One of the biggest myths in functional fitness is that you have to hit every rep, round, workout, and training week with absolute intensity. Intensity matters, and should be a part of a majority of your training, but should not be the “exclusive” mindset anytime you walk into the gym.
Today we will talk about 3 distinct alternatives to hitting a WOD, lifting heavy, or getting out of breath. These are:
Full Rest: (Once every 7-14 days)
This option is exactly what it sounds like. REST! Don’t go to the gym, limit physical activity to what is necessary to get through your day in all non-fitness related areas. For those who absolutely have to do something productive, this is a good day to intentionally take care of your body. Here are some suggestions:
-Food Prep (Make eating on training days easier)
-Take a Nap
-Meditation (Check out Headspace App)
-Epsom Salt Bath
-Get a massage
-Chiropractic Care (Atlanta folks, check out Corrective Chiropractic)
Active Recovery: (Once a week)
One of the most misused words in the industry. Active recovery is using specific levels of effort AND volume to flush the nastiness out of your muscles and smooth out any knots/tweaks you have. Active recovery should never be above a 60% effort, and at durations of 20 minutes or less. Going on a 5 mile run is not Active Recovery, nor is rowing a 5k. It should be low volume. Some good active recovery activities:
-Slow 2k or less row
-Assault bike for 5 minutes at sub 300/250 watts
-Dynamic stretching movements
Skill/Stability Work: (Twice a week. Can be paired with a class the same day)
Sometimes your body isn’t necessarily beat up, but attacking a high intensity workout just isn’t going to work. You may also have a deficiency in one area and need to spend specific time working on it. For several athletes we have worked with, they also have imbalances right to left. Spending time working on Skills and Stability can be a good option.
Some things to remember:
-Skill work should be intentional, low rep, and have a minimum of misses. This is a great time to take video
-Stability work should be exactly what it sounds like…stable. If your overhead carries and single arm kettlebell swings are causing you to wobble all over the place, lower the weight.
-Going back to the basics is the key to unlocking the higher level stuff. Want Handstand Walks? Go back to Wall Walks and Shoulder Taps. Want a Bar Muscle Up? Go back to your kip swing or ring rows.
Give these different ways of working out a try, make them a regular part of your routine. You will be pleasantly surprised at how your times, lifts, and skills all improve, from what feels like doing less.