Two days ago, I did a CrossFit Hero Workout called Coe, a seemingly simple CrossFit WOD from looking at it:
Ten rounds of
10 thrusters at 65 lbs for women (95 for men)
10 ring push-ups
I finished in under 20 minutes, which is short for a CrossFit Hero Workout and didn’t think much about it — until the next day when every time I went to lift my arms over my head, it hurt.
That same day, I decided to do Flight Simulator, a Crossfit Notable workout that involves jumping a bazillion double unders. I didn’t think much about this either — until the next day and my right calf was seized up again.
Incredibly, this didn’t bother me. What bothered me was the next day when my shoulders were still sore and my right calf was even worse. It was at this moment I got completely fed up.
I can’t run. I can’t jump. And I can’t do a bazillion reps without thinking about it first. This is what is bothering me. Everything I do from now on has to be strategically planned. God, this sucks.
This week I posted on how frustrated I was with working out and then being too sore or too tired to do anything else. Well, I’ve decided it’s time to pivot my strategy after reading this article.
TAKING REST DAYS IN CROSSFIT
At the beginning of the year, I thought I needed to workout more, to push my body more in order to see the results I want to see. Well, for five months now, it hasn’t been working. I’m stronger mentally (which is important), but it’s not my primary goal.
Hence, I’ve decided to cut my workouts and take more rest days and try that for 5 months and see where that gets me. So I’m quitting HIIT workouts because, although I love them, I’m always physically exhausted afterwards, which is not why you workout.
You work out to have more energy to do the things you want to do, not the opposite.
And I’m adding in a rest day in my CrossFit routine in the middle of the week. For the last couple of months, it’s been challenging to do the whole week so I’m hoping to improve on this as well. I’m hoping to give my body and my brain the rest it needs.
Enter another dilemma to working out that many face — you’re too sore to go and do the things you want to do.
In part one of this blog series, we discussed how the reasons to workout are overblown because you are so tired after your workout session that you don’t want to go and do anything else. Here, it’s a very similar situation.
For me, I’m sore all the time. My muscles are tight, even after a massage. And there are days where it’s hard or even painful to move. Recently, I’ve been wondering what it’s like to not feel like this all the time. Is this worth it? I keep asking myself. Lately, I’ve begin to question my workout routine.
THE NEED TO CHANGE IT UP
As I’m experimenting with different workout routines, I’m still trying to find the right balance between being physically fit and being too sore to enjoy my physical fitness. I’m trying a new strategy: more rest days.
Instead of busting my ass 6 days a week, I’m going to cut that down to 5 whereby I do nothing at all on those 2 days and then do active recovery on the days I’m spent.
This entire year (2019) has mainly been a battle against my body. Tweaks here and there. Days off from training. Avoiding certain exercises. The things you don’t like about training.
There have been a few bright spots here and there. I’ve PR’ed (set a personal record) for my bench press. I PR’ed my thruster in a CrossFit competition.
And then today I PR’ed CrossFit girl workout Grace.
CROSSFIT BENCHMARK GRACE
CrossFit benchmark workout Grace is pretty straightforward: 30 clean and jerks at 95 lbs for women for time.
It’s been almost a year since I’ve done Grace, and I knew I’d PR it, mainly because I know I’m stronger.
WHEN YOU’RE IN A RUT, DO A CROSSFIT BENCHMARK WOD
It can be hard after you’ve been doing CrossFit a while to keep going, to keep progressing, to keep getting stronger and fitter. It can be REAL hard. There are days I don’t want to get out of bed and workout. Workouts I look at I don’t want to do. Days I wonder why I do this.
In those moments, you need a win. Today was my win. I’m unsure how long my win will propel me forward. But it doesn’t matter — at this point, I’ll take anything.
More frequently than not, I wake up in the morning and scrap my CrossFit programming in light of something completely different. This is for two reasons:
I am incredibly sore from the day before.
I cannot do the workout for mental purposes.
With two CrossFit competitions in the last two weeks, I’ve had both of these reasons come into play several times. I’ve had to adjust my schedule every day for the last two weeks, and take unplanned rest days because I just couldn’t do it anymore.
