Rest Day v. Active Recovery Day

As you roll over in bed to press the snooze button on your alarm, a quiet groan escapes from your lips. Every muscle in your body hurts, even muscles you didn’t know existed, and you think to yourself, ‘What did I do?’ You do a quick review of the past week’s worth of workouts and quickly realize that you haven’t had a day off for a couple of weeks. It hits you: ‘maybe it’s time to take a rest day’. 

It can often be difficult for athletes to convince themselves that they need to take a day off every once in a while. Sometimes taking a rest day makes them feel like they are going to get behind their peers training-wise or maybe taking a rest day is difficult because you feel sluggish or lethargic the day after when you come back to the gym. Whatever the reason, it’s important to give your body rest, whether that’s with a complete rest day or through an active recovery day. In order to decide which one is best for your body, let’s take a look at what these two different recovery days look like and their benefits.

Taking a rest day does not mean that you have to sit on your butt all day and remain immobile. This is actually a common misconception about rest days: you have to act like a couch potato. This is not the case. When taking a rest day, you can still participate in your normal, daily activities such as going grocery shopping, cooking in the kitchen, etc., but you should avoid doing more rigorous activities like yard work, cleaning the house, etc. The objective of a rest day is to boost mental and physical recharging. This occurs when you provide your body with enough time to rebuild and replace what’s been lost throughout the week – muscles, fluids, mentality, etc. During your rest days, you should place more emphasis on sleep, which is extremely important to the recovery process. Getting a couple extra hours of sleep and reducing one’s activity level can go a long way to keeping the body, and mind, healthy.

An active recovery day differs from a rest day in that it does involve some sort of physical exertion outside of your regular day-to-day activities. Active recovery is anything low-intensity that still causes you to break a sweat, but doesn’t leave you collapsed on the floor gasping for air. Active recovery activities should leave you feeling better than you did before and ready to tackle the next day’s workout. Therefore, avoid anything that will ramp up your heart rate or leave you with aching muscles. Some possible activities include: taking a long walk, going for a slow jog, or riding your bike. 

So, how often should you take a rest day and/or active recovery day? It is best to try to schedule at least one active recovery day and one rest day per week. A common weekly schedule followed by many elite CrossFitters is to hit their workouts hard Monday-Wednesday, take an active recovery day on Thursday, hit their workouts hard again on Friday and Saturday, and then take a full rest day on Sunday. Of course, this depends on your schedule, but it gives your body time to recover after several days of intense training so that you can finish out the rest of the week strong. 

Sources:

https://www.openfit.com/difference-in-rest-days-and-active-recovery

https://www.crossfitinvictus.com/blog/active-recovery/

 

30 Minute Butter Chicken Meatballs

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Servings: 6

Calories: 212 kcal

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 T. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 can (14 ounces) full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup plain greek
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • steamed rice and naan, for serving

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Add the turkey, egg, bread crumbs, and a pinch each of salt and pepper to a bowl. Coat your hands with a bit of olive oil, and roll the meat into tablespoon size balls (will make 15-20 meatballs), placing them on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are crisp and cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes or until fragrant. Add the garlic and ginger, cooking another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir in the garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the tomato paste, coconut milk, and 1/2 cup water. Stir to combine, bring the sauce to a boil, cook 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Stir in the yogurt and butter. Add the meatballs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.
  6. Serve the meatballs and sauce over bowls of rice with fresh naan. Enjoy!

Source: https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/30-minute-butter-chicken-meatballs/

Kipping it Real with Ricardo!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. January’s Athlete of the Month is Ricardo Perdomo. Ricardo was chosen because ever since he made the transition from Bootcamp to CrossFit, he has started coming to CrossFit classes 5-6 times per week; he continues to push himself in every workout; he has completed several workouts RX; he always brings a positive attitude to class and rises to the challenge of conquering movements that he doesn’t like or that are difficult for him. His hard work is paying off and we love having Ricardo as a part of our OPCF community! Learn more about Ricardo below.

