Real Talk: On Rest Days I Rest
Let’s Be Cereal
You always hear of friends at the box going for some intense cardio sessions on “rest days” from CrossFit. Either they go for a long-ass run/bike ride outside or join some globo gym for their cardio fix. However, if your own programming or box’s programming is spot-on, you really shouldn’t need that extra cardio.
Maybe a day or two for some light cardio sessions, but there’s no sense in tiring your body out. The best programming out there has a reason behind each WOD. Yeah, I actually used to think CrossFit workouts were really random, as I only followed the main site 3 years ago. Then once a buddy of mine became the head coach at his nearby box, I learned I was completely wrong.
At the same time, I learned that extensive cardio on top of your CrossFitting can be detrimental, depending upon your goals. Want to gain muscle or get shredded? Either way, you’ll need muscle, and too much cardio will hinder you in that respect, unless you’re eating enough. Want to lose weight and don’t care too much about body composition/muscle? Then eat enough and enjoy yourself with the cardio.
Once again, I’m no expert lol. Just mentioning some things I’ve learned from other coaches and my own personal experience.
Coach Knows Best
On our box’s blog (I might reveal it in the coming months ha…), the owner encourages us to post every day of our WOD results and some feedback. One time, there was a trend of people commenting about their “after parties” post-WOD. Some people did skill work, which is fine, while others would do something like a 1 or 2 mile run.
Coach was just like, “Are you guys crazy?” He explained that doing that often could result in overtraining, slowing down any strength and muscle-building. His programming is designed in such a way that for the everyday athlete, the WOD’s 3-5 times a week are all you need.
Maybe you’re not pushing yourselves hard enough? I mean, after a good WOD, myself and others are usually feeling like this:
If you aren’t seeing gradual results, something’s wrong. It’s most likely with your nutrition. Or maybe you might have some kind of health complication preventing you from reaching your goals. Get some tests through your doctor. Ask your coach for more info on this kind of stuff.
Cardio And My Return On Investment
I like saying it, so I’ll say it again…let’s be cereal. Cardio has a low ROI (return on investment). Why? You have to spend a lot of time on top of your normal CrossFitting to get it done. And to maintain your weight, you can’t stop doing cardio. It sucks, and does’t help when you’re someone like me who hates running.
Of course, your alternative, which actually has a better ROI, is to stick with your typical CrossFit programming and just get your nutrition fixed up. Sure, you’ll spend more time preparing meals, but that’ll most likely be less time than the extra few hours a week you’d spend doing cardio. And you know what? The CrossFit WOD’s will burn calories while you’re resting.
Back when I was at my lowest weight, around 145# going into my freshman year of college, I was always wondering why I didn’t have a 6 pack. I thought I ate “well”, and I did at least an hour of cardio after my strength training (typical bodybuilding shit). While I was really happy with how clothes fit, I still had some fat in the gut area.
Knowing what I know now, it’s because I didn’t have enough muscle on me. It made sense since my lifts were weak back then aside from Smith machine back squats (yeah…Smith machine…pathetic I know haha), and I barely ate enough protein. I barely ate in general. And to think some days
Rest Is Good
So for most people out there, rest on your rest days. Your body needs to recover from the punishment CrossFit delivers. Rest is really the only way you’ll improve, whether if you want to lose fat or improve your performance.