When Less is More

I’ll be completely up front and start by acknowledging that this whole post might just be an elaborate excuse for skipping a tough, Saturday morning workout.  However, I’d like to think that it represents an important step that I’ve never been mature enough to take before.

I got up on Saturday morning as was excited to meet some friends for a CrossFit Hero WOD.  As I made my way through breakfast and getting dressed, I became increasingly aware of the tightness in my hamstrings and the soreness in my back and shoulders.  I’d already put in a solid week of training and my body was letting me know.  

Over the past month, I’ve worked hard at repairing a body that I’ve abused for most of my adult life.  Jeni totally nailed my Father’s Day gift and set me up with a four-week course through Gymnastic Bodies .  This endeavor is important to me for reasons that I discuss in a previous post about deliberate practice.  As a life-long athlete and former Special Forces soldier, my training has mostly consisted of crushing myself with long runs, heavy weights, and grueling endurance workouts.  From a physical standpoint, this regimen has its benefits.  I’ve built a big aerobic base, a high anaerobic threshold, and reasonably good strength.  But, it has all come at a cost.  My flexibility is a joke, and my poor range of motion is not only holding me back from peak performance, but probably setting me up for an injury.  Essentially, I’ve got a Camaro engine in a Cavalier chassis.

Back to Saturday morning.  I had my bag packed and was ready to head out the door, when I caught myself.  It occurred to me that while I was excited to spend time with my buddies and blow off some steam, I had no business doing the workout.  It just wasn’t what I needed.  The workout might have been good for my mental health, but my body absolutely wanted the rest.  So, I made the oddly uncomfortable decision to pass on the workout and take the day off.  I did get roped in to a very intense match of “slip cup” (an awesome combination of slip-n-slide and flip cup)…but that is a whole different story.  The competitive juices will always find their outlet somewhere.

When it comes to training for real results, sometimes less is more.  I know that I’m not the only weirdo that struggles with this concept.  Here are a few tactics that seem to help:

  • Remember that flexibility and mobility are serious factors.  If you really feel like you need to go train, spend an hour on this.
  • Have fun with other hobbies or sports.  Days off are the perfect opportunity to ride your bike, paddle your kayak, or go for a leisurely hike.
  • Make plans with friends to do something other than workout.  This will provide the social benefits of the gym without feeling tempted to grab a barbell.

I’d love to hear about your struggles and successes with this concept.  If you have any tips on overcoming the stress that is rest…send them my way.  Good luck and have fun!






4 thoughts on “When Less is More

  1. Definitely had issues with this. To the point that 2 a days were a norm and the fact that I use to hear my coach say, you have to train on a tired body. Huh?? But, honestly, I’ve learned as I’ve been aging that complete rest days need to be a part of the training regimen. You’re right, rest days can be kayaking, paddle boarding, taking a walk with friends….and I’m learning to LOVE yoga. Thanks for this great article! Good to know that even the elite such as yourself definitely identifies with the importance of recovery and practices that less is sometimes more…. 🙂


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