Ever since Sunday, I’ve been hitting my CrossFit workouts hard. This week has been all about heavy weights, which I haven’t done for a while, especially after coming back from surgery. My shoulders are trashed. My calves are trashed. Squatting down in the simple things like doing laundry is difficult.
This morning I had a workout planned. I did not do it. I was too sore, and my body was crying out for rest. Here’s some tips on how to know when to rest from exercise, CrossFit workouts, running, or whatever sport you do.
Tips to Know When to Rest from Exercise
Your body is crying out to you. This one should be intuitive, but I often ignore this one. When everything is sore and everyday movements become a challenge, it’s time for a break.
Your exhausted at the end of the day. Exercise causes trauma to our bodies that our bodies need rest and sleep in order to recover from. If you’re not giving your body rest, then you are not maximizing your time under the barbell. When you’re tired all the time, it’s your body crying out to rest, so it can do its job and repair muscle fibers and tissues, so you can be stronger for your next CrossFit workout.
Your mental game is affected. Loss of enthusiasm, motivation, and desire is a sure sign you need a rest day. If you’re only half into your CrossFit workout and you’re just going through the movements without any heart, then you’re not doing yourself any good. Rest and hit your workouts hard in the upcoming days.
You have a tweak that won’t go away. If you exercise or do CrossFit a lot, odds are you’re familiar with tweaks — some muscle feels a bit off and when you move it, you notice it. Most of the time, these tweaks resolve themselves on their own in a week or so. However, if you have a perpetual tweak that won’t go away, it’s time for a break. Take at least one rest day and then rest that muscle as much as possible. Modify the CrossFit programming to suit your needs or design your own CrossFit programming.
As you can see, the key is listening to your body. Rest is crucial to progress in sports, but it’s so hard to take that day when our passion is our sport. Below are tips for rest days.
Tips for Rest Days
Active recovery. It’s hard for some of us to not do anything physical on rest days. Active recovery is a great way to let your muscles recover but appease your mind that is nagging at you to work out. I personally like to walk my dog on rest days from CrossFit or go swimming, which is no impact and gets all your built-up lactic acid in your muscles.
Distraction. Plan rest days during the week instead of on weekends, so you’re busy all day long. Plan rest days during the weekend if your weekend is packed, and you won’t have time to exercise.
Plan your CrossFit programming or workouts. Planning my next workouts satisfies the need deep within me to workout. It gives me something to look forward to when it’s time to hit my CrossFit workouts hard again.
Read a book. Alternate worlds are always good to enter when trying to NOT do something like exercise.
Get a massage. Let’s face it, we all need massages if we lift heavy weights. Schedule your massage during your rest day if possible to maximize the effects of rest on the body.
Go to bed early that day. Get extra sleep to afford your body the time it needs to repair muscle tissue and grow stronger.
We only get stronger when we rest. Adequate rest and nutrition play a big part in our muscle gains and, odd enough, our muscle loss.
Working out and lifting heavy weights, whether you do CrossFit or a different sport, is only half the equation. Keep in mind the harder part — eating right and resting — and you’ll see results quicker.
I told you all I did Manion on Sunday, a CrossFit Hero WOD consisting of back squats and 400 m runs. I liked it and didn’t think it was all that bad.
Until Monday. When it was hard to walk.
And then Tuesday. When it was even harder to walk.
And Wednesday. When I could walk but standing up was rough.
It’s Thursday. And I FINALLY feel back to normal. I can walk. I feel good. When I rolled out, my hamstrings were still a bit sore but nothing major.
I don’t think about these CrossFit Hero Workouts until they are said and done, which is probably a mistake on my part.
Doing the numbers, in one round, I moved 2,755 lbs. In all 7 rounds combined, I squatted 19, 285 lbs. Not the most intelligent thing to do. But CrossFit Hero Wods are meant to be hard, and I’d dare say, meant to destroy you.
Tips for Surviving CrossFit Hero Workouts
Just cause CrossFit Hero Wods are hard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever do them. They are meant to honor the fallen who have given their lives so we can still workout and do all the things we love doing in this world. Here’s some quick survival tips for CrossFit Hero Wods:
Plan ahead. Do these when you have rest days coming up or not a lot planned for the next few days.
Crunch the numbers ahead of time. Sometimes this can be detrimental mentally if you look at the sheer volume of reps and pounds moved. However, you’ll want to plan your other workouts around the Heros so you’re not lifting heavy the day before.
Increase expectations. I didn’t think much about this CrossFit Hero Workout. I just knew it would be long. That was my mistake. Plan for these workouts to take you out. Just like Bruck, it’s the unexpected that can kill you in the end.
Recover properly. Hydrate. Refuel with protein and electrolytes. Plan active recovery workouts in the following days. Keep moving but not too much.
CrossFit Hero Workouts are some of my very favorite. But each are tough in their own way. Some are tougher than others, but if you plan accordingly, these will become some of the best workouts, the funnest, and some of your favorite workouts in CrossFit.