Article by: Ryne Milner
For many people here at the gym, CrossFit has become more than just a way to stay in shape and lose some weight. To some CrossFit has become a hobby or a lifestyle. I have had countless members tell me that the hour they spend in class is the best part of their day. You start to make friends and look forward to hanging out and having fun with them in class. This is what makes CrossFit great and it makes our day as a coach when we see someone who thoroughly enjoys the time they spend at the gym. But is there such a thing as to much CrossFit? While I would love to tell you that the answer is no, the truth is that there are major benefits in taking a day or two off from the gym during the week.
The main ingredient to the success of CrossFit is intensity. We strive to push our bodies to the limit and create responses to our body through high intensity workouts. As I am sure many of you would agree, after a few days of intense workouts our bodies feel run down and beat up. Unless you are Rich Froning or an alien, it is very hard to keep that intensity for more than a few days in a row. When you push beyond what your body can handle we can begin to see our performance drop in a major way. Often times you will drag through the work and just try and survive and get through it. You will not reach the intensity that the workout was intended to draw out in you and therefore will not receive the benefits of that workout. By taking a day to rest and recover you will be able to get back at it the next day and bring back that intensity and get the response that the workout was designed to elicit. I have heard from many people at our gym that they do not want to miss a day because they are excited about their progress and don’t want to slow it down. While we love to hear it, pushing to far will slow your progress and could cause injury. You will get far better results when you take the day to recover and refuel the body. One day of rest and recovery will not cause you to lose any of the hard work you put in that week. On the contrary it will actually help as your body will use that day to restore your muscles and adapt to the work. Listen to your body, it will tell you when it is time to rest! As you gain more experience in the gym you will start to understand when your body needs the day off to rest and recover. When your body begins to drag and you feel tired mentally, it is time to take a day off and charge back up.
What does a rest day look like? There are many different ways that you can spend your rest day. Personally, I like to take a full day off from all activities and shut off the brain and body completely. For others a rest day is a great chance to work out the soreness with some mobility work or some restorative yoga. Some like to get some light movement in whether that means going for a long walk or hike, or some other activity that is light paced and enjoyable. The point is, there is no right answer for how to spend your rest day. Find what works for you!! Experiment with different methods and decide what makes you feel better. A properly used rest day can be the most important day of the week if you use it properly.
So while we love to see everyone’s face at the gym each and every day, it is ok to miss a day to rest and recover your body. Like many things in CrossFit, rest days are something that you can experiment with and figure out what works best for you individually. There is no exact science involved in picking your rest day so play around with it and find what works for you! You can always talk to one of our coaches and ask questions about our experiences because we have all been through it and have found different methods that have worked and not worked for our bodies.