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? 6 months total: 2months of bootcamp and 4 months of CrossFit.

What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? Do you remember what it was? It was a Saturday morning bootcamp class and it kicked my butt, but I knew I wanted to sign up immediately. 

What has been your favorite workout so far? The first RX metcon I finished.

What is your favorite cheat meal? I have several but the one that stands out is fried chicken. 

What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? Anything with computers. I work for Carmax as a CXA II on the Transaction Support Team. 

What do you like to do outside of work? I draw, paint and love to spend time with my family. 

What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? Be consistent. Research the sport by looking at videos, podcasts, competitions etc. You will find great motivation in that and then listen to your body. When is time to slow down, slow down. You want to keep it fun.

What is your favorite/least favorite movement? Favorite: bear crawl; Least favorite: overhead squats 🤢🤮. 

What’s one Crossfit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? To do “Murph” (#scaled4life).

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? I’ve gotten stronger, faster and have more energy throughout the day.

What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? My blood pressure is normal now without medication. 

How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? I make it a priority.  It’s a lifestyle. Your health is important. 

What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? Travel to an Asian country and experience their culture.

The Magic of the Single Leg RDL

Going through a proper warm-up is essential for preventing injuries, moving well, and ensuring that your workout goes smoothly. Oftentimes, it can be difficult to write a warm-up that adequately prepares your body for the beating that is to come. One exercise that helps you get the most bang for your buck is the single leg Romanian deadlift (RDL). 

There are many reasons why this exercise is important and effective. It is an authentic single leg movement which means that it will translate over to other movements as well, such as running and cutting. This single leg movement also teaches you how to load and develop force through one leg, improve stability, and it targets the glutes and hamstrings which are often under-developed due to most athletes being quad dominant. When done correctly, this exercise can do wonders for building strength and increasing overall performance.

Even though the exercise looks easy enough to complete (see video below), there are several common mistakes that people often make when performing the movement:

  • Lowering instead of reaching – a common fault of athletes performing the single leg RDL is lowering towards the ground instead of reaching their foot back behind them. This fault causes the athlete’s lower back to round as they are trying to move the weight to the ground instead of using their hips (by hip hinging) to move the weight to the ground. To fix this, think about initiating the movement by reaching the sole of your shoe to a wall behind you or shutting the car door behind you when your hands are full of groceries. 
  • Uneven hips – when performing the RDL, the hips should stay level, which then allows the glutes to do the majority of the work. A common fault is letting the hip of the extended leg lift higher than the hip of the grounded leg as the weight is lowered to the ground. In order to fix this, pay attention to the grounded foot and make sure the entire foot is planted on the ground instead of rolling to the outside of the foot (on the pinky toe side). Secondly, think about placing the weight by the big toe of the grounded foot instead of lowering it in a straight line. 
  • Turning it into a balancing exercise – many people incorrectly assume that the RDL is an exercise to increase one’s balance. However, the RDL is actually an exercise to strengthen the leg and hip while also increasing one’s single-leg stability. Oftentimes, when fatigue starts to set in, athletes will start to lose focus and begin to look like a baby deer trying to stand up for the first time. Performing this movement correctly is extremely important so it’s ok to rest in between reps when you feel yourself starting to get shaky and to finish with both feet on the ground to ensure that you are maintaining control throughout the movement. 

RDL Video: https://youtu.be/Bbsz-I91wGI 

Sources: https://www.stack.com/a/why-everybody-botches-single-leg-deadlifts

Two Quick and Easy Meal Prep Recipes for When You’re in a Jam

It’s Sunday night. You have a jam-packed week and haven’t even thought about meal prepping. Panic starts to set in as the minutes keep ticking away. But have no fear! These quick and easy recipes will save you from a week of drive-thrus and take-outs.

Taco Seasoning
Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons Paprika
2 Teaspoons Black Pepper
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Onion Powder
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon

Combine all spices in a small container. Shake well and then add to the meat of your choice.

