The Importance of Rest
Most people don’t need to be told to rest. They spend most of their free time sedentary. Most members come into Fit2Live on average 2-4 times per week. They also do not need to be told to rest. But there are some of us (Cough, Cough) that will come in 8 days a week if time permits. It’s not uncommon for some members to workout 7, 8, 9 days in a row. My personal record is 14 straight days. While consistency and dedication are needed to achieve our goals in and outside the gym, going on fitness binges with no rest can negatively impact your health overall. Rest is a vital part of any health and fitness program. Just as important as conditioning, strength training, mobility, and nutrition. Ignoring it will reduce your gains and slow down your progress
Why We Need To Rest
When we workout we are literally tearing ourselves apart. Any strength training involves making micro tears in the muscle fiber. Our body then heals and creates more muscle fibers in order to handle the work it is being forced to do. So in order to build muscle you must first challenge your body and THEN give yourself time to heal. The healing is just as important as the destroying ( It’s just not as fun!). Constant damage without proper rest will just lead to bigger muscle tears, strains, and muscular fatigue. That will result in poor mechanics, which leads to form, which leads to poor performance and inevitably an injury.
Unlike other forms of exercise like running, biking, yoga, and standard bodybuilding, CrossFit requires a lot of thought and attention. Movements like the Olympic Lifts, kipping pull-ups, Heavy Deadlifts, Double Unders, etc are already mentally challenging. Then you add having to remember rep schemes, switching from complex movements to complex movements, all while a coach who is jacked on two pots of coffee is yelling and judging you. It can be very taxing on your nervous system. You need to take a break from that sensory overload. That will help to avoid mental fatigue and workout anxiety. Your brain needs time to rest as will. Having to do too many complicated movements day after day will lead to burn out. Taking a day or two off a week lets your brain reset so that you can be excited about working out. You should approach every workout with excitement to learn and test yourself. If you feel like your just going through the motions it can be a sign that you have reached mental fatigue and need some time to rest.
The most common approach is to have at least two rest days a week. One being more of an Active Recovery and one being a Full rest day. With Active Recovery, you still want to work out but it shouldn’t be as strenuous. It can still get your heart rate up, but you shouldn’t be red lining or gasping to catch your breath. It also shouldn’t be mentally fatiguing as well. Things like running, swimming, yoga, Thursday Wods (For the most part). You want something that just keeps you moving. Something to help flush out all the soreness you have in your body. Mobility work would be ideal on an active recovery day.
- For those who sit for most of the day
- For those who are on their phone for most of the day
- For the runners
On a Full rest day you want to actually rest, no long workouts or strength training. That doesn’t mean sit on the couch ALL day. Go for a walk, play with kids, move around a little. Make sure you eat enough on those rest days. A lot of people think that since they are not burning many calories that day, they should eat less than what they normally would. Your body still needs the calories because it is in the process of building and repairing muscle. Eat the same amount you normally would and fuel yourself to crush it when you come back to the gym.
The Hardest part of fitness for a lot of us. We know that you should be getting 8 hours a night. Most of us can’t get 8 hours of sleep a night no matter what we do. But if you can in any way, try to prioritize getting as much sleep as you can. Your body needs to sleep in order to repair from all the strain we put on it. Sleep is when your body repairs itself. Also a lack of sleep will cause a lack of awareness, motivation and focus. Things you need if you want to lift heavy weight or learn a new skill. Its in that way that a lack of sufficient sleep will not only reduce muscle growth but also lead to poor mental awareness which can cause faults in form and eventually injury.
It’s not an easy task, but nothing worth having comes easy. Everyone has various reasons why they can’t get enough sleep. There are resources available to assist you as an individual to get adequate rest. If you can do it, you will see vast improvements in not only your workouts but every part of your life.
Need help focusing on your sleep and/or recovery habits?
Coach EJ can help with that with her nutrition and accountability program!
Shoot her an email at [email protected] to see how she can help you stay on track with your goals!