Today was another example. I had a CrossFit Hero workout planned, which are CrossFit workouts named after service men and women and are known for being tough. However, when I woke up, I just couldn’t run. I had done a HIIT workout yesterday and ran over 3 miles. Hence, while doing the workout, I changed it.
While I freely admit I don’t know how to stop doing what I do, I do know when to stop doing a movement when I can’t. Today was one of those days. I stopped running and rowed instead. I cut all my reps in half. I did a 30 minute recovery workout.
HOW TO PRESERVE THE MENTAL GAME
In the past few months, I’ve learned the mental game of CrossFit is much more important to master than the physicalness of it. Don’t get me wrong, you have to be able to physically do the moves; but that’s not the hard part of CrossFit. The hard part is committing in your mind to do the CrossFit workout.
TIPS ON MASTERING THE MENTAL GAME
I’ve learned you can’t go hard core every day. You have to rest your mind as much as you rest your body. Sometimes you just have to get up and perform some mindless rowing so the next day you can hit it hard.
You have to preserve your sanity. CrossFit burnout is real; it hits me every few months. You have to pull back in order to move forward.
Do what you need to do when you need to do it. The beauty of at-workouts is you can do what you want, not what someone else programs. It’s the ultimate in listening to your body.
If you CrossFit for any period of time, you’ll know how hard CrossFit is on your hands, from constantly being dried out with chalk to the bars tearing into you and the motion of pull ups on the rig. You are bound to rip at some point in your CrossFit workouts.
TIPS FOR HELPING YOUR HANDS HEAL FROM RIPS
Once you rip, immediately wash with water, apply a disinfectant, and bandage up. You’ll want to cut any loose skin away from the wounds to help with healing.
Wait a few hours and then remove bandages. There are two schools of thought here: either keep the wounds moist to facilitate healing or dry out the wound to let it heal. I always let mine dry out.
Be extremely careful for the next few days. Depending on the severity of the rips, try not to do too much with your hands.
Showering will be painful, but it’s good to rinse your wounds and keep them clean. You may want to skip shampooing for a few days.
Tape up when you decide to work out again. This will protect the wounds from infection but mainly from being damaged any further.
Avoid the rig, ring work, handstands, pull ups, rope climbs, or any other movement that will further cause damage until your hands are completely healed up. Barbells and dumbbells are usually okay as long as you’re taped up.
Let time do it’s thing. Your hands heal really quickly so in a week or so, you’ll be back at your regular CrossFit workouts.
Ripping is never fun, but it’s usually inevitable if you end up doing CrossFit workouts with high rep counts of pull ups or chest to bar or muscle ups. For me, I have been doing strict only. This eliminates the back and forth motion that causes rips. However, when it’s the CrossFit Open or any other kind of competition, I kip because I’m competing. That is why I ripped.
As I’m sitting around my house today letting my body heal my hands since I can’t do much physically after ripping on 19.5, I realized something: I earned it.
I was wearing Bergeron’s Master’s tank top with the hashtag #EarnIt on the back while doing CrossFit Open Workout 19.5 and realized something: I definitely earned it this go-around. I ripped early on and kept going. I kept ripping and kept going. I almost finished but got time-capped.
You don’t have to rip in order to earn it (in fact, I’d recommend NOT choosing this way), but when you CrossFit regularly, many times you feel as if you’re not earning it. In fact, all you feel is tired, sore, and mentally worn out — and you’re left wondering why am I even doing this.
The fact of the matter is if you CrossFit, you earn it with every single workout, every single day — even if you don’t feel it. You earn it when you show up at 5 am for an early morning workout or drag yourself after work when all you want to do is go and sit. You earn it when a CrossFit Hero Workout makes you so sore you can’t squat to do laundry, or when you go all-out on Fran to set a new PR. You earn it when you do strength work that is mind-numbingly boring (for me, this is deadlifts), or when you practice hollow holds over and over again because your kip sucks and it needs to get better.
What does Earn It mean? For me, it’s always me against myself. What can I do better? What can I do today I couldn’t do yesterday? And how do I feel when I beat my expectations and do things other wouldn’t?