When those abs start peeking through and the PRs become more frequent, that’s when we want to be in the gym as much as possible—beast mode it in full force.
The commitment to bettering your health leads to inevitable results. Wonderful, beautiful results.
It’s exciting to smash goals and feel (and see!) the differences in your body, but that excitement also makes it super easy to get a little lost in your beast mode.
Coaches will start seeing things like barbells with a few too many plates, an insane amount of no reps, questionable form, and workouts being RX’d that should’ve definitely been scaled, all of which can actually lead to an unhealthy peak in performance, and worst of all, injury.
Believe it or not, the more you make it to the gym doesn’t necessarily mean the better. Greg Glassman has dubbed the “CrossFit schedule” as 3 days on, 1 day off. Meaning he recommends, at the very least, 1 day of rest after 3 days of hard exercise in a row.
Now, I know this specific routine isn’t something we all sign off on in blood when paying for a CrossFit membership. Everyone has different schedules—maybe you do 5 on-2 off, or 4 on-3 off, or maybe you have a schedule that’s totally sporadic. But really, the 3 on-1 off method is representative of how Glassman (and CrossFit) prioritize rest and recovery.
Rest and recovery are extremely important when it comes to overall performance and crushing our fitness goals. Not working out when you really want to is truly suckish (I can speak from a place of post-partum misery!), but it’s important to remember our bodies need to rest and be properly taken care of, no matter how badass your beast mode is.
WHY we must rest and recover:
TO GET STRONG: Fun fact—when we weight train, we are actually tearing tiny muscle fibers that can only rebuild when we rest. And when they rebuild? They come back stronger!
AVOID INJURY: Of course, if something hurts, your first instinct should be: STOP. Whether it’s sore, tweaked, strained, sprained, or something more serious, continuing to workout is the LAST thing you want to do. Overuse of any part of the body that’s in pain will likely end in injury and the sooner you rest it and safely recover from the problem, the sooner you can get back to your normal routine.
SLEEP IS CRITICAL: When we say rest, we aren’t always talking about sleep, but occasionally we are. It’s important to get at least seven hours of solid sleep to be mentally and physically re-energized and to avoid further health complications including heart and blood pressure related issues, obesity, and diabetes.
WE NEED FUEL: Hydration and nutrition are also important elements of recovery. You should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces every day and eating a balanced diet that supports your fitness goals. Processed foods and foods with high sugar content should be avoided or eaten in moderation so as to not negatively affect performances.
PROPER POST-WORKOUT CARE: If you have problem areas, it’s important to talk with your coach about stretches and at-home methods to nurse those areas after a workout in order to avoid further injury. Instead of leaving the gym as soon as class is over, take the time to roll out or do a quick cool down. Did you PR your deadlift? Make sure to do some lower back stretches and maybe throw in a heating pad before bed. Did you really push it in that speed workout? Ice your joints and stretch out those calves!
RELAXING THE BRAIN: Resting our brain is super important too, guys. After all, CrossFit is constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement. High intensity is intense, am I right? Our bodies can be tense, but then again, so can our attitudes. Workout hard, let out your rage, relieve your stress in the gym, but also give your brain a chance to mentally recover outside the gym. Relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, etc. can be a great addition to your fitness routine.
Our bodies can accomplish amazing things when it comes to our fitness, but they also need to rest and properly recover from the work we are putting them through. There is absolutely nothing wrong with bringing out your beast mode—just make sure you remember to put the beast to sleep.
About the Author
As a CrossFit Trainer & Content Writer at Solstice, Megan brings our experiences to life with her words. She strives to be a voice for the community, offering inspiration and advice for all our readers.