Are You Resting Enough?
I'll sleep when I'm dead
Why do we do this to ourselves, y'all? I'm making sure to include myself in this because I am the WORST when it comes to recovery. My cousin, Joe, who owns the CrossFit box where I coach, yells at me for it all. the. time. Yes, Joe, you told me so.
I know my body needs them, I know I'm supposed to take them, but I frequently skip rest days. I lie to myself and call them "active rest days," but last time I checked, sprint ladders are not restful. They are highly, intensely active. So here I am, nursing a strained foot from sprinting on my rest days...again. And I'm not happy because I'm missing an awesome workout today (backsquats) because of it!
Rest and recovery are crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle...keyword there being "lifestyle." If you are a sporadic or infrequent exerciser, you could do with a little less rest (sorry, y'all, you don't need 4 rest days a week). But if you are a regular exerciser, specifically one with performance goals, you MUST get adequate rest in order for your muscles to strengthen and grow. Without sufficient rest, you grow weary and become more prone to injury (hi, that's me!), burnout, and demotivation, which can seriously impact your long-term exercise routine and goals.
I know the facts, guys. But for some reason, I struggle to practice what I preach when it comes to rest. Each week, I fully intend to take at least one rest day. I even schedule it. But then noon rolls around and I feel antsy and want to go for a run. I promise myself I am going to do an easy three miles and then I get bored around minute 10 and I pick up my pace. Before I know it, I'm doing 100-meter sprint intervals and throwing in a couple 400's at the end just because it feels good. So much for a rest day.
My problem is that I genuinely LOVE to workout. I love endorphins...seriously I don't know why anyone does drugs...endorphins are the best high. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I complete a workout that intimidates me. I love hitting a new PR on the track or a new one-rep max in the weight room. Working out (especially at high intensities) brings me immense amounts of joy, but like with everything, I need to practice balance. I need those recovery days so my muscles can heal and ultimately perform at a higher level. I gots goals to get, baby! But I'm not going to achieve them if I'm sprinting on my rest days.
Do you resonate with any of this?
Maybe sprints aren't your thing. Maybe it's a long run where you're doing 10+ miles after a full week of intense workouts. Maybe it's a 70-mile bike ride. Maybe it's Fran or Diane. Maybe it's 2 hours of intense racquetball. It doesn't matter what it is, if you are working out on your rest days, you are setting your progress back.
If your energy is lagging, you're getting injured frequently, or you're losing motivation in the gym, you are probably overtraining and would benefit from taking one to two FULL rest days a week (myself included, peeps). What is a full rest day? Lounge! Go on a picnic! Spend the day reading, hang out with some friends, grab some beers and watch sports, I don't care what you do...just rest! Take a leisurely walk if you have to move. Just be careful not to go crazy and hike 10 miles up a mountain (that is not a rest day).
Don't let overtraining set back your progress. Believe me when I say I get it. When you love to exercise, it is so hard to take a day off from doing what you love. But you have to fight that urge to workout in the same way that you have to fight the urge to go for a cheeseburger and fries when out to dinner on a non-cheat day. Overexercising is just as bad for your body as overeating or eating food that is harmful to your body.
In order to truly live a healthy lifestyle, you have to find balance. With eating, with exercising, AND with resting. Too much or too little of anything is no good.
Since I need to get better at resting, too, let's do this together. Make it a goal this week to schedule (and actually follow through on) your rest days and I will, too. We can hold each other accountable (like I talked about last week).
Right now I'm going to practice what I preach and make a cup of tea, ice my foot, and watch some New Girl.
Love y'all more than sweet potatoes. Until next week!