Gimme a Break
I’ve got my Gym-Mom hat on again this week. :)
I have blogged in the past about the importance of incorporating rest days into your fitness routine. Incorporating rest days into your week is a reminder that recovery is key to improving performance and overall fitness.
They are a necessity and should be practiced weekly. The break that I’m writing about today is taking a few days or a week off from your regular training.
I was very fortunate to have recently gone on vacation with my husband, David. Our favorite vacation destination is Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
As I have in the past, I take the opportunity to take a break from working out.
That’s not totally true.
I take a break from the gym.
We hike on many days…which is no easy task.
The two parks are located in the mountains. From the day we land our bodies are adjusting to an elevation change of at least 5000’ from what we have at home…often more…which makes it just harder “to live.”
David loves to fly fish; and, he convinced me to go for two days with him and his favorite fishing guide.
I did take my flexbands so that I could stretch in the evenings after the long days of enjoying the outdoors.
And, full disclosure…after five days of being in the parks, we did stay in a place that had a “hotel gym” with dumbbells…so I did two hotel gym workouts.
Coincidentally, this year right before we left I went to see Dr. Stanfield for a wrist injury.
It was not yet serious, but I didn’t want it to become so. He evaluated my problem, did some dry needling, and gave me some exercises to do.
The timing was perfect of sorts because I was able to give my wrist a break from Olympic lifts and holding a bar in a front-rack position. (Side note: When I started back at 330 last week, my wrist was feeling pretty good. Give Dr. Stanfield a try!)
So, I take going on vacation as an opportunity to take a break.
It has been something that I look forward to and not freak out about missing workouts. I view it as active recovery…for the mind and body.
When I got back to the gym, my wrist was feeling better; and, I was complimented for the depth of my front squat.
Having an injury may be an unplanned break from the gym.
Depending on the injury you may be forced to sit on the sidelines for some period of time.
My advice about injuries is three-fold:
1. Take regular rest days and don’t let an injury get too serious in the first place.
2. If the injury becomes serious, take the necessary steps to recover. Refer to my Dr. Stanfield comment above.
3. As you recover from an injury, remember that your coaches can help you modify exercises so that you can still come to the gym and workout in some capacity.
Dealing with an injury or an illness can often be harder on your mind than on your body.
One thing that I might suggest to many of you is to consider taking a several-day break after a competition.
Whether it be a CrossFit competition, a half marathon, or a triathlon, your body has been pushed beyond regular use and your muscles and nervous system could use a break. That’s just a break from hard or heavy workouts, active recovery is important.
With the proper balance of rest and movement, joint inflammation and muscle soreness can be reduced; and, you will come back to the gym with a good attitude and be more physically prepared to do the work and prepare for conquering your next goal.
So…give yourself a break before an injury or illness forces you to take one. Hopefully, you will find as I have that you will be better prepared to get back to work.