More is not always better
How often should I train?
As a new gym with a lot of members new to CrossFit we’re getting asked this question quite a lot.
Put simply, CrossFit works due to the high intensity components in each WOD, but it only works if we give our bodies time to recover (and adapt). If we hit high intensity every single day without rest our body ends up breaking down.
So, how often should someone take a rest day? CrossFit.com (where it all began) follows a 3 on 1 off program, which means 3 days of doing the workouts and taking the following day to rest. Most athletes will need that day of rest in order to allow the muscle tissue to regrow and the body to recover from the training.
If someone is new to CrossFit, we don’t recommend that they start with a 3 on 1 off program since most people will not be able to handle that much intensity/work initially.
A suggested ramp up schedule can be:
Monday, Wednesday and Fridays or
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
So, 3 days a week till the body gets used to the training. After that, then you can ramp up to 2 on 1 off such as Monday and Tuesday on, rest on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday on and on the weekends getting outside to play and doing something fun with all this fitness you are gaining.
At Park Side, we offer programming 6 days a week, Monday-Saturday. We realise not everyone’s schedule is the same and some will come in on certain days, and some on others. Some members will only train Monday-Friday and take the weekend off (5 on and 2 off). This may work for some, but what needs to be monitored is how you’re responding to the training. On the 4th and 5th day in a row, are you still feeling strong and able to hit the ‘WOD’ portions of the workouts hard and keep the intensity that we are looking for in order for you to gain results? It’s not simply about getting ‘gassed’, it’s about training at your peak output.
What tends to happen is you start seeing results and get connected to the community and you don’t want to take days off, but this invariably leads to some nagging injuries if you’re not listening to your body.
Rest days can be complete rest days, or a relaxed walk, some light cardio, or some restorative work such as: stretching, massage or yoga. The key here is that we want to allow the body to recover and adapt (improve); we don’t want to do something that’s going to be high intensity. If you are going to do something on a rest day, it needs to be restorative.
If you are coming in on a regular basis of 3-4 days a week, I highly suggest scheduling some sort of restorative body work at least once a month, your body will thank you.
This is why at Park Side we’ve set things up differently, as a ‘member’ you’re not paying for x amount of classes a week that you feel the need to ‘hit’, and there’s plenty of open gym slots along with yoga for you to come in and do something less intensive and still catch up with your training buddies.
To add to this, for your restorative needs, we now have a very good sport massage therapist (Jo Marshall) working from our treatment room and will soon be streaming ROMWOD on the screen through-out the day for you to hit some dedicated mobility.
Regardless if you are a competitive CrossFit athlete or just someone looking to get fitter, remember more is not always better, but better is better. Learn to listen to your body, learn to be ok with missing a day here or there in order to take care of yourself. You are only going to get stronger and faster if you allow your muscles a chance to recover.