So you’ve been going hard all week at the box, crushing your personal records and making serious gains. After all that hard work and dedication – you are so close. Having the body of an athlete at the CrossFit games doesn’t seem so unattainable anymore. Rest days are for the weak, right? Wrong.
For CrossFitters, the box is a place of refuge that provides surges of glory each time a gruelling WOD is completed. In order to maximize strength, however, athletes simply cannot avoid rest days. You may think that performing a WOD daily will only increase your strength, but overstraining is a phenomenon that will seriously hinder your ability to become the strongest and healthiest version of yourself.
Why Rest Days Matter
Think about it logically: During sleep, your cells go into overdrive working to repair what needs fixing. Sleep works to restore the vitality within you that may have been lost throughout the long day. Naturally, when athletes take rest days, their muscles will go into reparation mode. If these crucial days are not taken, the body will not be granted adequate time to focus on increasing strength gains.
Taking rest days works like a domino effect. Your body will be primarily focused on regeneration, so you will return to the box more capable then before.
CrossFit’s high-intensity nature forces the cardiovascular and muscular systems of the body to push themselves past their thresholds. In doing so, athletes increase the count of capillaries, mitochondrial enzyme systems and glycogen within their muscles. So that personal record you broke after you took the weekend off? You can thank your rest days for the achievement.
Without taking breaks, you willingly increase your susceptibility to injury. Furthermore, if recovery time is not allotted, the body will stop storing high amounts of glycogen and what all athletes fear happening will occur: you will Plateau.
What Constitutes Overtraining?
Overtraining occurs when the body is repeatedly trained to the point where even rest will not provide it with proper recovery. The two primary types of overtraining are systemic and localized.
Localized overtraining is the most prevalent and can occur when you train the same muscle group repeatedly. To avoid this, body builders often designate certain days of the week to focus on exercising specific muscle groups.
On the other hand, systemic training, although rare, has more damaging effects on the body. This type of overtraining wreaks increased havoc as it forces the body to enter a catabolic state, which then surges the amount of cortisol released from the adrenal cortex.
Systemically overtrained CrossFitters looking to drop down a pant size will have zero luck, as cortisol decreases the body’s capability of utilizing fat stores as a source of fuel. Furthermore, cortisol halts muscle regeneration, lowers testosterone production, speeds protein breakdown and impedes protein synthesis.
Are You Overtraining?
Fortunately, the body will provide you with multiple signs that you have overtrained. There are wide ranges of psychological and physiological symptoms that come to head once a state of systemic or localized training has been reached.
Do these symptoms ring familiar to you or anyone you know?
Physical symptoms include but are not limited to continually sore muscles, higher frequency of injuries, weight loss, decreased appetite, high blood pressure, increased incidences of colds and flu and a rapid morning pulse.
Although overtraining is caused by physical stress, once the damage is done, emotional symptoms also play a part in the injury. Typically these symptoms present themselves after the body has been subjected to chronic overtraining, which typically takes weeks and sometimes even months to reach. Additionally, the symptoms that come from persistent overtraining continue to present themselves long after recovery time has been taken.
Emotional symptoms include lack of interest in participating in activities that were formerly enjoyed, depression, irritability, mood swings and insomnia.
In order to become your fittest self, you have to remember that there is no shame in taking rest days. At Strength.com, we understand your thirst for better personal times, endurance, speed, and strength. Our mission is to provide athletes with specifically formulated high-quality workout supplements that will propel them to higher levels of fitness that they previously never imagined. Our post-workout supplement Recovery is chalked full of amino acids, creatine and glutamine, to aid in the reparation and regeneration of your muscles. One scoop will help you avoid the dangerous pitfalls of overtraining, and have you back in the box in no time. Let us help you reach your goals and formulate your personal plan to strengthen!