Often tempted to schedule a workout every day, CrossFitters are known to be a fierce breed which is not afraid to grind. Although we are warned from the beginning that we should rest at least 2 days per week or follow the pattern 3 days on 1 day off; we get caught up in the excitement of the class, our PR’s, or our motivation to improve our movements.
The focus on recovery in CrossFit is usually non-existent. We would rather research on how to improve our Fran time or our snatch rather than looking for ways to recover better and more quickly. One of the differences between two athletes of the same level in competition? Their mental strength and their ability to recover faster.
Having that in mind, we should start to understand that there is no secret schedule, not one formula that works. It all depends on our bodies and our schedule outside the gym. It’s an ongoing process, which we can be modified each week.
As we get used to the intensity of the workouts, it’s time to consider the way we train weekly, as we shouldn’t wait for our bodies to break. In other words, instead of applying rules and following what we hear here and there about recovery, we should be able to assess ourselves when is a good time to privilege a day off rather than a mediocre workout. Smart training starts when we understand the need to listen to our bodies before it crashes down. It involves the principles below.
Preparing the body for the workout
What is recovery apart from sleeping and eating right? It’s simply preparing the body for the next workout. That is why it is not recommended to schedule a workout at night and another one early on the next morning. Even with a good night sleep, the body doesn’t have time to recuperate for the next training. It’s also making sure the muscles are stretched, because doing a workout with tight muscles can lead to injuries or niggles that will get in the way of a good workout. Romwod makes simple and effective mobility and stretching classes, and has the option to target a particular stiff area.
Rest days and recovery days
Rest days are essential and should not be replaced by active recovery days. They consist of doing nothing except of eating, hydrating, and sleeping right. The body will thank us for it!
Is there a difference between a rest day and a recovery day? Absolutely! A recovery session is comprised of low intensity exercises. The whole point is to increase blood flow and body repair. Let’s be aware though, that it’s wise to establish a programme with a set intensity before coming to open gym. It’s easy to get caught up in the atmosphere, the music and the other athletes working and push our bodies when all we had planned was a nice little recovery session. When should we plan an active recovery day? When we feel DOMS (delayed onset soreness), after a heavy lifting workout, or if we feel general soreness. A run or a swim will also do the job, just as long as we are moving at a moderate pace (60% of max effort) for about 20 to 40 minutes.
Skipping a WOD? Do it!
The same we have learned to implement our schedule with CrossFit workouts, we have to learn how to make time to go out and have fun. It may sound strange but this sport can become pretty addictive and soon enough, missing out on a day of training or taking two rest days in a row will be thought of as unthinkable, even unbearable. Unless we are thinking of competing at regionals, our training schedule should adapt to a decent social life which includes dinner, drinks, and fun.