‘On’ and ‘Off’ Days

The day has finally come!  My friend Angela and I had planned months ago to take a yoga retreat at Yogaville in Buckingham, VA (this is awesome. I’ll say  more about this retreat in the next post). Knowing that I would be away from my gym for three days, I had a thought: instead of three days on and one day off, what if I went seven days consecutively and then took the three days off all at once?! Hey, I never claimed to be smart.

As it turns out, on and off days (or rest days) are designed to be spaced out. In retrospect, this sounds so logical and simple that I now feel myself growing sillier as I write this post. I should have know better! HAHA. So what happens when you go hard at CrossFit for seven straight days and try to clump together all your rest days into one weekend? Here’s my experience:

  • Days 1-3 (Thursday-Saturday): CrossFit – feeling pretty good with the usual soreness but nothing out of the ordinary. Also climbed on Thursday night.
  • Day 4 (Sunday): CrossFit – Open Gym – did a bunch of squats to work on form and climbed in the afternoon. I could feel my muscles reaching fatigue faster than usual and my body using its mobility to compensate.
  • Day 5-6 (Monday-Tuesday): CrossFit – Not bad. I felt surprisingly spry so went hard at the workout. Even climbed Tuesday night.
  • Day 7 (Wednesday): CrossFit – BRING ON THE PAIN! Every inch of my body screamed, but it was single-leg deadlifts day (my jam) so I couldn’t resist. That was a mistake.

By Thursday, my body started to twitch and ache in ways that just did not feel right. My glutes hurt in just about every position, calves are cramping in both directions and shoulders are starting to roll forward because I didn’t give my chest a chance to rest. And I was HUNGRY. Like insatiably ravenous, all day. It was explained to me later in the day that your metabolism does not simply slow down on off days.  The workouts have amped up my metabolism which stays that way regardless of whether I worked out. By now my body is so torn down that it’s crying out for food to replenish and rebuild. I ended up eating poorly on Thursday and Friday because of these cravings.

Lessons I learned from this experience are:

  1. You cannot bundle workout days and rest days. The body doesn’t work that way. Regularly spaced rest days are very important for the body to repair itself, which in turn impacts performance.
  2. Diet is very closely tied to physical activities. Overworking the body will only aggravate the precarious balance between nutrition and training.
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