Crockpot Cashew Chicken
Ingredients:
1 3/4 lb. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (cut into chunks)
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 Peppers
2/3 Cup Cashews
Sauce Ingredients:
1/3 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce
3 1/2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Honey
2 1/2 Tablespoons Ginger
4 Cloves of Garlic
1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

In a small bowl, toss the chicken pieces with the corn starch, salt, and pepper. Heat oil in a large, non-stick skillet until hot, then add the chicken mixture and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Transfer lightly-browned chicken to a slow cooker and then add the peppers and sauce. Cook on low for 2-3 hours or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle cashews on top when ready to serve.

Kipping it Real with Janelle!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. December’s Athlete of the Month is Janelle Balarashti. Janelle was chosen because of her consistency and dedication to staying fit over quarantine this spring; she never lets an injury or soreness keep her from getting a workout in; she always comes to class with a positive attitude; she graciously accepts the coach’s feedback and implements it the best she can; and she is just an all-around super hard worker that is very inspiring! Her hard work is paying off and we love having Janelle as a part of our OPCF community! Learn more about Janelle below.

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? 1.5 years

What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? Do you remember what it was? “Oh my gosh, this is hard! Can’t wait to go back!”

What has been your favorite workout so far? No particular favorite but I like the RFT workouts best so that I know a specific number.

What is your favorite cheat meal? Tacos….all the tacos!

What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? I always wanted to be a teacher. Now, I work for The Family Conservancy on our Early Care and Education team. I’m able to take my passion for children and families and use it with early care and education providers throughout the metro. 

What do you like to do outside of work? I love to go hiking, lose myself in a good book, and always like trying a new recipe out for yummy, healthy dinners.

What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? Just keep coming back. Leah and the other coaches always have scaling options for if something seems impossible.

What is your favorite/least favorite movement? Least favorite movement is overhead squat….definitely room for improvement there! Most favorite movement is probably deadlift.

What’s one CrossFit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? One CrossFit goal for this next year is to finally be able to get a strict pull-up.

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? I’m definitely more self-confident and have a higher self-esteem. As I’ve gotten more fit (still so far to go!), I’m more comfortable in my own skin and more willing to take on new challenges and those things that just seemed impossible before now.

What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? My proudest accomplishment thus far is that I keep coming back, especially when I see a WOD and think “I’m going to be scaling every move, why bother”. Those are the days that I make myself go and feel so much better for doing it.

How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? I deliberately block time off on my family and work calendars each day so that I make sure I am taking care of myself and my own self-care needs.

What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? I’ve always wanted to do a family hike up Pike’s Peak, hopefully in the next couple of years.

Kipping it Real with Cameron!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. November’s Athlete of the Month is Cameron Osburn. Cameron was chosen because of his willingness to prioritize good movement patterns and technique over lifting heavier weights. His work ethic is very evident in the way that he continues to push through workouts even when it gets really hard. He never gives up and always tries his best. His hard work is paying off and we love having Cameron as a part of our OPCF community! Learn more about Cameron below.

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? Since October 2019, I believe. I’d been talking to my former coworker/now boss about CrossFit for a few months before coming in. He used to coach at a CrossFit gym in Olathe. He spoke very highly of his experiences and so I finally decided to jump in.

What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? Do you remember what it was? My first class was a Saturday bootcamp class. I’m fairly sure it was Leah and Cody coaching. I thought the first workout was tough, but it was what I was looking for as far as getting into CrossFit.

What has been your favorite workout so far? I enjoy any workout that has heavy lifting in it. Building to a 1RM, especially when I’ve been working on that particular lift for a few weeks, and then seeing the progress is usually a mental boost. Plus, I honestly like those lifts.

What is your favorite cheat meal? I don’t really have a cheat meal; more like cheat snacks. Graham Crackers or Nutty Bars are currently the cheat snacks of choice and I don’t keep those in the house unless I’ve done something good.

What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? At one point, I really wanted to be a pharmacist. Then I got to college and figured out I didn’t like Chemistry that much. I work at Garmin in Olathe as an Industrial Engineer, supporting improvement projects and the warehouse systems in the Distribution Center.

