CrossFit training is addictive! Just like any form of exercise where you can feel its benefits coarsing through your system, once you start seeing results you just want to keep going. Every day. Towards a stronger, fitter and healthier version of you. But training intensely every day is not ideal. Even if you’re a Games athlete. Someone who has their training outlined for them. Nutrition planned. Supplements supplied. Physio and massage appointments mapped out. You get the point. Even these athletes need rest and recover to maximise the full benefits of their training. Same, same with us average CrossFit athletes..but perhaps even more so. Yes, it’s fantastic that you see results with your training – and we want it to remain that way. Here at CrossFit 4504 we don’t want our athletes to fatigue to the point where they can’t maintain technique. Where their core becomes unstable. Where the potential for muscle overuse and therefore, injury, increases. If all your body gets is intensity after intensity without rest it will become stressed. Pretty soon you won’t see progress. Your body will be too stressed to care.
We want our members to train at least 3-5 times every week. And so we program accordingly. Our classes are almost always deliberately lighter in terms of volume of work. We generally program to focus instead on intensity, strength and technique in one daily WOD. This allows our athletes to focus purely on the WOD programmed and perform to the best of their ability while still receiving the full benefits of what has been programmed. While members are encouraged to attend at least 3 classes a week, they are also asked to rest after 6 days in a row. Why?
Because resting is just as important as working out.
CrossFit training involves a lot of resistance work. In order to build strength, we first have to break down muscle tissues. This literally causes microscopic tears in our muscles so that they can expand and become…well…stronger!
Rest and recovery are vital components in building strength, endurance and muscle. Rest allows your muscles, your nerves, your bones and all their connective tissue the time to rebuild.
How much rest or recovery?
Well that depends on a few things. The intensity of your workouts, for one. Also, factors like your age, current level of fitness and training experience. Ideally, you want to allow time to recover well but not lose any gains that you have made. Talk with your coach about any soreness or health concerns and they can help you decide on the best training routine for you. The CrossFit Prescription as outlined by Coach Glassman is 3 days on 1 off 2 day on 1 off. Again athletes are encouraged to make this work with their schedules.
While 1 day of total rest per week is recommended to all of our CrossFit 4504 athletes, we are also huge advocates of active recovery.
What’s the difference between rest and recovery?
Rest (or passive recovery) would basically consist of something like Netflix and chill (very important), whilst active recovery consists of low to moderate levels of exercise.
When we explain active recovery to our crew, we mention things like –
YOGA – great for flexibility and breathing technique
LIGHT RESISTANCE TRAINING – emphasis on LIGHT! As in 30% of your 1RM
ROMWOD – if only to listen to the soothing sounds of Daniel Head!
FOAM ROLLING/LACROSSE BALL/BARBELL RELEASE – basically any method of releasing the tension from your muscles. Warning…this will hurt!
LIGHT, STEADY JOGGING/RIDING – one pace, for around 30 minutes
MASSAGE – get someone else to inflict the pain, helping to relax those aching muscles
BUSHWALKING – become one with nature! Good for your mind, body and soul
SWIMMING – with no joint impact at all, this is a fantastic active recovery exercise.
So why active recovery though? Why not make rest days just total rest all the time?
Active recovery will stimulate blood flow to your muscles and all those connective tissues that have been broken down. This will increase your recovery by circulating nutrients to help muscles repair themselves. Active recovery will also flush out lactic acid and other waste products which build up during high intensity training.
Incorporating active recovery, complete rest and adequate sleep into your training routine will enable your body to receive the full benefits of CrossFit. Flushing out your system with good old H²O and maintaining healthy nutrition will also assist your recovery. Most importantly, listen to your body. For whatever reason, there will be times when you require more rest and recovery than usual. You can still attend training – but lighten your load. Talk to your coach and drop down in weight, lower the rep scheme or the level of skill. Just for a few days, or a week. Your body will benefit. Both from the active recovery and the continuation of your training.
We are committed to looking after the CrossFit 4504 members. Which is why – even though we love their faces – we will quite happily tell them to Bugger Off!! Depending on each athlete and the intensity of each week, if they are noticeably struggling or have trained 6 days straight, they will be encouraged to rest. We want our athletes to continue to enjoy their training and firmly believe that rest days and active recovery will ensure they do so.
So, reap the rewards of the high intensity training methodology of CrossFit. But think about options for active recovery. It will help you recover and reset, ready for another week working towards a fitter, stronger and healthier you.