Many may criticize inadequate or inappropriate training, but it is easy to gloss over over-training like it is just part of the process when it comes to fitness. If you are not giving your body enough time to rest, you are not going to be much stronger or faster. You may see a blip on the radar, or even a PR and then the inevitable crash will occur. Our bodies can only handle so much and each person’s body is different.
For most people the 2 days on 1 day off or 3 days on 1 day off model works tremendously. This allows your body to work at maximal capacities, then recover and do it all over again. We have been told since grade school that you should exercise at least 30 minutes a day, every day and so the connotation of a rest day becomes under-training. The beauty of CrossFit is that you can get in more work, at a great intensity, over the spread of less days, than someone who just runs a couple of miles everyday. Intensity is important in training, but for most trainees, working out 6 days a week, for an hour, at a high intensity could lead to diminishing capacities versus actual gains. I feel like so many people look at the Rich Fronings out there and say “he never takes a rest day, so I should workout every day.” Let me be clear about a few of things: 1. Rich Froning’s job is to workout. 2. He did not just wake up one morning and decide to train all day every day—he worked up to the load he currently sustains. 3. You need to consider your fitness goals–if you are trying to make it to the Games, then you may have to put in extra work, but the average athlete should see adequate gains and improvements working out 5 days a week.
A good gym (like the one I go to) will have “deload weeks” programmed in, so the members are given adequate time to recover. Being able to trust the programming at your CrossFit box is incredibly important, but it is equally important to not sabotage the scientific programming laid out for you by adding too much extra work into your routine. Talk to your coaches about extra work to ensure you are getting the most out of your time.
Listening to your body is important, but some of us do a terrible job of listening. We think we “feel” fine and then crash hard the next day because we have done too much in a short amount of time. It could take your body a little extra time to “feel” the work you have put in…and by then you may be on day 4 in a row. Be smart about your training, be smart about your rest. Your body will thank you and you will see gains!