you feel a general malaise, staleness, or even depression? If you play sports or engage in some other phsyical activity, are you witnessing decreased  performance? Are you struggling with new and nagging injuries? Have your loved ones told you that you’ve become a pain to be around? And (GASP), have your workout times gotten slower? Have your lifts gotten lighter? These are all symptoms of overtraining.

So this weekend, relax! Have fun! Do something for yourself. Get a massage. Go see a movie. Read a book outside and take a nap. Or how about this: prepare food for next week! But do….not….workout.

Because we will bring the pain Monday. 🙂

  1. Donna says:

    As I have gotten (gasp) older, I find that rest day is really important! If I don’t take them (yes, I take two a week – at least when I’m teaching) I find that even my immune system seems to suffer. It’s all about balance. I have an “all or nothing” type of personality, but hopefully with age also comes wisdom. Hey, even GOD took a break once a week….who am I to argue with God?
    Thanks for the encouraging/correcting/admonishing post!

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