No Pain, No Gain they say…but actually more often than not there will actually be No Gain when we force working out when your bodies are not in a good state.
I’m going to share my thoughts on training under certain conditions based on some situations I’ve faced:
“I slept for 2 hours last night…”
There’s definitely some glorified aspects around “rise & grind”…waking up at 4am to workout to feel like you’re hustling and more productive. I’m definitely not knocking the 5:30am class group who comes to the early class because it’s the only time their day allows for! What I’m getting at is if you only slept for 2-hours but think you have to get up at 4am to get fit and healthier, you would probably benefit more in terms of your health and fitness if you slept for 2 more hours instead.
For evening-workout people, if you get little sleep, go throughout your work day and then want to workout, same thing applies – you may benefit more by going home and getting into bed earlier than usual to catch up on some sleep.
If you are thinking “LOL I always only sleep for 4 hours & I’m fine!” … You’re not fine. And this doesn’t mean you should just never workout. It means you should be working on improving your sleep routine so that you can fully benefit from you workout rather than pounding your exhausted body even more into the floor and wondering why you need 2 coffees every day at 2pm.
“I’m so sore, this is my 8th day in a row!”
Take a rest day.
Our bodies are pretty good at telling us what’s going on, we just need to learn how to listen to it.
Changes in appetite (either ravenously hungry all the time or suddenly no appetite at all), persistent fatigue, body aches and soreness are all signs something we’re doing isn’t working very well for us. Performing high-intensity exercise (just about every CrossFit class you take) more than 4 days in a row without a day of rest will certainly become more detrimental than beneficial.
“I skipped lunch…”
Or *insert whatever meal*…not eating is going to negatively impact your performance. I can usually tell by round 2 if someone just isn’t moving the way they normally do (even if you don’t), their face is a little whiter than usual, they’re standing around more than they’re lifting and there’s a tell-tale glazed look in their eyes.
Obviously if you don’t put gas in the tank, the car isn’t going to drive. If you got caught up and missed a meal before your workout, try to get in a quick snack to hold you over throughout your workout at least. If you aren’t able to do that, understand that your expectations for your workout are going to need to go way down because you will not be able to give the same effort as your typical fueled day.
Also, tell your coach. They can help you adjust the workout and monitor your intensity to avoid you feeling terrible and discouraged.
“I donated blood today…”
Again…tell your coach!
This has truly happened to me and more than once…someone is struggling through a workout and showing similar signs as having skipped a meal. When I ask if they ate today they finally admit they gave blood 3 hours ago.
If you’re down a pint, go home, okay? You are literally short on transporters for oxygen and energy to your muscles, lungs, heart and brain.
If it’s mandatory for you to come into the gym still, please let your coach know so at least they can adjust your workout volume and intenstiy and expectations (or send you home themselves).
“Work has me SO stressed out!”
Coming to the gym is a huge stress-reliever for many people – and that is awesome! Transfer your frustrations into PRs and happy-hormones to go home feeling mentally lighter and more relaxed. We love that.
But when things get so intense that you feel like you’re bubbling over and working out is not leaving you feeling as great, it’s a good sign a rest day or two could be more beneficial for your physical and mental health.
Exercise is stress. It puts stress on your body just like a stressful workday, your body doesn’t really know the difference in the two. It knows that stress-hormones have been produced and something needs to be done about them but if there’s too much or too long it loses the ability to function properly!
So, come in and de-stress as much as you need! But, if you get to a point where your body is giving you those negative feedback cues again (appetite changes, fatigue, aches and soreness, irritability ect), consider taking the opportunity to swap the workout for a casual assault-bike at the gym instead where you still get to socialize with your favorite people (great for your recovery!) without the physical stress, an easy walk in nature, or a meditation or yoga flow session (again, come on in to use our yoga room if you need!).
Why are we telling you reasons to not come to the gym? Because we care deeply about you and your long-term health, wellness and fitness!
In a small snapshot we want you at the gym and we want to help you work harder every day, but in the grand-scheme of things we know that if we only focus on that each day, we won’t have you in the gym for very long and you won’t be your happiest, healthiest self. In any of the above conditions, your risk of injury, burnout and exhaustion are increased – all that means you will grow to hate CrossFit and never come back.
Let us help you keep coming back by sometimes not coming in at all…distance makes the heart grow fonder anyway.