Sarah Finding Fit

An unconventional look at fitness... my journey in reaching goals, laughing and having a bunch of outstanding adventures.

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Tales Of A Recovering Under-Recoverer

Guilty as charged. I used to be VERY bad at this – actually, I still am BAD at it, but maybe not as bad as I used to be. My Crossfit membership only allows me three workouts at the gym each week, so I have to use those class passes wisely. The benefit of maximizing that time in the gym is that I work harder while I’m there, got to make it count, but it also encourages me to spend time (in-between squeezing in miles of pavement pounding, steamy yoga sessions and rec league hockey) to adequately rest AND recover – two words that, when applied to health, fitness and athletic conquests, have distinctly different meanings.

I’ve learned that recovery requires more discipline than training itself. The general tendency is to want to keep going… I’m drawn to the gym because lying on the floor, pouring in sweat, feels good… actually great! It feels like I did something. It releases tension. It loads my body with endorphins and makes me happy. I usually get upset or bummed out when everyone else goes and I can’t… part of the issue is that over time, we’ve all been misled by the idea that that hours on a treadmill or brutal beatings are where the most gains are made. The truth is quite the opposite.

Rest and recovery just aren’t given the respect they deserve. Countless fitness magazines would tell you that… if want to get fitter… Work harder! Rarely would they suggest spending quality time with a foam roller, getting to bed at 9 PM like a grandma, or going for a long, slow evening constitutional. The piece that almost every fitness junkie (myself included) misses, is that even while it sometimes doesn’t feel true, you don’t get fitter when you are training. Whether you CrossFit, or run trail races, or squeeze yourself into triangle… you find fit in moments ofrecovering from that training.

Let’s clear up any confusion and do a quick breakdown of the two:

Rest = The absence of exertion or work. Think taking a day off from exercise or sports, napping, chilling, i.e. not going to the gym or the yoga studio.

Recovery = The restorative process by which you get back to normal. Genuine recovery includes adequate rest, but also must include the deliberate activities to help offset the physical and sometimes psychological cost of training.

Granted, the needed amount of recovery is different for each person, but under-recovering (or over-training) can and commonly does have serious health consequences. I myself was told at one time, to “recover, or your body will force you too” – it wasn’t long after, that my body entered the land of diminishing returns. And that isn’t a happy place. I was forced to take a step back, breath, pull my mouse away from clicking the race sign-up button, and learn the beauty of recovery.

Lesson learned. Essentially, seven days in a row of Crossfit might not be the best idea, even if you really want to and everyone else is doing it. It also might mean taking a pass on a race or competition… instead, build in rest days, love on a lax ball, eat something that makes you healthy… or go ahead and schedule a massage, you deserve it.

I admit it. My name is Sarah, I’m a recovering under-recoverer. If you too are a self-proclaimed fitness junkie, read this this article (thank you Whole9) and rethink recovery… it does more for you than you think it does.

Filed under recovery REST rest days crossfit whole30 whole9 sleep over training walking yoga