Is it that feeling of accomplishment after pushing through a tough workout? Maybe it’s looking in the mirror and seeing the results that you’ve been hoping for. Or it might be that guilty feeling that’s lingering in the back of your mind, telling you that if you take a rest day you may miss out on something.
It could just simply be that you enjoy your daily workout and feel incomplete without it. Whatever the reason may be, CrossFit (or any fitness regimen for that matter) can become pretty addicting and you can lose sight of how important it is to incorporate a rest day into your routine.
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
When I first started CrossFit, I quickly fell into the mindset that I could push through the soreness and workout every day.
I was having a blast with all of the new movements that I was being taught and wanted to master them all! A rest day wasn’t important, and all I cared about was getting faster and stronger.
I found myself questioning how I could ever accomplish my goals if I didn’t put in the time and work. Plus, gaining a bunch of strength and muscle felt great.
I was able to maintain this for a little bit, but quickly learned it was not something that I could sustain long term.
Too Much Too Fast
I found myself constantly tired and riddled with muscle tweaks that wouldn’t go away. My workout times were slowing down and the weights felt heavier than normal. I couldn’t understand how I was consistently working so hard but not improving.
This is when I started to realize just how important a rest day truly is.
Take a Breather
As I incorporated rest into my schedule, I noticed not only did I feel better, but I was also moving much better. I didn’t feel as tired and workouts were much more fun again.
I still felt a lingering guilt about skipping out on the gym though. It took some time and deep thought to realize that the reason I work so hard IN the gym is so I can enjoy my time OUTSIDE the gym.
What’s Your Why?
Everybody has different reasons, but essentially the hard work that we put in at the gym is so we can enjoy our time and maintain an active day to day lifestyle outside of it.
Some people work hard so they can play with their children, while others work hard to maintain their independence as age takes its toll.
Whatever your reason is, continue to put in that work – but don’t lose sight of why you do it, or who you do it for.
How often should you rest?
The ideal workout to rest ratio is 3:1. This means three days of working out and then one rest day. While this may not work for everybody, it gives you a good idea of how to incorporate rest days into your workout schedule.
Rest is a chance to recharge your batteries and gain fuel for the next day. Think about how a machine needs rest after being run for a while, or a phone needs to recharge after being used all day.
Your body is a machine and must recharge the same way. You need time to mentally and physically refuel before you continue to work.
What happens during rest
When we take a break from our exercise, our body rebuilds itself. When we are working out, we are actually tearing the tiny little muscle fibers apart and breaking them down. During sleep and rest periods, our bodies repair those tiny tears to make the muscles bigger and stronger.
Every person is different and recovers in different ways. Stay consistent, find what works for you, and stick to it. The whole point of us fighting through these rigorous workouts is to enjoy our life outside of the gym.
A rest day doesn’t have to mean sitting on the couch all day – active recovery is a term used to describe finding some sort of movement on your day out of the gym. You can also do something as simple as this 20 Minute Rest Day Stretch routine.