It happens to the best of us. Every once in a while, you just can’t seem to fathom going to the gym and giving 100%. Sometimes it’s once a month, sometimes it’s once a week.
Sometimes you need to just push through it and get your butt here. It’s not unusual to have a stellar workout when you feet the least like working out. The energy of the gym has a way of firing people up as soon as they walk in the door.
Other times, you need to listen to your body and take some time off or take it easy. You will not die if you miss a day, a week, or even a month. Nor will you get fat, slow or lazy in that period of time. Here are some options and recommendations for how to approach taking time off in the best way.
Taking time away from the gym:
- Take a day off once in a while: This is a nice way to assert your freedom from the gym. Enjoy one of your other hobbies instead. Go for a walk or a hike instead. If you want to sleep in once in a while, do it. It’ll help from getting burned out and having to take more and more time off.
- Take a week or two off: Every so often, your body and mind need to heal and recuperate. CrossFit isn’t easy, and it can slowly start to wear on you, until one day you just can’t bear to do another burpee, thus ending your CrossFit life. That’s not good, assuming you actually like your results, progress, friends at the gym, and even sometimes the agony of a WOD. Taking a week off from time to time can help you feel fresh and rejuvenated. I take an entire week off once every 2-3 months or so. I don’t workout at all during that week, and I feel great by the time I come back.
- Take a month or more off: This can get a little risky, as a month is long enough to have to experience that just-starting-CrossFit soreness, and it can be a little frustrating to come back after that long. Sometimes it is needed. However, if you really need to take a month off, you should probably come talk to me about how to achieve a better balance in your workouts, as you’re probably doing to much and/or too often.
If you are the type of person who needs the hour at the gym every day to keep you from murdering your family or co-workers, the following options are good ones to utilize while still attending class:
- Don’t keep score: Constantly tracking your times, weights and reps can add to the toll of always doing intense workouts. This is especially important for those of you who compete in the sport of CrossFit. It’s really nice to just come workout once in a while and not care if you do well.
- Only do “x”: If you feel like you are having one of those weeks, you’re welcome to come in and skip the strength, or only do the strength. Just let the coach know what is going on, and don’t be disruptive to the normal class. You’ll still get some work in, but you don’t have to go 100% for the whole hour.
- Go at 50%: You always have the option of going half speed, either in effort or weight, or both. Again, just let the coach know that you’re taking a bit of a rest day, and that you’re going to use half your normal weight, or just go through the motions of the workout.
- Follow the percentages and recommendations of your coach: We have “deload” weeks programmed every 3 to 4 weeks. During these weeks the volume is lower and the weights are lighter. Sticking to these prescriptions will help you avoid physical and mental burnout. If you choose to ignore them, you significantly increase the likelihood that you’ll eventually need some serious time away from the gym.If and when you decide to explore these options, you should have a plan. If you decide you need to take a day off once in a while, that’s fine, just take it off and get in the next day. Just don’t let one day turn into two, and then three, and then a week, and then a season, and then never. If you’re a Monday, Wednesday, Friday person, just take your Wednesday off and don’t miss Friday. Don’t feel guilty, and just enjoy it. If you’re going to take more than a day off, know beforehand when you are going to come back and stick to it 100%. If you need some guidance, or feel guilty about utilizing one of these approaches, please come talk to me. I’m happy to help you decide what you would benefit the most from. I promise I won’t tell you that you’re being lazy.