My September was bifurcated into extremes – one half filled with action and the other with reaction.
The first two weeks of the month were occupied by the Granite Games, which meant multiple CrossFit classes per week, one-on-one sessions with my coach to drill my Oly form and even a visit to my chiropractor. I prepped meals to bring to lunch at work and tried to keep hydrated. I was doing everything to actively prepare for a full weekend of competition.
The two weeks (somewhat even blurring into three) after the Granite Games have been all about deloading, decompressing and basically doing nothing. The first day after the Granite Games I was back at work but refused to stand unless I had to do. Forget my stand-up desk and my chiropractor’s advice, I wanted to just sit on my butt. The subsequent days were either occupied by client events (happy hours, Twins game, attending awards dinners), socializing (Oktoberfest, brewery tours), or cozying up in my leather chair with my feet up, a bowl of ice cream and begging out on TV.
Some blowing off steam was probably needed. I’ve been working 60+ hours per week at work for the past year and the whole summer was hitting the gym more than usual for me. The stress of the Granite Games and major work projects all came crashing together and my body was happy to be at rest. It hit me like a ton of bricks how tired I was. I could see other people from my gym who had competed via Facebook and Instagram were back at it after a week off. I barely wanted to move a finger.
The fact is that despite all my time in the gym training for the Granite Games, I wasn’t holistically taking care of myself. I wasn’t eating as clean as I should have, I wasn’t drinking enough water and I was certainly not sleeping enough.
Now the last three weeks have felt like a total regression. I was drinking more than usual. I was allowing myself plenty of cheat meals. I gained weight. And I had made my way into the gym a whopping total of four times in 20 days.
This past Saturday morning, we did a partner WOD at CrossFit Kingfield that involved 10 dumbbell thrusters, 30 feet of walking lunges with dumbbells and 10 hand release push-ups. We switched on and off for 12-minutes and despite the rest the WOD totally kicked my butt. I felt like I had lost my strength and my endurance in just three short weeks.
Now it’s time to do better. I’m figuring out exactly what my weekly training will look like but I realize that I have to be a lot more disciplined about life outside the gym:
1.) Water – My goal is 1 gallon of water per day. I am using the Water Logged app on my iPhone to track my intake. It helps me get in the right habit and reminds me to keep sipping water throughout the day. On Saturday night I even took a full water bottle with me to a friend’s BBQ. I happily avoided the sugary apple cider since I had my water with me the whole time.
2.) Sleep – 8 hours is the new rule. To encourage that I am getting off the computer and the TV by 9:30pm. That means I am laying down by 10pm and if I am not 100% ready to doze off, well I have a big stack of books that I accumulated over the summer that I can start making my way through.
3.) Mobility – My foam roller is now going to living on the floor in front of my TV. No more hiding it in the closet and thinking that I can get away with not stretching and rolling out. I am also getting back to yoga. I had been going once per week and in the last month or so it has completely fallen off the to-do list. There is a yoga studio just two blocks from my house and I am going on Tuesday to check it out and am going to fold it back into the routine.
This stuff is nothing new or revolutionary, but I was struck by a recent article on Barbell Shrugged by Kyle Smith who started it by writing, “The key to optimal performance is mastering and maintaining the fundamentals daily.”
He goes on to say, “There’s no point in training hard if you don’t sleep. None of that secondary stuff will matter. The very same thing is true for hydration.”
My body was speaking to me. It needed a break, but it also needed me to take better care of it so that my recovery time wasn’t so dramatic.
More sleep. More water. More gains.