9.27.17// Rest Days vs Off Days vs Missed Days
3-3-3-3-3-3 increasing loads, and trying to set a new 3 rep max
I am 33, train regularly, and I'm by no means a top level athlete. By training regularly, I mean 5 or six days a week every week for going on 6 years. Our type of training, as I said in a recent blog post, just naturally causes a lot of stress on our bodies and brains. We believe it's good stress! Your body's hormones respond really well and cause adaptations that result in overall better health. We worry about work capacity and the rest just falls into place nicely. All that being said, as an athlete we need to take care of our bodies in a much different way than the average American or how we used to.
The average sedentary American needs to make time to move or exercise. They need to create some physical stress to increase their health. You guys, athletes, active people, are on the other side of the bell curve. If you're a member at HCF and get in 3-6 days, I'm not at all worried about your activity level. Instead of adding activity, we need to consider how to mitigate the physical stress we experience daily in the gym. You should sleep more and eat more which is obvious. Sounds good too! I love sleeping and of course eating! You're probably not at risk of diabetes or a whole host of other chronic disease you didn't even know you were preventing. Your health risks are a lot different. Your risks to watch out for are burnout, overuse injury, dehydration. Compared to Diabetes, we're doing awesome! Along with eating and sleeping more, which are other blog topics altogether, we should try to listen to our bodies because sometimes our bodies are telling us how or whether we should train on any given day.
Body fatigue/ soreness? This is pretty normal. You hit it pretty hard the day before and you probably just need some water and a good warm up to start feeling normal again. Mentally fatigued? Also nothing to be too worried about. Just ask the 5am crowd! You'll often feel better after a good workout! Body fatigue + mental fatigue is a different beast. You can begin with getting down some good carbs--fruit, potato, whole grains-- and see how you feel. Still not recovering? Then you've gone to the point in your training where your food intake can't keep up with the amount of recovery time you need for whatever reason at that point. Could be poor sleep or stress at work or with your family. If food or rest isn't snapping you out of it, you are at a higher risk of an injury or at least a tweak. I've had two significant injuries since we opened HCF. Both of them came in workouts where I absolutely knew I should't have been working out, but my ego got the best of me. One limited me significantly for a month (knee/calf at the end of the CF Open), and the other for about 2.5 weeks (triple unders/ running). I could have taken both those days off and felt like new the next day. Don't force training if you're too low. Don't train if you haven't taken a day off in 7+ days in a row. Take these rest days as just full rest days. Don't think you have to do anything.
If you've been feeling run-down consistently around Thursday or Friday, I almost guarantee it's your food intake. Two options. A. Pre-Schedule a rest day. B. Eat more. A few of you have now been training here at HCF longer than we had been doing CrossFit before opening the gym. If your afraid of missing important days, know that every day at HCF is important, but our programming is so constantly varied that over the course of just a year, you'll be getting every stimulus you need by going even only 3 days a week. If you feel like a regular rest day could help, check your weekly schedule at the beginning of the week. Choose the day you want to rest first! If you wait until the day of, life is going to happen later in the week, and now you've missed more workouts than you wanted to. Or say you decide to sleep in one day and justify it by saying, "oh I'll just go on Saturday." but then there's no Saturday class, or a meeting comes up and you can't make a later class.
Also if you schedule your rest day in advance, you're less likely to choose a rest day based on the workout, which I don't need to tell you, cherry-picking workouts isn't the best for your fitness. Cherry-picking used to bother me. But now, I just know everyone well enough to know who is coming to which workout. No judgement, I still love you, and I like being pleasantly surprised when you show up to a workout you probably don't like. I would much rather hear, "I needed a rest day." Rather than, "well the workout had x, and I can't really do that."
Missed Day// Scheduling conflict, life happens, slept in on accident, got caught at work. Figure out a way to work out. Go on a run. Split and stack some wood. Breathe hard.
Off Day// Regular non-activity day. "I don't work out on Sunday's" "My rest days are, Saturday and Sunday." on these days, actually rest and live your normal life. Meal Prepping is a great activity for Off Day's, but don't feel like you have to do anything. Active recovery is a sexy concept in fitness and athletics, but there's a lot to be said about doing nothing for recovery.
Rest Day// Extra Day off because of mental+physical fatigue. Seek some concentrated rest and recovery protocol. Massage, Hot-Tub, Yoga, Jogging, Specific mobility work, Extra sleep.
Final Words-- Listen to your body. Don't be addicted to Exercise. You're not going to turn back into the out-of-shape person you once were if you take a day off.