By Coach Holland

Recently, a lot of you have approached me about my thoughts on rest, recovery and how to stay away from CrossFitting for an entire week at a time. Well, first things first. As a CrossFitter, you must have the mindset of an ATHLETE. Even if you have never participated in an organized sport, ran more than a mile, or were always picked last at recess for kickball games, but you attend classes at Incendia on the regular, participate in the WODs, and sweat & bleed the color orange, you are an ATHLETE. Deal with it!

rest dayAs an ATHLETE, you need to be smart about your training and especially smart about listening to your body. When I first got into CrossFit, I would follow main site programming with the three on/one off method. Being 30 years old trying to learn how to hang from rings, swing kettle bells and toss barbells over my head, I found myself burning out quickly. My excitement for CrossFit wouldn’t stop my training though and I got to a point where I looked more forward to my rest days than workout days. Looking into how to property work rest in with hard training, I came across a gentleman named Blair Morrison. To me, Mr. Morrison is what CrossFit is all about. He qualified for the CrossFit Games 2009 through 2011 as a backpacking student in Europe. He had all of these crazy videos of himself doing double under burpee WODs in the middle of a town square somewhere in Helsinki or hanging rings on the side of a mountain trail and busting out a quick set of muscle ups in Barcelona. This guy is my CrossFit Hero! He also happened to have a great outlook on resting and recovery that looked like this: screw rest days, you need rest WEEKS! Could it be? Could I just take an entire week off from burpees, wall balls and power snatches? Would I become the CrossFitter I wanted to be by sitting on the sidelines for days at a time? The answers were yes, yes, and YES!

It took a lot of trial and error finding the rest cycle that worked best for me. At first, it was eight weeks on/one week off, but I found that as I was getting into my seventh week, my body was tired and my workouts for the next two weeks would suffer. I tried four weeks on/one week off, but that seemed like just as I was getting my footing into a cycle and started feeling good, it would be time to rest. Enter the six week on/one week off plan I currently follow. At last, my CrossFit Heaven! I found that I can push myself as hard as I can for six weeks with a light at the end of the tunnel. This cycle is what works for me.

Most of you are at the beginning of your CrossFit journeys and it is important to now look at yourselves as ATHLETES. You are not Weekend Warriors anymore (unless you only come to the Saturday 101 class). You are full-fledged ATHLETES. Pat yourself on the back for that! With that said, it is important to listen to your bodies. If you feel burned out, then step back for a day. If you feel that you need more than a day, take it. If you are going on vacation, take it as time to vacation. You don’t need to worry about the thrusters you are missing! You will always come back stronger after a little time off. Not only is rest good for you physically, it is great for you mentally. It will make you hungry to come back and get to work. Only you know how much your body can take before you need to sit on the sidelines….if it happens to be during one of my rest weeks, we can sit together and watch everyone else suffer!

Keep training hard. Keep training smart.