Oddly enough, the first time I ever even heard of ROI (return on investment), was in a gym. Mostly because of the argument that a gym membership can be costly. Valuable. But costly. Return on investment right? “Return on investment is a ratio between net profit and cost of investment. A high ROI means the investment’s gains compare favourably to its cost. As a performance measure, ROI is used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiencies of several different investments.” Thank you wikipedia for putting things into words for me, time to time.
With all of that being said, having a gym membership is an investment in your health, fitness, and well being. Often, as a coach my athletes and I talk about rest days and when their last one is…I’d say we are one of the few gyms that are open 7 days a week, that isn’t a globo gym. It blows my mind when I hear an athlete say they don’t remember the last time they took a rest day.
Obviously, I want our athletes to get their full ROI but at what point are we teetering the line of diminishing returns? Think about it this way, elite athletes and lifters will train for hours and hours a day just to add a pound or two to their squat. All on top of a strict diet and proper recovery, such as 8-10 hours a night of sleep. That is their job. That is how they make a living. But not us.
Our training is based on trying to stay healthy and safe. We want to see you guys in the gym every day but also, take a rest day. Let your body recover properly. We tend to feel sore every day and although we have grown to love the feeling of our quads feeling like they are going to cramp up when we go to sit down, or trying not to laugh at a funny joke because our abdomen is so tight, but when was the last time you didn’t actually feel sore? When was the last time the warm up didn’t feel more painful than the WOD because you genuinely needed it to work out a bunch of lactic acid? When was the last time you took a full on rest day, didn’t get your heartrate up and didn’t sweat? Resting is just as important as working out because it is an equal part of the process to build strength, endurance, and muscle.
I totally understand if you feel like you need to move everyday, trust me! One of the ways I keep my mental health in check is by working out. But I’ve come to realize that I don’t need to do a metcon everyday, nor do I need to do strength training everyday. Personally do I need to move a little everyday? Yeah. But for me, my mindset has shifted to taking time to take care of my body on days I’m not lifting and getting my heartrate up past 130 bpm. My days of rest consist of stretching and mobility, proper nutrition, and getting to bed as early as I can. Not only does it give my body and muscles rest but it also gives my mind rest.
The mental toughness and fortitude we have is indescribable, but we need to give that a rest too. Even though our brain is an organ, we tend to treat it like a muscle by developing it and testing it, but that also means we need to rest it. Ever fry your central nervous system from working out? Didn’t know you could do that?
I’ll leave you with this, the best part of taking a rest day is that it leaves a little more time for you. Finish that book you started, cook that meal you’ve been wanting to try, go for a walk in that park you always drive past. Shoot, watch that TV show everyone has been talking about. Don’t get so caught up in your fitness that one day you can’t remember the last time you took a rest day. You aren’t being lazy, you’re focusing on the recovery part of your fitness program. It’s just as important.
Until next time,