What a Week of Rest Taught Me


Being an athlete, you’re bound to face times of injury.

Well, it happened to me (again) and last week I took off of working out. I might have put up a tantrum at first, resisting resting and questioning if staying away from the gym was the best thing. But, my back protested in almost every movement and I was just frustrated. Having a workout partner and Coach who has lots of common sense, I was finally convinced to take a break.

I know I’ve talked about taking breaks before, but this one was different. It was difficult to step away from something that is ultimately a good thing. I didn’t get to see my gym friends for a whole week; sure I still coached and ran athletes through WODs, but I couldn’t relate to any of their suffering. It was a bummer the first couple days and I might have been a bit morose.

However, taking that time off made me do/realize two things as the week progressed:

  1. I began to prepare more for my classes. Prior, I would take the 11:30 a.m. class and glean what I could from whoever taught that session. I’d apply then what I learned to my own class; being a new Coach, there is still so much to learn and while this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, I’ve realized I need to do more prep. When last week meant I wouldn’t be doing the workout prior to coaching, I had to sit down and look ahead at the workouts. I began to map out my classes like they show you in the Level 1 Training Guide. I came up with a schedule and time slots — but still while being OK with being flexible, of course. My warm-ups were more thought out. I did research on movements and what to teach my athletes. All in all, in a week’s time I think I’ve improved as a Coach. And I know I feel a whole lot more prepared when I step onto my coaching stage.
  2. Secondly, I realized what the gym had become to me. I had started to place more and more pressure on my performance. I started to forget what having fun in the gym was. Going back for the first time to work out in a week, I was just ecstatic to be there, sweating and chatting with my friends. I realized I had been putting too much stock into my workouts; sure, competition is healthy and fun, but it can’t be what fuels me every day. My mindset needed to relax and I needed to remember why I loved CrossFit in the first place.

So what does this have to do with you, the owner? Well, I think it could be a great thing to encourage rest in your athletes, for a multitude of reasons. I think I could easily have fallen into burn out if I hadn’t forced myself to take a break — burn out from injury and the pressure of performing well.

Perhaps it’s reminding them in your quarterly check-in meetings why they joined in the first place. Perhaps it’s building in a fun day or a rest day in your programming. Perhaps it’s your Coaches preaching lifestyle versus going all out every day.

I also think challenging your Coaches to prep more for classes could be hugely beneficial. You might think they do it on their own — and perhaps they do — but I know I needed a change of routine to get me heading in the right direction. Having a class plan, whether one you create for your Coaches or asking them to create their own, can teach so much. I’ve seen tremendous benefit in one week; I think others would see the same.

All in all, your athletes will probably face an injury. Your Coaches might, too. I’m sure you have, Affiliate. So then the question becomes, what will you learn from it?

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.