Active recovery? Rest days? What’s that? If you find yourself asking these questions, then you most likely aren’t incorporating enough of these days in between your workouts.
We get it! CrossFit can be addictive. You come to the gym, get your sweat on, and you leave with a sense of accomplishment knowing you gave it your all for the workout. You start seeing results and from that point on, all you can think about is going harder, faster and farther. Before you know it you’re working out six to seven times a week. In the long run, this will leave you feeling mentally and physically burned out. It also puts you at an increased risk of injury.
What most athletes don’t realize is when you perform these high intensity workouts six to seven days a week, then you’re not giving your body adequate time to rest and repair itself. Our muscles break down when we workout and it is important that we allow a day or two for healing. Why hinder your progress when you can simply add in a few active recovery days each week?
So what do you think of when you hear the words “active recovery”? I’m sure some of you are hoping to be able to lounge around on the sofa all day and miraculously repair your tired, sore muscles. Sorry to inform you, but you’re still going to have to actually get moving, hence the word ACTIVE recovery. Some options for active recovery days may include swimming, walking/light jogging, yoga, foam rolling, cryotherapy or even a sports massage. Pretty much anything that gets you moving to help your body recover from the physical demands placed upon it while training. You may even come to the gym and scale back the workout of the day by using very light weight, decreasing reps as well as moving at a slower speed. Rowing and cycling are more great options to get the blood flowing on these rest days.
Your goal is to choose two days each week to use as your active recovery days. I know it will be challenging for many of you, but in order to see the best results you must first trust the process. Test it out and see how you’re feeling after a few weeks. You may even be surprised by the decrease in muscle soreness and overall increase in performance during workouts. Who’s ready to achieve some new PR’s by incorporating active recovery days?