With the CrossFit Open finally over, many CrossFit athletes out there are all asking the same question: What should I do next? The answer they all inevitably reach is that they should continue to grind away with WOD’s (Workout of the Day) until the next CrossFit Open, with the hope that such zealotry will lead to improve performance.
However, this thinking is wrong. Quite the opposite, what you should do is rest and not do CrossFit. At least for a short period of time. The purpose is to allow the body and mind to recover to set up another excellent season of training.
“The biggest thing that we see in the CrossFit world is that people want to go right back into training. They’re motivated, they’re ready to go. But the downfall of that is they just went through five weeks of very intense competition, and they don’t have enough time to really recharge the batteries.”
There’s a pervasive culture in CrossFit that praises the mindless ‘grind’ mentality. It’s a byproduct of the way in which the sport is portrayed by the CrossFit Games. As a result, much of the conversation surrounding the sport revolves around intense training every day rather than a focused effort on recovery.
The Sport of Fitness is unique in that it constantly requires the athlete to tap into their ‘flight or fight’ response in order to be any good. While these athletes may be excellent at turning on the engine and getting the work done, they are horrible at absolute recovery practices. Because of this under-recovery, many CrossFit athletes are setting their bodies up for a wide spread physiological breakdown. Pursuing high intensity with poor recovery isn’t doable or advisable.
Your growth in training will only be as good as you recovery. CrossFit is not an exception to this widely understood athletic truth.
The Crossfit Open is an intense, five-week long journey, not a five-day event as it may seem to many. The amount of stress this event places on both the mind and body before and after each workout is considerable and needs to be factored into the design of an athlete’s rest period. This period of rest could last anywhere from one to two weeks.
There’s still some work involved in recovery. Rest days don’t imply that you are sitting around all day long. You should still be moving about, but the intent of the days physical activities are markedly different from a day of training.
For starters, you aren’t trying to exhaust yourself or tire yourself out. Everything you do physically should be done with minimal effort for enjoyment. Here’s a couple Things you could do in replacement of training during your recovery period after the CrossFit Open:
All of the above activities can be done away from the confines of your CrossFit ‘Box’ and that’s the point. This will help your mind and body recover for the next season of training and allow you to tackle it with surprising consistency and effort.
“One of the most important elements of the recovery period is that it gives the athlete a chance to reflect and learn. Without reflection, it’s doubtful that the athlete will make any improvements in the following training year.” – OPEX HQ Coach Matt Connolly
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