By Coach Becca
In CrossFit – more is always better, right? More weight, more reps, more days of training! I mean, that’s what all the best CrossFitters and people with rockin’ bods out there seem to be doing: double days, long and torturous workouts, heavy weights, etc...
I will admit – this is absolutely how I used to think when I first started CrossFit – the more I did, the faster I’ll improve. Gosh it couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Here is the thing – you may think you’re different or that you NEED to work-out that much to help you reach the goals you have (weight loss, muscle gain, improving with a certain skill). The truth is – your almost every day workouts or constant desire to push past what your body is telling you might be doing more harm than good.
There are some things a lot of people don’t know about muscle development:
1. Muscles literally cannot grow/develop strength/get further definition without proper rest.
2. It is during sleep where growth hormone (GH) levels are highest.
3. If proper recovery time (rest) is not given, the body cannot regenerate.
4. Proper rest time, nutrition, sleep, stress management, and recovery methods (stretching, body maintenance, etc.) all play a very important role with how well your training produces results.
When we train hard, which I know you all do, we are conditioning our body – which helps our bodies to:
-Improve efficiency of the heart
-Increase capillary size to help blood flow and oxygen levels
-Increase glycogen (energy) stores
BUT – if proper recovery/rest time is not given, then our body cannot produce these results, or they are produced to a lesser extent. The body will store less glycogen, your performance will plateau and possibly even decline, and worst of all – you run a greater risk of injury. None of these things sound very good – right?!
So how do we start learning to listen to our bodies – how do we know what they are saying? Some signs of over-training include:
-Easily irritated – Know whether you are generally an easily annoyed person, or if you truly see a significant difference in how quickly you have been snapping at people lately.
-Mood Swings – Again, are you usually moody – or are you just straight up crazy lately!? When was the last time you took a rest day?
-Trouble Sleeping – You need sleep to recover, but if you haven’t even been able to get much sleep because you keep waking up in the middle of the night – might be time to take a rest day.
-Loss of Desire to Train – Sometimes a simple day off can make all the difference in KILLING your workout the next day.
So next time you feel run down, overly moody/irritable, or have a crappy training session – take a look at when the last time you took a day off was. Or better yet, develop a routine if possible with days you train vs. days you rest – try to have at least 1 rest day every 3-4 days of training. Especially if you feel like those specific training days have been especially hard.
All in all – listen to your body and treat it well (sleep, nutrition, rest days)! It will thank you with better endurance, strength development, and a rockin’, defined physique!