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April 3, 2023

Rest Days...

Many of us are forced to take rest days because life gets in the way. Some of us are fitness machines and don't take many rest days at all. On the other hand, some of us might take too many days off. There is such a thing as too much fitness and possibly too little.

Since it's been a while since we last talked about this topic, we wanted to shed some light on how many days you should rest to keep your health optimal.

As part of my weekly research, I occasionally check in with industry leaders to get their fitness ideals and fitness trends. One of my favorite fitness enthusiasts is former Navy Seal, Jocko Willink. He's most famous for his book Extreme Ownership, which I highly recommend to anyone who wants structure and motivation. Jacko is extremely bright and usually spot on with his ideals, but my eyebrows raised a little when I heard him say on Joe Rogan's podcast that he doesn't take rest days. He followed up this statement with this: he doesn't plan rest days; they just happen because life gets in the way. I wasn't terribly bothered by the statement, but I know the importance of recovery, so it stuck with me.

A few months later, former CrossFit games champion, Jason Kalipa, mentioned in an interview that he ran into Jacko at his BJJ studio and Jason asked him about his rest day schedule. Jacko told Kalipa that he never trains that hard in his sessions (like an RPE 4-5), and he spends a minimum of an hour a day stretching and taking an ice bath. Now this makes more sense to me. But most of us can't train for 90 minutes a day and spend hours recovering, nor does life demand this from us unless you're being paid to workout.

But let's be clear here about this topic. For both your short and long term health recovery, rest days are absolutely necessary! They allow your muscles to recover and most importantly prevent injuries from happening. By recovery we mean the anabolic process that happens when you rest: your muscles repair themselves and you actually get stronger by resting after a few grueling days of training. The best athletes, body builders, and CrossFitters in the world know the importance of rest days and most sports have an off season for this exact reason. In fact, if you've ever been around an elite athlete, they might not even leave the house on a rest day. It's that important to them. Not taking rest days will throw your body into a catabolic state, which means you lose muscle.

Back when we started CrossFit in 2008, we enthusiastically talked about rest days like we were going to a party or something. It was a huge priority and we needed it. And just like CrossFit has workout prescriptions, they have one on rest days too. CrossFit suggests that you train 3 days on, 1 day off, and then 2 days on, 1 day off. Here's what it looks like for someone who trains all week long.

Monday - exercise
Tuesday - exercise
Wednesday- exercise
Thursday - rest
Friday- exercise
Saturday- exercise
Sunday - rest

For our full-time members, this could make sense for you. However, some of us might not have the luxury of training 5 days a week or coming in on the weekends. So, you might have to adjust your weights and intensity after 2-3 days of training in a row.

With this said, if you are consistently training 5 or more days a week, you should consider taking 2 structured days off a week. On those days, you should prepare your meals, stretch, go for a walk, and connect with loved ones. For those that train 2-3 days a week, you might want to consider training every other day, so that rest is built into your regime. If your schedule is variable, then you might have to use your intuition on taking rest days.

When you come back to the gym after a day or 2 of rest, assuming you slept well, are fueled and hydrated, you should feel recharged and eager to attack your training session and your life outside the gym. When you're overtrained and fatigued, everything else in your life suffers. This can include your work, energy levels at home, and your relationship with food and/or alcohol due to an energy balance issues.

I guess my question is, what is your rest day schedule and routine??

If you have questions about your training, let's talk about it.

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Shoreline CrossFit



Shoreline CrossFit



Shoreline CrossFit