Sunday, May 20, 2012

Rest Day

Some things to consider on the rest day:

I don't work out every day, and I don't think it's wise for you to do so either. We all know our bodies need rest, sleep, and nutrition. It's one thing to know this, but it's another to implement and practice it on a regular basis.

How do we bridge the gap between theory and practice? 

If you believe you should sleep more, why don't you do it? If you know you should eat better and you really would like to, why don't you do it? What is it that gets in the way?
      Some psychologists say that everything we do is based on incentives. Every action, big or small,  is a series of judgements based on possible outcomes, weighed one against the other. This happens without us necessarily realizing it on a conscious level. In other words, if you haven't gone strict paleo diet yet, then you just haven't found a big enough reason to do so. If you haven't stepped up your wod intensity to the next level, then you haven't acquired a strong enough incentive (yet) to do so. If you are not regularly scheduling rest days into your training, then you just haven't been injured yet or noticed a deterioration in your performance.

Notice the use of the word 'yet' in the previous statements. You can change your habits. You have the power to decide that you're ready to move forward and find the next level.

I'm always amazed how so many people do great work IN the gym, put out genuine effort, show up consistently and compete hard, but then as soon as they walk OUT of the gym, all accountability disappears. The diet is off the rails, they stay up way too late, and then are puzzled why progress is slow or minimal. How do you handle these small "critical moments" in your life? Every one of these little decisions add up and affect your health and performance. The difference between the elite and the mediocre is having the strength of character to exercise self control even when no one is looking.

It's time for many of you to GET a big reason. Ask yourself why you CrossFit. What are your long term goals. Is it worth changing your small habits, little by little. You decide. You are poised to go to the next level, but whether you do or not is up to you. Your fate literally hangs in the balance. Your actions will determine the outcome. Don't blame anyone or anything else.

The workouts you see on this blog are not intended to be performed by any one person in their entirety. 

That would be a recipe for overtraining. It is expected that you take days off. It's not ideal to show up Mon-Fri and try to knock out all the workouts, and then take the weekend off. These wods are intended to break you down. Rest days are intended to build you back up. Yes you read that correctly. Hard work breaks you down. It's when you rest and recover that your body rebuilds tissues and systems stronger than they were before. This is called "supercompensation." A google search on this subject will yield plenty of good info.

There are different ways to schedule your rest. More than one way is acceptable depending on the demands of family and schedule. CrossFit mainsite is done on a 3 on, 1 off basis. Other patterns will work well also. It's usually better to get a few days of training in a row to get a good stimulus, then take a day off. If you work out 5 days in a row one week, maybe only do 4 the next and only 3 the week after. Then repeat that cycle. Obviously you do what you have to do in terms of your work schedule. Just be smart and listen to your body. Another training session is not always what your body needs. If you've had a few days in a row of heavy training, another day is just gonna break you down further. Take a day off, and use the concept of active recovery. Get out and move, do a short run, go for a long hike, ride your bicycle, go for a swim, do a yoga class, get a massage, use a foam roller and do some stretching. These activities promote a faster recovery. Please embrace the concept of quality over quantity.

Please don't train if you're injured. 
This really should be obvious but it is anything but. Learn to distinguish between joint pain and muscle soreness or fatigue. Joint pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong. Listen. Pull back and take a moment to figure out what's going on. Don't bull through a workout when you're in pain. Keep in mind that this does NOT refer to the pain of exhaustion from hard work. Learn the difference. It's vital for you to learn how to push yourself through hardship. These workouts can be very challenging. I want you to push through the pain of hard work. I do NOT want you to push the pain of injury. An acute painful sensation in a joint is a sign you should stop. A general feeling of exhaustion is not. Push through it. Your body needs a powerful stimulus to adapt and grow stronger. In CrossFit we constantly walk a fine line, we seek out the "red zone" because that's the "paydirt" where meaningful gains are achieved.

Intensity and duration are inversely proportional. 

If you can do something for an hour, it's impossible to produce as much intensity in that workout as you could in 5, 10, or 15 minutes. Short workouts demand that you bring as much intensity as you possibly can, while maintaining as great a degree of control of your movements as possible. That is the balancing act of CrossFit. There is a tipping point where your form is so atrocious that you need to slow down or reduce the load because you're putting yourself at risk of injury. I'll help you find that line, but you need to pay attention to it and learn to do it on your own as well.

It's quality over quantity, my friends. 

To sum up, get in the gym on a consistent basis, and give the wods everything you've got. Then get out of the gym and rest. Be mindful that what you put in your mouth is either promoting wellness and enhancing performance, or degrading your health, and inhibiting your progress. Get some quality sleep. Turn off the TV and the computer an hour earlier than you normally would. Black out the room and get in bed. Keep it simple, follow these basic ideas on a regular consistent basis and get ready to....

Look, feel, and perform better!

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