So last night was FRAN. For those of you that have no clue what this is, it is a crazy hard CrossFit Benchmark workout. It is intended to show progression for the CrossFit athlete. The video below is from a spectator at the 2012 CrossFit Games of the last heat of Women in the Games. FRAN = 21 Thrusters, 21 Pull-ups; 15 Thrusters, 15 Pull-ups; 9 Thrusters, 9 Pull-ups. The prescribed weight for the women is a 65lb bar bell. The reason that FRAN is such a bitch is, that it is generally a very heavy weight (not everyone uses 65lbs), it works every single muscle in the body, and you are intended to do it as fast as you possibly can.
Timer starts and as soon as I do my first thruster, I realize that I will not be able to string them together like I can with 55lbs (red flag). I complete 21, one at a f&*$ing time. I complete 21 pull-ups (no band). I start the round of 15 thrusters and am completely, I mean completely toast, after 5 reps. In my head my choices were to stop altogether or take 10lbs off the bar in order to finish. Thankfully my trusty Gal Pal, Courtney was my partner and helped me take the weight off. I proceeded to finish the workout with 55lbs and it took me over 13 damn minutes!! I hate you FRAN.
- Do not let your ego override common sense! - As much as I wanted that (Rx), I knew deep down that 65lbs would be pushing it (pun intended). I let the buff one push my buttons!
- That I have more balls than I thought! - I am usually a fairly timid and nervous individual. I absolutely hate to fail, so sometimes instead of pushing myself I choose to take the safe road in order not to fail. This is an area that CrossFit has definitely helped with, it has fostered a sense of competitiveness/longing to get better, that I've never had before.
- I am stronger than I thought! - I had never tried FRAN and was proud to have completed 21+5 reps of the thrusters with the 65lb bar. I also did my last round of 9 pull-ups, when I felt like all of my muscles were gooey, melty, laffy taffy, ALL in a row. I wanna give my girl Courtney a shout-out who also did her last round unbroken!! Shout-out Courtney!!
- I learned what to work on until the next time FRAN decides to show up! - I will step up my front squat game to 65lbs. I will keep FRAN in mind when we push-press in the future (Front Squat + Push-Press = Thruster).
Overall impression of FRAN... I have never felt that level of defeat before, but she left me wanting more!!
Getting into shape, whether your motivation is to look sexy in your birthday suit, to run a marathon, or to finally be able to see your toes, has many moving parts. One of the important moving parts is rest and recovery. Overall, your body needs rest to recuperate and grow from all of your hard work.
As you workout your muscle fibers are being broken down and proper recovery and rest days are necessary to give them time to rebuild. If you neglect taking rest days, you run the risk of continuously breaking down your muscles, which is the opposite of what everyone wants.
Now, what exactly do I mean by rest? Technically, research states that having 24 hours/rest days between working out the same muscle groups (back, chest, legs) is necessary for adequate recovery. However, you do not have to have days where you do not work out, you just have to know how to finagle your workout plan. For instance, if you were to workout at 6am on a Thursday morning and then "rest" until your 6pm Friday evening workout, your body will have had 36 hours to rest. This way, you OCD'ers wouldn't have to take a complete day off. Voila! Everyone that hated the words Rest Day, can now relax.
*** Please remember that rest days do not have to mean doing nothing. I recommend being active everyday of your life!!! Feel free to set up a game of sand volleyball or go for a bike ride. Activities such as a short jog & stretching, yoga, swimming, and tai chi are all forms of active recovery and work great on your rest days.
Signs that you need a Rest Day
Signs you need a rest day:
- Decreased Performance - Not reaching your goals, despite working out like an animal.
- Serious Mood Changes - Unusual states of depression, anxiety, or anger. When your body is fatigued and over-stressed, it releases the same hormones that are released when you're emotionally stressed.
- Persistent muscle soreness - Soreness that last longer than normal.
- Fatigue - This can lead to injuries. If you are trying to get through your 6th tough workout of the week and your body isn't on the same page, injuries can occur. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!
- Fat gain - When your body is stressed, it thinks something is wrong so it releases a hormone called cortisol, which tells your body to hang on to fat cells. Your body goes into survival mode and hangs on to fat to "survive". Again, this is the opposite reaction that we want from exercise.
- You keep getting sick - Too much exercise, combined with not enough rest can overwhelm your immune system.
Moral of the story "Always let your BODY be your guide!" (Sung to the tune of the Pinocchio song).
Since this post is long enough I am going to give you some links to other great information on rest and recovery:
Post on CrossFit Rockwalls Website - Great way to track your exercise and the idea of a Half-Intensity Week.
About.com's After Workout Recovery Tips - These tips can help to lesson the effects of daily exercise.
The title of this post is from a really great book called "Fitness is Religion". It was published in 1997, but most of the principles and ideas in it are still very relevant. Let me know if you wanna borrow it!!
Video below is of Kyle Maynard, who was born with congenital amputation of the forearms and lower legs, kicking FRANs ass. I will think twice before bitching about this workout again!