When should you Rest? – Sun 9.18.16
When you go to a CrossFit Level I Trainer Certification, they suggest the ideal work/rest is three days on/one day off. If you notice, the programming on crossfit.com follows this protocol. In perfect world, 3 on/1 off is pretty ideal. The only problem is it isn’t a perfect world. Life isn’t so cooperative. Work, family, friends…..they don’t plan their lives around your CrossFit life.
I’ve been programming CrossFit for 10 years now, both for myself and for group training. When it comes to programming work days and rest days, I’ve tried it all. I tried 3 on/1 off. I tried 3 on/1 off/2 on/1 off. I tried 5 days on, weekend off. I’ve tried to pick one day of the week and make it a rest day. They all work, but the fact of the matter is a CrossFit gym is still a business that revolves around people working out and following a program provided to them by the gym. After years of tinkering with the program, I came to the conclusion that most members of a CrossFit gym do the majority of their working out on Monday through Friday.
At The Compound, we program Monday through Saturday. Is it too much for you? It might be. I’m not going to tell you that it is or it isn’t because each and every single one of you is different. Part of your CrossFit journey is learning about yourself and what you are or are not capable of doing. You may feel better if you train only three or four days a week. Nothing wrong with that. Maybe you can handle all six days a week AND doing more on Sunday. Everyone’s fitness level is different. At 37 years old, I would consider myself a slightly above average CrossFitter. I like to train only five days a week, with two full rest days each week. When are those days? I would like it to be Thursdays and Sundays, but that never seems to work out exactly. You need to find yours. You find it by making trials and errors in both your workouts and your recovery time.
Based on my experience of programming for a gym, this I can tell you about our current program. STRENGTH training is the king. People who get stronger are more successful in their conditioning workouts , and quite frankly, I believe they are more successful in their own over all well-being. Strength is included in almost every session. We keep the conditioning short and intense for a reason. Those short (5-15 minute) workouts are horrible. You go all out and feel wasted afterward. You flop around on the floor and think you never want to do a CrossFit workout ever again. BUT…..the recovery time is quicker. Within a few hours or sooner, you almost always feel like you could go again. By the next day, you may be sore, but you aren’t wrecked. So, when the conditioning workouts are short or have built in rest, GO FOR BROKE!!! It’s the intensity that makes CrossFit work, not 30 minute workouts where you sweat a lot but spend as much time resting as you do working. Get good at being intense, not good at being slow.
Get to know yourself and when and how you need to rest. You can handle 5 days a week? Go for it. Even if some of those days you don’t hit it super hard, it’s okay. On the flip side, if you need to take days off, do it. As the weather changes, so will your ability to make it to the gym at the same times. Figure out what works for you, but don’t let a lack or rest stop you from improving!
See you at the gym.