Rest: A Four Letter Word

For some of us, rest is the hardest workout of all.

We don’t want to stop. Put our feet up? Are you nuts? There’s so much to do, so much to accomplish, so much to be, that we just keep charging hard all the time . . . right up to the point that we hit the wall and explode.

Sound familiar?

The CrossFit universe is packed with “Type-A” personalities; for folks like us, nothing is ever hard enough, fast enough, strong enough. We like intensity, crave it, inject it like a drug into our veins. We’re adrenaline junkies, but with nice muscles and good teeth.

So when someone tells us to rest, or relax, or recover, we quite simply don’t know WTF to do.

Why shouldn’t we WOD 10 days in a row? Why shouldn’t we go 100% in every workout all the time? Why can’t we test 1RM every week in our favorite lifts? What do you mean “3 days on, 1 off?” Isn’t that for sissies?

Yet, somewhere in our racing brains, we know that rest is critical to our improvement; that we grow during recovery, not during the actual test of our strength. And we know that we should take that rest day, get those extra hours of sleep, relax a bit more. “Sleep is the best supplement.” (So sayeth Jeremy Mullins.)

I’m going on a cruise next week; it’s a “workation” but it’s forced downtime too. First event like this I’ve had in years and years. And the thought of it terrifies me more than handstands on parallettes.

But if I can do this, so can you. What are you going to do to relax and recover this week or next? How about the one after? And can you make it part of your regular routine? “Rest” as the WOD; it’s got four letters but it’s not a dirty word. Put your feet up now and then. It’s actually going to help make you stronger.

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8 comments
cindy henson
cindy henson

Enjoy your cruise!!!! We were disapointed when we realized cruise ships were not designed for crossfitters, and told them so. But there are lots of dumbells and machines, especially treadmills and elypticals. So maybe it will force you to rest. Eat lots, you paid for it!!!!

Michael17
Michael17

My four letter word? Pull. As in groin pull. Two weeks ago I pulled a muscle in my groin on my right side doing heavy snatch-grip platform deadlifts, because I kept going despite my body's clear signals that it was tired and I needed to stop. The story doesn't end there though. I was feeling better 5 days after that so I tried for my 5RM in the overhead squat before my box's workout. I got 3 really deep reps into a heavy set, but my fourth rep in, I re-injured myself in that same muscle, even worse than before. Now I've been away from squats and deadlifts for over a week, and I will need more time before I can get back to them again. There is a moral to this story I know. Anyway, I've been reading your daily insights for a few months. I love your blog! --Mike

Heather
Heather

I did my 6th day in a row last night, I knew better than that, but I just had to push myself even harder. My Wod was so slow and the light weight felt heavy. I wont do that again, when my body says rest I will rest!

Medoragirl
Medoragirl

We go round-n-round at our box about the importance of rest days. Well said!

Ckatech
Ckatech

Karen was slated for today, last night I said I was going to go in on my fourth day in a row, but this morning I had to take a step back and say "my body screams rest today," so as much as I like to do Karen (I love that girl) I couldn't because the body said NO.

Rockstar
Rockstar

Your rest days are my work week....hummmm

Lisbeth
Lisbeth

Thanks, Michael! Now, be strong in recovery and heal up! You'll be back, better than ever. Good luck!

Lisbeth
Lisbeth

Only you, RS, only you.

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