002 || Diaries of a Coach
Ok I don’t know about you but here’s how my “rest” days go, on the reg.
Me: “I’m not going to workout today. I’m pretty sore. I’m going to listen to my body and rest.”
Me (to me): “Maybe just go to the gym, work on mobility.”
Me: “Well that’s a good idea. I’ll do that!”
Me (to me again): “But there are push jerks in the workout, you know you love push jerks.”
Me: “No, I just need to rest.”
Me (an hour later, with ripped hands): “Nailed that workout. ‘PR’ed my butterfly pull ups. Freaking crushed those push jerks.”
Let’s just say I have a really hard time resting. So every so often I have to sit down, with myself, and remind myself why rest is so important.
Did you know that the body can sustain itself longer without food than it can without rest?
Did you know that recovery is the key to making consistent progress?
Did you know that when you’re tired, you don’t operate at full capacity, potentially risking poor form that could lead to injury and low performance that could lead to a drop in overall confidence in work capability?
In an article from the CrossFit Journal, Bill Starr explains, “When an athlete goes through a hard training session, he has, in fact, damaged his body by stressing his muscular, respiratory, circulatory, skeletal and endocrine systems. These systems must have time to be repaired or the body will not respond as it should. That means supplying the various cells with nutrients and, even more importantly, getting enough rest to allow the body to recuperate fully. If that doesn’t happen, the athlete will not be ready for the next workout.”
In fact, the optimal training template designed specifically for CrossFit follows a three days on, one day off pattern, because of the high intensity at the heart of CrossFit’s methodology and the rest needed to recover in order to maintain these high levels of intensity. Scientifically, by the fourth day of training, neuromuscular function and anatomy are affected in such a way that requires a reduction in intensity.
So why do we have such a hard time with rest? My impulse is to blame the culture. I don’t think anyone would argue that we live in a culture that values doing. We are busy people, of our own doing, going from one thing to the next. Getting consistent workouts done make us feel accomplished, and that’s great. But the progress that we miss out on when we refuse to let our bodies rest and recover, that accomplishment, that progress, we sacrifice.
But more than that. When I really dig deep into my battle against rest, I’ve found that there is also a mental and emotional cause for my resistance. Somewhere along the way I’ve associated rest with weakness and worse than that, progress, even maintenance, with constant work. Not only is this an error scientifically, but it fails to cultivate a healthy training mindset spurred on toward consistent progress and gains (which it actually hinders).
So today, I just wanted to tell you that not only is it ok to rest, but that you should rest, regularly and intentionally. (Hey, if you see me, could you tell me too, especially if there’s A LOT of running in the workout?) Find something that you enjoy doing, that allows you to rest both physically and mentally. Maybe it’s getting extra sleep or maybe it’s retreating to your favorite spot and reading a book. Whatever it is, PR your rest day! Deal? And then get back to CFA and say hello to progress!