When Should I Take a Rest Day?
Let’s talk briefly about “Rest Days.” CrossFit suggests rest days be scheduled every 4th day. Three days on, one day off, and repeat. For folks with a little flexibility in their schedule, this is a fantastic option and ensures your body is allowed some relaxation. For those who have a set schedule that binds them to particular days and availability, rest days come when you know you won’t have time to hit the gym. For personalities that prefer predictable structure, rest days can be set; perhaps every Thursday and Sunday you take a day off. Personally, I listen to my body. If I feel great, I’m going to work out. I may go 7 or 8 days straight with 30-45 minutes of intense workouts, or I may workout 3 days on (for 1 – 2 hours of strength and metabolic conditioning training each day), then take a rest day. And if I’m feeling run down or extra sore, I might lay low for that day and call it a “rest day.” Develop a rest strategy that works for you and your fitness goals, and as your athleticism progresses, adjust accordingly. Just be sure you recognize the messages your body sends you to avoid overdoing it, but also don’t overanalyze your soreness into believing you need a rest day just because you enjoy watching TV more than you do burpees. The good thing about constantly varied workouts (which is what CrossFit is all about), is that you can change it up every week, every other week, or every month. The goal is to push yourself to your limits.
How To Spend Rest Days
There is no right way to spend a rest day. If the couch is calling your name, pop in a couple movies, eat a bag of chocolate covered almonds and enjoy being lazy. But to ease your tight muscles and maximize your recovery results, take a lightly active approach. I like to treat my rest days as a form of therapy for any aches, so I try to incorporate stretching or light cardio (active recovery days). And to spice things up, it’s always fun to throw in some adventurous activities like a Ruck/hike, a swim, or maybe just go shoot around in a basketball gym somewhere; Get your heart rate slightly up, work on some mobility, and break a small sweat. Going overboard will do you more harm than good, though. You don’t want your rest days to sabotage your mission for a stronger, faster, fitter you. If you make your body give you everything it’s got in a workout, you need to return the favor and learn to embrace your rest days, regardless of when and how you spend them.