On Memorial Day we did a workout called Murph. (1 mile run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 air squats, 1 mile run) Since Murph was on a Monday and not everyone participated, we had regular workouts for the rest of the week including Tuesday.
I was quite sore from Murph so I took Tuesday as an active recovery day, then Wednesday as a rest day. For me, an active recovery day means that I take the intensity out of the workout, I use little weight and I am in the gym to move my body, flush out some toxins and do mobility so that I can recover quicker.
However, I noticed that many people who did Murph on Monday that week were doing the regular workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday without scaling down. At first I thought it was because no one was sore, but after talking with members I soon realized that most people were as sore as I was.
I wondered, why wasn’t anyone taking a rest day?
People enjoy the gym so much, it is part of their routine, they see the results, make friends and are connected to the community. No one wants to miss a day – not even for rest! However, this can lead to that achy knee or nagging shoulder issue. Yep, overuse injuries and over training…
CrossFit.com follows a 3 on 1 off workout format which means every 4th day is a complete rest day to allow muscle tissue to regrow and the body/mind to recover from training. If someone is new to CrossFit they will often workout 3 days a week. Another common workout regimen is 5 days on then 2 off. There are many ways to train, but everyone’s body is different as well as personal demands.
CrossFit Bloomington offers 6 days of training per week and sometimes we have Sunday open gym hours as well. We understand that not everyone has the same schedule so we want to be as accommodating as possible. However, that means that it is important to monitor how members are responding to training. If someone trains 3, 4 or 5 days in a row, are they feeling strong, are they able to hit conditioning portions of the workout hard, are they keeping up intensity in order to gain results or are they excessively sore and tired? Does the warm up feel hard, does the barbell feel extra heavy? (Those are usually signs that someone needs rest.)
If you are a member and you are very sore but want to come in anyway, you should! However, it is important to tell a coach if you need an active recovery day or if you are there to mobilize. We want to know how sore and tired you are, we want to mod the daily workout to an active recovery day when necessary. We encourage people to come in and mobilize, do a light bike or row to help your muscles recover.
Remember, recovery days are much needed to give your body and mind a rest. Depending on age, stress levels, sleep habits, nutrition, workout intensity and our overall ability to recover will dictate how often we need a rest day or an active recovery day.
Overall, listen to your body. Not every week will be the same. Some weeks you may not need to rest as much, your intensity may be high and you are crushing every workout. Other weeks, your body may need more rest, you feel tired, irritable, your not doing as well in your workouts, what you normally consider light weight feels heavy, and you aren’t sleeping as well. If you experience any of those symptoms you may be over training and need to take a day to REST.