We as coaches hear it all too often.
"Coach, I don't want to take a rest day!"
"Why not?? You know you need down time"
"Yeah, but I feel like if I don't work out, I am sliding backwards."
"Are you f-ing kidding me??? Have you ever thought of looking at it differently??"
That's a typical conversation. Minus the last part (that might just be me saying that to my athletes, but we all think it) AND here's the best part of all this... we as coaches are PROBABLY worse than YOU as an athlete are at taking rest days!!! YES.. probably WORSE!
So When asked, many people have many different ideas about rest and recovery within the CrossFit world as well as any other fitness world. You see, here, we train for performance, right? And when you train for performance, you have to train in many different conditions, especially those whom are training for the games or any other athletics... you had better be able to hold your own when you are tired.. at least that's the thought process.... AND there are some people out there who believe it's wrong to work out when you're sore... if THAT was the case, I would NEVER work out! there are beliefs in which you should do 3 days on, one day off. there are beliefs in which a 5 on 2 off schedule is ideal...
My statement to you as a potential athlete, new CrossFitter, new fitness enthusiast, new and eager "Games" athlete... is this. I believe that it is NOT a lack of rest per se' as much as it is a lack of "recovery" that creates a decline in performance over time. Stay with me on this as we go through this series of posts over the next few days (because there is WAY too much to say in just one little post) I believe that rest is used as a mistaken word in our world albeit important... I think the words active recovery should be added and rest is a secondary... What do I mean by this? Stay tuned...
SO let's take a look at some facts and information-
What are the most important things to consider when we are talking about recovery/Rest? What sets our program apart from most programs is the intensity of the program.. right? Because we measure power output, the more power we output, the higher the intensity. This is well and good, but there are some major players in the rest and recovery game: sleep, diet, stress, time of day, mental state, hydration, hormone balances, medical conditions, age, fitness level... etc. etc.
We are going to pick apart each of these over the course of the next few posts. Why? Not because we want you to get a lot of information, (ok, yeah we do) But we want you to take a step back and figure out what works for you so YOU can get your optimal results. Some of this stuff over the next few posts may become pretty technical. Remember I come from a propeller head background... Yes.. I'm a nerd and I read a ton of stuff to come up with the newest information.
Here's the deal with all of this information. We all want a "correct" answer to what we should do. Why because it's one more thing to worry about in life... right? When it comes to our bodies, the only one who will be able to apply correct information to your body... well .. hopefully is you!! Once someone else is in control of your body, we have bigger issues than whether we are performing well or not.
So I urge you to use the next few posts to take a look at what your patterns and habits are and f they are maximizing your potential, because it is about YOUR potential at each and every step.
First, I want to define rest and recovery. Rest- according to the dictionary: (definitions taken from freedictionary.com)
OK.. so getting a little off topic here.. Sorry there's a lot to discuss! OK.. so let's take a look at what a week of programming here looks like: We program 6 days in a row and never schedule a Sunday Workout! Why do we do that? Well, because it is our belief that if you are coming in to work out, we should provide you with high quality programming to achieve the best results. Does this mean you should train 6 days in a row with optimal power output and maximal force production? Absoutely NOT. What it DOES mean however is that it gives you 6 workouts to choose from and therefore makes the optimal found schedule on CrossFit feasible.
Wait coach, you just said the optimal schedule... well, yes I did, but remember that Optimal is not necessarily optimal for EVERYONE and so this is where things start to get tricky. It's also where you have to become a little bit more flexible. Let's put it this way.. Shit happens in life right? SO guess what, that means that shit happens in our fitness program too. So we have to be prepared for it. What I mean by this is we need to start PLANNING for our recovery and RELAXATION rather than being "Haphazard" about fitting it in. We have to ensure rest days become recovery days OR scheduled relaxation days.
OK, so we are going to pause here for the moment.. and let it sink in that active rest days are really recovery days and that rest days are now a complete fallicy (unless you have something medically wrong with you). I know alot of you out there are going to call bullshit and bring up points that I am sure I have looked at in the past.. That's OK. this is meant to discuss and really is a matter of looking at things differently. I used to believe one way and now believe another. The more time that goes by in which we can test theories the more information we can gather... But don't take my word for it.. start doing some research from other peeps too.