Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rest Day

If you're working out like a madman every day of the week, you may want to build in some more rest time. I was super-reluctant to do it, but once I did, I haven't regretted it.

I've previously mentioned the importance of recovery, but I've only recently put it into practice in a consistent way. I've now reduced the frequency of my balls-out exercise sessions to three or four times a week, and taking just about every other day "off."

By "off," however, I don't mean that I'm just sitting on my ass, eating Triscuits and watching HBO. (For starters, I don't eat grains anymore. Also, we dropped our HBO subscription a few months ago -- right around the time I came to grips with the fact that "The Wire" ain't never coming back.)

Instead, on my so-called "off" days, my focus is on stretching and mobility. I'm still making my way through Kelly Starrett's Mobility WODs, and I'm staying pretty active in a low-intensity, Primal Blueprint "move frequently at a slow pace" kind of way. And when I'm feeling up to it, I'll do some sub-max effort, low-rep Power to the People moves to improve my form on deadlifts and side presses.

Back when I was P90Xing like crazy, the very thought of taking more than one day off per week was anathema. I was certain that if given the opportunity, I'd backslide into my couch-potato ways. But with my current routine, I've learned that: (1) my body absolutely needs some time off between CrossFit workouts to adequately recover and attack my next WOD with the appropriate level of intensity; and (2) the workouts at my CrossFit affiliate are actually two-a-days, in that they include both a max-effort strength session and a metabolic conditioning WOD. According to my trainer, even though I'm only visiting the gym three times a week, I'm squeezing in six workouts.

So far, so good. Since adding more rest days to my weekly routine, my strength and form have noticeably improved, and I've also boosted my metcon WOD results. Plus, I'm getting more shut-eye (when it's not Monday, Wednesday or Friday), I have a lot more energy, I'm able to bring maximum intensity to my workouts, I'm not (as) grumpy from constant fatigue, and because I'm still doing my best to eat clean, my body composition hasn't suffered.

Then again, maybe I'm just finding excuses to be lazy.