Do you need to take time off CrossFit? The three reasons why resting will set you back

Here are the top three reasons why resting is the worst thing that you can do:

Are you injured? Have accumulated a few niggles? Are you studying for upcoming exams or not setting PRs in training? Although counterintuitive, the last thing that you need is complete time off the gym. Complete rest is almost never the answer to your problems, for a variety of reasons.

No 1. Rest will make you age 10x faster

To give an extreme example, an interesting study[1] was published in 2001 where there was a 30-year follow-up on 5 men who took part in the famous Dallas Bed Rest Study (DBRS). In the study 5 fit 20 year olds were assessed on markers of fitness before the study. They were tested after 3 weeks of bed rest and then again after 30 years of ageing (in 1996). It was clearly demonstrated that 3 weeks of rest resulted in not only vast reductions in fitness, but even more than was seen in 30 years of ageing.

Next time you get an injury or setback, think twice before you rug up in bed and wait for it to heal. All your fitness gains will be quickly evaporating!

No 2. Rest will make you depressed and dumb

Science shows that exercise simply makes you feel good. Dr Nicola Burton, senior research fellow at the University of Queensland’s School of Human Movement Studies, says it ‘not only prevents poor mental health, but actually promotes good mental health’.[2]  So if you are worried about being time poor with demands upon you, keep exercising to keep your mind sharp and mood positive.

A 2001 Dutch study[3] showed that long term exercise reduced the risk of developing mood or anxiety disorders over three years, even when controlling all other factors.

When work piles up or a deadline looms, make getting to CrossFit even more of a priority. It is guaranteed to help your mood and stress levels.

No 3. Rest will slow down your recovery from injury

To repair damaged and injured muscle tissue there is one thing your body MUST have - the action of anabolic hormones. Without getting too nerdy, science tells us that the “anabolic process of protein synthesis, with new tissue formation, requires the action of anabolic hormones … directly stimulating the healing process through their anabolic actions”.[4]

So we know that we need these hormones to recover from our injuries. But it has also been shown that high intensity exercise increases human growth hormone secretion [5] - the key hormone in injury recovery.

If you have hurt your knee, lift some heavy shoulder weights and do some pull ups; if you have a wrist injury, hit some hard air bike sprints. Whatever exercise you can do without causing pain will help you recover and heal faster.

At CrossFit Creature we are here to help

If you have an injury, we still want you to come to class.

Besides going away, there is almost no need to take time off from the gym. All this will do is slow down the progress of your body composition, performance goals and injuries healing. To add insult to injury, by not training you will feel worse - both physically and mentally.

If you are injured, please email us or let a coach know what has happened, and we will provide you with an individualised program or a list of movement substitutes. You will be able to do these in class so that you can keep making progress in the gym and also help speed up the healing process.

If you are worried that you won’t be able to make it to the gym as much as normal due to life changes or a hectic schedule, please get in touch and we will provide you with holiday or at home programming and help you with some extra training for the days that you can make it in.

Rest doesn’t work. Think twice before next time you think you need some time off, talk to a coach first and lets keep you making progress towards your goals.