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.
In our last blog post, we talked about ignoring time caps so you can get to the part of the workout you want — the heavier weight part.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss how and why you should not let the clock rule.
BEATING THE CLOCK IN CROSSFIT
Many people get caught up on time in CrossFit. Many CrossFit gyms do as well. You’re always pushing yourself to “beat the clock.” But why?
One reason is because you’ll work harder and get more interval type training when you race the clock down. And there is a time and place of this. However, there also is a time when you ignore the clock and do your own thing.
When you’re not worried about the clock, you go at your own pace. You do the work how you want to do the work. You don’t care how long it takes as long as it gets done. You take short breaks when you need to. You go until you finish.
For me, this is how I work out most of the time. I go at my own pace. I break when I need to break. I don’t stop because it’s been 20 minutes. I go until my body says it’s time to quit. I don’t care what the clock says.
If I want to push myself, I’ll attend a CrossFit class. But mainly I push myself in CrossFit competitions or the CrossFit Open. That’s about it.
I think more people would try CrossFit and do CrossFit if they didn’t have some kind of standard to live up to, say doing 5 rounds in 10 minutes.
Try working out without worrying about the clock. See if you’re more motivated.
I remember a few years ago when I first started CrossFit that I would get frustrated when I got time capped. Some CrossFit boxes are particular about this and become upset if you keep working out after time is called. That would just annoy me.
CrossFit and Time Caps
Being time capped in a CrossFit WOD was particularly irksome when it was one that climbed in weight, and I wouldn’t get a chance to try the heavier weight.
Today was one of those CrossFit workouts where the weight climbed, but today (like most of my workouts), I ignored the time cap. I got to do the heavier weight (in today’s example, it was thrusters), and I got to do a bunch of them.
Then I realized something: I’ve gotten stronger since last year because I’ve done heavier weights more frequently because I never time cap myself. I just do the workout until it’s done or keep going because I like the challenge and the rush.
It’s a shame CrossFit classes have to time cap because of the limited time they have. Try to workout more by yourself with no time cap, and you’ll see results, guaranteed.
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.
This past weekend, my daughter and I competed in Battle of the Boxes at CrossFit MOB. I did this one last year and somehow managed to get second place. This year, however, with my daughter who has to scale all the weights, we were destined for last place. Hence, there is a completely different approach to a CrossFit competition when you know you’re not going to win it.
CrossFit Competition: When It’s Better Than Expected
However, we did better than expected. We got further on the workouts and actually beat some teams. We finished a WOD without being time capped. We did fairly well. We broke up the reps (although I had to do 130 wall balls since the target was 10 feet high, which sucked), but she did most of the snatches.