Many of us who CrossFit can barely consider a missed workout, let alone a few days or a week off. What if we never go back? What if we return to find that our max weights have gone down? Will we lose muscle–or worse yet–miss out on some fun in the gym?
Taking a break may mean different things to different people. It could mean taking a week or two off, or simply scaling back on your days or lessening your loads. CrossFit can be taxing on a body depending on various factors such as age, weight, experience, endurance or strength level. There are a number of signs that will tell you it’s time to scale back. Here are just a few:
Pain. If you have recurring discomfort that only worsens after a WOD you should probably give it a little rest. Most of us don’t like to admit when we have an injury because we don’t want to stop, but if you don’t stop and cater to your injury, you may be forced to take a true break for longer than you anticipated. That is not a win win.
Fatigue. This doesn’t mean feeling tired because you didn’t get a good night’s sleep. We are talking about the tired that comes from months/weeks of training on top of training, on top of everyday life. It’s not hard for your physical and mental labors to catch up with each other and make you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck. If you continue to do your WOD at full intensity, the likelihood of injury can increase because your muscles and your mind aren’t as focused as they should be. It’s ok to miss a day or two…sometimes the best gains are made at rest!
Burn-Out. If you are dreading your WOD, or find yourself not wanting to try harder or go heavier, not caring where you end up on the whiteboard then you may be feeling burned out. Don’t panic. It’s ok to feel burned out on what you have loved for so long…it’s human nature. Instead of going to your WOD, throw in a yoga session or go for a jog or bike ride. Sometimes taking a couple of days off of something you love will reignite that initial spark from when you first started. It is true that distance can make the heart grow fonder.
If missing a day or more is completely out of the question, then lighten your load and/or your intensity. You can still do the workout but at a different level. If you are typically at the top of the whiteboard, this can be hard for you but it may be just what your body needs. So what if you don’t RX a WOD or two? It may be your best option outside of not doing it at all.
Don’t be afraid to take a temporary step away from your box. You aren’t going to miss out on anything that you can’t make up when you get back. It doesn’t mean you are weak. It doesn’t mean you are a quitter. What it does mean is that you are listening to your body and refueling it so you can continue doing what you love. You will have a renewed mind, fresh muscles and the eagerness to go above and beyond where you left off!