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Recovery and Rest Days are an important part of a good fitness program. The body needs time to recover from training so we can manage fatigue and not burn out. The most important reason for Rest Days is so we are trining at our best. The greatest adaptations of fitness happen when training is at high level of Intensity. Now Intensity is a whole other topic, today I will focus on the recovery side of our training, but we need to understand to get great adaptations of fitness our training needs to be at high levels of intensity. To maintain Intensity the body needs to rest and recover.

HOW OFFEN SHOULD I REST?

The CrossFit program follows 3 days of training followed by 1 day of rest. This fits terribly into a 5 day working week and would have your rest days falling on a different day of the week each week. For that reason I program with a 5 on 2 off ratio. The 3 on 1 off ratio was developed in the early days of CrossFit by Coach Glassman. It was found that if an athlete trained on the 4th day the athletes Intensity would have diminished and fitness adaptation slowed. By keeping the 3:1 ratio athletes maintained Intensity and seen greater results from the program. I would support this theory, my intensity on the 5th day of my program, Friday is nothing like it would be on a Tuesday. By the end of the week I am a little slower and a lot sorer. Training brings a level of joy to me that is more important than the adaptation of Fitness. Which brings another factor to consider when deciding our work:rest ratio, What is your why?

WHY DO YOU TRAIN?

For me this is a big factor when considering what our ratio of Work:Rest should be. What are you training for? should be a determining factor of how often you train and how much effort you should place on recovery. Are you training to be a professional athlete? If so rest and active recovery is an important part of your program. You need to maintain Intensity, expesially on game day. If competition is not a part of your why, Intensity in training is less important and the need for recovery is not as great. For the most of us our why circulates around the need to be healthy and for our fitness to support our everyday life, not the other way around. Three to Four, one hour sessions per week can be a lot of time to fit into someones busy schedule. Trying to fit in active recover, mobility sessions and specialist appointments is not on the cards. The three to four hours per week in the gym needs be enough for your fitness to support your life.

IS THERE A KINK IN YOUR CHAIN?

Coach Glassman explained this with the analogy of placing handcuffs on a Basketball player it does not make them a bad player, but will hinder their performance. If you have a kink in your chain, an old injury, a new injury, you have not had enough sleep, you are dehydrated, you have a flexibility issue or you have development a posture abnormality this will be like placing handcuffs on a great basketball player. These kinks need to be ironed out or else your fitness and every day life will suffer. It takes time, patients and a little extra work.

SHOULD I BE DOING ACTIVE RECOVERY?

Active recovery can be extra work on top of your training that aids in recovering of damaged tissue or aids in the adaptation of fitness. This could be a stretching session, a massage, low intensity movement to promote blood flow for healing or it could be a skill session of complex movements of your chosen sport. The answer too, should I be doing any of these things? comes down to; Are you training to be a competitive athlete? Is there a Kink in your chain? if the answer to either of these questions is yes, then I would recommend doing active recovery sessions and seeking help from a health professional.

MY TIPS TO RECOVERY

1. Nutrition

I some times feel like I bring up the nutrition topic to much, but it is only because I have seen the value of good nutrition time and time again and I made the mistake for to many years of not seeing its value. Now when I see someone slogging it out in the gym and doing such a great job but their nutrition is garbage I feel so sorry for them, for they are waisting their time an effort. Our bodies need the right Macro and Micro nutrients to function. A lack of or an abundance in any nutrient the body will suffer. If you want better and faster recovery there is nothing else that will help you as much as good nutrition.

2. REST

I touched on this at the start but it is a simple concept. For adaptation in fitness training needs to have intensity, to maintain intensity you need to have rest days. How many rest days and what you do on your rest days, depends on the individual athlete, but you need to rest to recover.

3. SLEEP

Sleep is not just important for the obvious reason of you don’t want to be tired every day. Sleep is also the time the body repairs itself. You want to be getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. The quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity. Our sleep patterns go through waves and the quality sleep is from the deep wave sleep. REM sleep is also important remembering skills and data learnt the previous 24 hours, but our body repairs itself during deep wave sleep.

http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/29_05_What_About_Recovery.pdf