What do you like to do outside of work? I’m a homebody (especially right now) so I spend most of my time outside work with my wife and children. I enjoy watching sports, cooking shows, and any bingeable streaming shows. Recently I’ve been into cooking Thai and Indian style food and always love a good cup of coffee and the occasional gaming session (Roonskie on Xbox and PSN).

What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? There are actually a lot of little things that helped me. I think my main bit of advice would be to just go to classes and trust the coaches. Don’t stress about times or max weight (but do track them so you can show where you started). Find the best class times for you, make a schedule you can commit to, then come in and do the workouts. Once you get into a good rhythm, you can start stacking things like nutrition and setting new goals, but building the base starts with getting in the door first. The coaches are there to help with form and every OPCF coach has been great with constructive criticism and motivation.

What is your favorite/least favorite movement? Favorite: Deadlift – I’ve always felt once I started deadlifts seriously that they were the best for multiple reasons. Lease Favorite – Any and all versions of Snatch lifts. They are the only lifts that I’ve done in CrossFit that scare me. I’ve been going lighter on those for this reason and also to make sure that I hammer home form to gain confidence. I want these to become a favorite instead of a least favorite.

What’s one CrossFit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? My goals: Bench/Deadlift/Squat 1RM total over 1000 again, and 1 strict pull-up with near perfect form.

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? Generally lifting and working out help me mentally and with everything going on, which has been the biggest change.

What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? I feel like I’ve seen the biggest improvements in my conditioning and endurance when lifting and going into the metcon. I’ve gotten more confidence to go a bit heavier during the workout to where I’m not as worried about being gassed during the metcon.

How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? For me, I had to shift my personal schedule to include the 5:30 AM class (Shoutout to the Zero Dark Thirty group!). This provided me with the best way to fit working out into my schedule while not negatively impacting how my wife and I balance our lives at home. Plus, working out first thing in the morning helps me feel more energetic through the rest of the day.

What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? I’ll answer this in 2 ways: for a long time I’ve wished I had some kind of higher level artistic skill like playing piano or painting. Otherwise, I haven’t traveled to England/Europe or Japan, and both of these are trips I’d like to take.

Kipping it Real with Kara!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. October’s Athlete of the Month is Kara Schweigel. Kara was chosen because every day she shows a willingness to do whatever it takes to improve her technique (she asks the coaches questions on how she can get better at different things); she is happy to accept feedback and try to implement it the best she can; she are very positive and always tries her best! Her hard work is paying off and we love having Kara as a part of our OPCF community! Learn more about Kara below.

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? I’ve been coming to OPCF since June. I was a member of another KC Crossfit gym for several years before moving to Overland Park.

What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? Do you remember what it was? I remember feeling happy to be back to working out after a forced quarantine break, but also that I was going to be sore.

What has been your favorite workout so far? I like the Hero workouts. I know they’re going to be super challenging, but finishing them feels so good.

What is your favorite cheat meal? Tacos and a margarita

What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? I was (still am) an animal lover and wanted to be a vet when I was little. I definitely didn’t go the med school route, but instead I work in compliance for a pharmaceutical software company.

What do you like to do outside of work? I love being with my family; my kids are busy with sports, which means I’m busy cheering them on. I also enjoy running, reading, and baking.

What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? Keep showing up, especially on the days that the workout scares you. Don’t be afraid to scale and ask the coaches questions; they’re always happy to help.

What is your favorite/least favorite movement? I really like rowing and anything with a barbell. Burpees and the assault bike are THE WORST.

What’s one Crossfit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? I’d like to get double-unders and work towards a pull-up.

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? My strength has improved, which is cool but so has my form. I love getting feedback from the coaches on how to be more efficient, how to lift more, etc.

What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? Showing up consistently, especially when it’s a workout that I don’t think I’ll enjoy or be good at, is something I’m always proud of.

