The Psychology of Rest Day
Yesterday was my third Insanity rest day. I’ve always had a pretty tight relationship with rest days. I loved doing CrossFit because of the 3-on, 1-off schedule. It was nice to know that, Yes! I can go to dinner with you tomorrow. It’s rest day.
Insanity rest days are only on Sundays. And by Sunday, I NEED a rest day. But it’s weird. In the morning, it feels strange to not work out. I get up, drink some coffee very slowly, take my dog to the park and play fetch at a leisurely pace. Something’s missing! Why am I not rushing to work out this morning? Why am I not psyching myself up to kick some ass?
And then, around midday, I really get into rest day. I revel in the fact that I don’t have to do ANYTHING else today. I stretch a little, lay on the couch, tend to my herb garden, putz around the house, never breaking a sweat. I forget that it’s rest day and that I’ll be back to kicking myself in the ass again tomorrow. I forget the grunting and the sweating and the way Fuck You Shaun T sounds gurgled when I say it when I have sweat in my ear canal. I eat without analyzing the contents to make sure I have enough protein to refuel my overtaxed muscles. The pain of the previous 6 days melts away, and when I realize, around dinner time, that I’ll have to do it for another 6 days starting tomorrow, it breaks my heart a little.
Monday morning inevitably rolls around, and it’s not rest day anymore. It’s the first day of a 6-day tour of working out. It’s really, really hard. By Tuesday, I’m into it again, almost dreading rest day because working out feels so good. But Monday morning really wreaks some havoc on my willpower. Can’t I have one more day of rest? What is this thing you want me to do? This, working out? Never heard of it. Seems strange to me. What is this sensation of wearing cross trainers? They feel like snow boots.
Why does rest day mess with my head so much? I really do love working out, working up a sweat, pushing myself. Why does a 24-hour break from all that make me dread it so? I know we all struggle with it. We all at some point in our lives dread working out like we dread traffic court, EVEN THOUGH we all know that once it’s over, we’ll feel like a million dollars. So how do you cope? Part of my quest for balance means that I’ll look forward to working out, that I’ll conquer the dread. Does anybody ever really get there?