Let’s talk recovery and performance.
Whether your goal is to make a Regional or CrossFit Games Team, lose 10 lbs or just feel good, the principle of recovery is equally important.
You may hear coaches repeatedly say things like “get some rest, do your mobility work, eat clean and take in nutrition within an hour of training" all really important. BUT how often do we hear or follow advice to “rest” or “take a day off!”
When we train we introduce a stress response to our bodies. This stress response leaves us tired and in
need of rest. Hormonally, changes happen that signal to our bodies that we’ve been taxed and need to
prepare for more work.
The main stress response comes from the hormone cortisol. Cortisol triggers an insulin response and signals to free up more glycogen to prepare us for additional work. In more taxing efforts and if a person’s nutrition is lacking, the body will produce glycogen from amino acids which are needed for growth and recovery. This is not an ideal state when it comes to reaping benefits of training and coming back stronger and fitter.
Being in this state is not the end of the world once in a while, however when a person consistently puts themselves into this stressful state, and doesn’t allow for rest, they begin to plateau and break down.
When this happens, our naturally occurring anabolic hormones such as testosterone, and growth hormone are not produced in quantities that promote adaptation and improvement.
The short of the long is that with too much work, and not enough rest and recovery, you won't reap the full benefits of your hard work. More isn't always more.
Some signs of overtraining to pay attention to for strength athletes are:
Even though you may see signs of overtraining it can be hard to cut back on your workouts if you're in the habit of training hard all the time. For you, rest might feel like work.
A simple change to your training schedule to include more active recovery could be beneficial. For instance you could change you weekly schedule of 6 days on, one day off, to look more like 3 days on one day mobility or active recovery, followed by 2 days on, one day rest.
Don’t sweat it, but try meeting yourself halfway. Go for a light active recovery session such as a hike or walk, a light cycle or easy swim at an exertion level that allows you to maintain conversation.
We only peak and perform at our highest capacity when we rest and recover from an appropriate training stimulus. So, as we line up to compete or check off some goals, listen to your body or coach and factor in some rest.
FORGED BY FIRE