How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? I make it a priority by looking at my week and making sure I’ve blocked out an hour of my day to work out.

What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? I’ve always wanted to do a box jump, but they terrify me. I’ll get there though!

Kipping it Real with Bruce!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. September’s Athlete of the Month is Bruce Still. Bruce was chosen because of his dedication to attend every Bootcamp class, his willingness to work super hard, his ability to complete most of the movements with very few modifications, and he always has a positive attitude! His hard work is paying off and we love having Bruce as a part of our OPCF community! Learn more about Bruce below.

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit? I started bootcamp in April 2018.

What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? Do you remember what it was? I don’t remember the workout but I thought it seemed like a well-structured approach to fitness.

What has been your favorite workout so far? Any workout WITHOUT burpees.

What is your favorite cheat meal? Beef tips and noodles at RC’s in Martin City.

What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? From age 13 I wanted to be an orchestral horn player. I’m now retired from chiropractic practice.

What do you like to do outside of work? Road trips with my wife to visit our kids, working on cars, swimming, and symphony concerts.

What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? “Scale it” and keep going.

What is your favorite/least favorite movement? Well, of the 9 foundational CF movements, my favorite is deadlift. Old injuries/surgeries left me with ‘kinks’ in my kinetic chain so I usually have to modify the other 8 movements.

What’s one Crossfit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? I want to get a pull-up.

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? It’s easier going up and down stairs, old clothes fit better, and I have lower blood pressure.

What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? I did 2 toes-to-bar last week.

How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? CrossFit first, then other stuff.

What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? Snorkeling in St Croix or Maui.

Kipping it Real with Anna!

Each month Overland Park CrossFit recognizes a member who exemplifies our values and motivates others in the gym to push themselves with encouraging words. August’s Athlete of the Month is Anna Mollman. Anna was chosen because of her commitment to attending the majority of classes every single week, her willingness to learn new skills and accept feedback, her dedication during open gym periods to work on weaknesses, and the fact that she is a positive and joyful person to be around! Her hard work is paying off and we love having Anna as a part of our OPCF community! Learn more about Anna below.

How long have you been working out at Overland Park CrossFit?  I started working out at OPCF in July of last year.

What were your thoughts after your first CrossFit workout? Do you remember what it was? I don’t remember what my first CrossFit workout was, but I knew from that moment that CrossFit was something I really liked and would continue doing my whole life!

What has been your favorite workout so far? It’s hard to pick just one workout that has been my favorite, but I really enjoy the long chipper workouts that challenge me. One of my favorites was last year when I did murph unpartitioned.

What is your favorite cheat meal? Favorite cheat meal: cheesecake. If you eat enough in one sitting it’s definitely a meal.

What did you want to be when you grew up and where do you work now? I always wanted to work in healthcare so I could help people! I currently am a nurse at Shawnee Mission Medical Center. I spend my nights saving NICU babies!

What do you like to do outside of work? Outside of work I love being at the CrossFit gym, staying active, and going to breweries with my friends!

What advice would you give a newbie just starting at OPCF? The advice I’d give to a newbie starting at OPCF is to focus on small steps towards improvement and just have fun.

What is your favorite/least favorite movement? Favorite movement: FRONT SQUATS. Least favorite movement: strict anything.

What’s one Crossfit goal you have set for yourself to accomplish this next year? A CrossFit goal I’d like to accomplish this next year is ring muscle ups.

What changes have you seen in yourself since starting at OPCF? Since starting at OPCF I’ve noticed I’ve made a lot of progress in my technique in various CrossFit movements.

What is your biggest improvement or proudest accomplishment thus far? My biggest improvement is definitely my gymnastics. It’s still a work in progress, but before starting CrossFit I couldn’t do anything that required any gymnastics ability.

How do you fit working out into your weekly schedule? Fitting working out into my weekly schedule is easy because I make it a priority. I often plan my day around making it to the gym because it’s honestly the best part of the day!

What is something you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet? Something that I’ve always wanted to do is skydiving. I plan to do that by the end of the summer!