Rest Days are the Best Days

“Overtraining can best be defined as the state where the athlete has been repeatedly stressed by training to the point where rest is no longer adequate to allow for recovery. The “overtraining syndrome” is the name given to the collection of emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms due to overtraining that has persisted for weeks to months.”

Men and Women are both susceptible to overtraining. In this article, I want to focus on the physiological and psychological aspects of overtraining in Women. I myself am guilty of overtraining. In college, I would workout on average 2-3 times a day. It was past the point of loving to exercise, training for a triathlon or just being healthy. I had an unhealthy relationship with working out. It was psychological…fear of being lazy and over-weight.

I definitely have a healthier relationship with working out thanks to CrossFit, but I still struggle with rest days and recovery. Before CrossFit, I never took time off. A rest day was only doing one workout instead of three. Now, I look forward to my regularly scheduled rest days. The difference now, is that I am training for a sport that is intense and physically demanding. Therefore, requires smart programming from a coach and smart training from the athlete. In the sport of CrossFit two-a-days are sometimes necessary. What it comes down to is programming, rest, nutrition and hydration between the workouts. It is also about listening to your body and knowing when to back off during a workout or take a rest day even if it’s not scheduled. This is where I fall back into that old routine. I don’t like rest days outside of my scheduled two. I am the worst at listening to my body when it’s screaming for recovery. If it’s a training day, I’m working out…end of story.

Two weeks ago I hit a wall….a very large, unforgiving wall. It was a week after the South Central CrossFit Games Regionals and I decided that I could handle a Strictly Strength SWOD and immediately follow it up with our regular 1pm coaches workout. The 1pm workout was supposed to be a partner WOD of “JT” (21-15-9: HSPU/Push-ups/Ring Dips) immediately followed by “Christine” (3 RDS: Row 500m/ 12 Body weight Deadlifts/ 21 Bok jumps). I came in late from SS, so I didn’t have a partner. I figured what the hell, I’ve got this. So I did the entire workout by myself. Huge mistake! I was wrecked but I worked out Tuesday anyway. On Wednesday, Strictly Strength was on the schedule so of course I was going. My body at this point was HATING me. I was sore, tired and had that flu like feeling. Needless to say, my work out was piss poor. I could barely push press 105 for 3 reps (my 3 rep max is 135). The last part of the workout was 5 rounds of “Cindy” (5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats) as fast as possible. I completely fell apart. It took everything in my power to get myself off the ground to do 1 push-up. For about a week after that my body was not well. Lesson Learned!

So, this is my attempt to save anyone one who is willing to read this from doing what I did and have done before. That was not a first for me…or a second….or a third. It just took some concerned people this time around to make me realize how irresponsible I was.

Symptoms of “Overtraining Syndrome”:

• Fatigue
• Irritability
• Decreased performance
• Loss of appetite
• Overuse injuries
• Amenorrhea (absence of menstrual cycle)

Most of these symptoms can easily be treated my rest, hydration and nutrition. However the last two, overuse injuries and amenorrhea can cause long-term damage. Amenorrhea decreases bone density, which can lead to Osteoporosis. For this reason, Osteoporosis is commonly referred to as a “female disease.” (National Center for Biotechnology Information) Which is why we do CrossFit and eat clean…to avoid becoming fragile, brittle old ladies.

A huge thanks to Travis Holley and Jayci Cormier for making me see what a stubborn, ass I was being. And to my body…please forgive me for taking you for granted and ignoring your cries for help.



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