Rest Days: Part 1

by Arena Ready on October 28th, 2015

A few years ago Coach Sarah wrote a couple of posts on the importance of rest days while training CrossFit.  Here is part 1 of 2 for your Thursday reading pleasure...
Bozie and Rob take their rest days very, VERY seriously
‚Äč3 on/1 off.  2 on/1 off.  Work out every other day.  Active recovery day.  Active rest day.  What?!?

It's pretty easy to figure out what to do on a work out day.  You arrive at the gym, perform the activities listed on the board, finish in a sweaty heap, cool down, then leave and come back the next day.  Not too hard to figure out.  But what about the rest day in between?  How should you spend that off day?

There are many out there who advocate some form of "active" rest on a rest day.  This could be anything from foam rolling and stretching, to jogging an "easy" five miles (seriously?!?)  While we agree that physically it could be a good idea to do some form of mobility every day, we feel even more strongly that it's hard to overstate the importance of true rest both physically and psychologically.

Think of it this way.  You work in the office 5 days per week.  On the weekend you work from home - returning emails, finishing projects, etc.  Then you go back to work for five more days, work from home another weekend, and repeat for months on end.  While you may technically be getting more done in the short term, this lifestyle is generally not sustainable in the long term.  At some point, you'd need a long vacation if you never actually had a day off.

Workouts are no different.  Even if CrossFit is an outlet, something you do for fun or as an element of variance in an otherwise academic/career-oriented life, it still demands a lot physically and psychologically, particularly for those "in training" for something.  Working every day towards a goal is exhausting if you never step away and think about something else.

For me (Sarah), it's really hard for me to take a rest day.  I love the adrenaline, the accomplishment, and I pretty much always want to see how I can do on any given workout.  If I take a day off, not only do I not get to work out that day, I probably also miss the opportunity to do it ever.  I hate that.  So, I have to figure out something else to focus on that day, or wear rain boots to the gym, or sabotage the possibility of working out in some other way, so that I actually do fully rest.  If I don't rest for days on end I get really burned out eventually.

What about mobility?  Sure, do it, but only if it's fun and something you're doing because you enjoy it.  If it takes away from a true mental vacation, save it for a workout day.  What about water?  Yes! Drink water.  Always.  Water drinking doesn't rest.  Ever.  Is it a good idea to cheat on my diet on a rest day?  Maybe.  Depends on whether you're a happy cheater or a guilty cheater.  If you're a happy cheater, what better way to really rest on a rest day?  If you're a guilty cheater, eat clean!  Nothing takes away from the mental recovery of a rest day more than a meal full of gluttony followed by hours and hours of feeling like you should be in the gym to make up for it (bad strategy, by the way - it's pretty much impossible to work out enough to actually compensate for a bad diet).

To be continued tomorrow...

WOD for 10-29-15:

Skill Focus:
Handstand Push-up


4 Rounds for Time:
400m Run
21 AbMat Sit-ups
15 Pull-ups
9 Deficit Handstand Push-ups @ 4/2 in 

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