Trainer’s Talk – Turning Your off Day into a Recovery Day

There isn’t just one quick fix to seeing results in the gym. Whether the results you are looking for are increased muscle, decreased fat, weight loss, or just feeling better, all require diet, exercise, and rest. This third element, rest, is the one that seems to give CrossFitter’s the most trouble. Some will ignore the rest completely, saying things like “gains don’t take off days”, others will embrace the rest day with all Netflix and the ice-cream aisle have to offer. Neither of these people are completely wrong in what they are doing, but they are far from being right. To get the most out of a rest day, or as it should be termed, recovery day, a happy medium of movement and relaxation needs to be found. This happy medium is different for each individual. 

A recovery day isn’t simply a day for the muscles you have exercised the previous 1-2 days to heal, but also a day for your entire nervous system to recover. Resting your nervous system, however, is not an excuse to catch up on the last five episodes of “Game of Thrones”, it should be an excuse to do some physical activities outside of the gym that you normally don’t get to do. Being active and getting your heart rate going on recovery days from the gym is needed for bringing minerals and oxygen to your damaged muscles to help in the repair process. Along with repairing your muscles active recovery will help reduce lactic acid buildup in your system, meaning you are less likely to be sore in the gym the next day and more likely to hit a big PR!!

Some suggestions for your recovery day activities: 

  • Swimming. (My personal favorite) It decompress your spine, get a good cardio workout, and you can pretend to be a mermaid while doing it. 
  • Yoga/pilates or any other form of stretching or meditation. Recovery day is for your mind and your body. 
  • Hiking. Oregon is a great place to call home for nature lovers, take advantage of hikes of varying difficulties throughout the state. 
  • Easy bike ride or moderately paced walk. Don’t go crazy, just try to stay moving for about 45min to an hour.
  • Catch up on work around the house. Mowing the lawn, vacuuming the house, cleaning windows, re-decorating. As long as you are moving around and doing something productive, you are properly recovering.
  • The ever reliable in-gym recovery. Take advantage of Mike’s programming on Thursdays, it may be rowing an easy 5k, doing an around-the-world grab bag of movements, or even some light skill work if needed, a good choice for that is always double-unders. 
Whatever it is you do during your rest day, make it count. You train like an athlete, so rest like an athlete. 

-XOXO Chad