Rest, Recovery, and Overtraining

As we continue to enjoy the holiday season, let’s take a moment to talk about REST. It’s a topic that comes up a lot in conversations I have with many of you at the box. I’m sure I’ve annoyed more than a few people with my nagging insistence to rest. So that’s why I would like to share my thoughts withyou, as I often times feel concern for some of our beloved athletes at EverProven. We want to see you get fitter, stronger, make gains, recognize PRs, and continue on that path of constant improvement. So take a moment to hear this out and give it consideration.
I could probably write two or three different posts alone about Rest & Recovery, and Programming & Overtraining, but we can knock this out with one post, as there is a lot of correlation between these topics. How you are training, what programming you follow, how much you are resting and allowing your body to recover, can easily become the reason(s) you are feeling tired all the time, not making gains, not ‘looking’ any different, or simply injuring yourself.
Let’s start with discussing PROGRAMMING. There are many times when we see faces at the gym more than once a day. Many people seem to start getting into routines where they may be following our programming, but then following other, self prescribed, programming on the side, thinking this will help accelerate their journey on the path to glory. This may be you, and you may be thinking that since it’s legit programming such as Outlaw, Misfit, or some other lifting programs such as Hatch, that you’re doubling your progress. You might even find that at the beginning you see progress, however after some time your progress may start to diminish and you may end up setting yourself back.
The programming at our gym is best in class. We often get kudos from other boxes, famous coaches, and we’ve received shout outs from CrossFit HQ. If you follow our programming, especially if you are entry to mid level, you WILL excel. If you feel like you are not getting enough work on particular movements that trouble you, or ones that you love and really want to excel at. Please see one of our coaches, and we will work with you, under Matt’s guidance, to supplement our programming for you. That way we are supplementing our programming with extra work for you, that won’t conflict with the main programming.
Unless you’re killing Performance Level, or Fitness Level at the Rx, you may want to trust in the main programming, and see how you do after 3-4 months of disciplined attendance, with your utmost effort AND you are getting enough rest and recovery (more on that shortly). Again, if you feel like there is something specific you need, come to us before finding your own programming. You might end up doubling up on what we’re doing and then shortchanging yourself.
As for REST and RECOVERY. I want to first give a huge shout out to everyone’s dedication and passion. There could be 12 inches of snow, on a holiday, in the middle of zombie apocalypse, and 5:30 in the morning, there will be people at the gym, getting their fitness on, 24/7/365. It really gives us such a fuzzy feeling, we love it! That’s why we do this.
However, when I get approached with questions about pains (shoulder, back, IT, etc.) or sudden lack of progress, gains, etc. my first question to everyone is “when is the last time you took a solid week or two weeks off?” and the response is always the same. A confused stare, an ‘I can’t even remember’, and then as I start explaining the importance of rest and recovery, I get a ‘gotta go, bye’. Almost like I am suggesting something unspeakable.
But let me tell you, with all of the months of hard work that you put in, we strongly suggest at least every 6 months taking a solid week or perhaps two weeks (if you need that much) off. I know to most of us it sounds unimaginable, even impossible, and that’s great, it shows how pure your dedication is. However, it is still a necessary thing. And when you come back, I promise you’ll actually perform better, you’ll feel stronger, and you’ll get right back to where you left off.
The fear of losing all your strength, conditioning, and fitness is like the boogey man. It’s not real, it’s just a fear inside your head, but in a week (even two if necessary) nothing will be lost. You won’t suddenly lose all your muscle, gain a bunch of fat, and forget how to metabolize. Your body will appreciate the rest, it will rebuild, heal, replenish, and prep for hitting it back hard. And that week or two off does not mean sitting on the couch. By all means, come to the box and work on mobility, socialize, watch everyone else, and even hop on a bike or rower for some light easy moving. Or get outside, go hiking, go to the beach, whatever… your mind will also benefit from the break.
Then come back and crush it!!! And when you come back, make sure you are taking advantage of the benefits of RECOVERY. That means, hit it hard AF in the gym, and then make sure you’re eating enough (I bet you aren’t, and feel free to talk to us about this too), drink a lot of water (which I think most of you already do), and get enough sleep.
And for the love of god, do NOT feel GUILTY, ever, of indulging in food, indulging in sleep, or missing out on a day of working out here and there. If it’s the holidays and you ate a lot, a) you deserved it, b) you’re enjoying life, c) you are not going to suddenly get fat or harm your fitness, in fact you are replenishing your system, and only good things will come of that.
If you slept in because you had a stressful week at work, or anything of the sort, or your body just needed it, don’t feel guilty. Consider yourself fortunate that you were able to get a few hours extra in, because your body appreciates it. And if you missed a day or two here and there because of work, or other responsibilities, don’t punish yourself by doubling up a session, or starving yourself.
We don’t want to see you guys feeling guilty, or overdoing things and hurting yourself. We want you constantly improving, so when I give you this advice, give it a second thought. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
Oh… last thing, then I’ll get off the soapbox, is if you are sick (have a cold, flu, etc.) or feel like you are injured or about to become injured… heed this advice of taking time to rest back up. Doing a light workout at the end of a cold might help you for sure, but if you are getting sick, just got sick, or are in the middle of it, SLEEP, EAT, REST, RECOVER. Otherwise you may do more harm to yourself, and again we want you healthy!
Thanks, on that note Friday evening was my last workout before I take a 9 day break from fitness. I will be in the gym coaching, and working on mobility only, otherwise I am going to rest up, and eat a lot of cookies and food. On January 2nd, ask me how I feel.
– Christian

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