Thad and I were out to dinner the other night at a restaurant where we know the chef pretty well. She came out to say hello and asked us how we were doing. We both replied “Great!” her response was the following, “You guys don’t look great for being great, you look tired, strong, but tired.” We proceeded to laugh about it, as we both had been up since 5AM and it was now 8 PM aka “dinner time.” She told us something that has stuck with Thad and me every day since then. She told us to “Be the Cat.” She said that every few days you need to act like a cat. Lay around, eat some food, take a nap, lay in the sun, chase some things around, take another nap, stretch, eat again, repeat. Our conversation with her ended with the following statement, “Be the cat, cuz you two look like shit.” We both laughed hysterically, but it’s so TRUE. We burn the candle at both ends and its really evident in our faces at the end of a long day. I thought about your faces when you come into the gym and feel you all need to hear the same statement.
“Be the cat, because your workouts are shit.”
In the gym people get very focused on results, and results RIGHT NOW. People also think that they will get lots of results the MORE they do. In our three years of CrossFit we have seen that this is fallacy. More is not better, more is just MORE. More work, more strain on your body, more chance for injury, more fatigue, and you doing more always means LESS recovery. Recovery is the linchpin that holds the whole system together. You come to the gym, break down your muscles, go home and REST and REBUILD those muscles, get stronger, repeat. But most of us never rest! Our days “off” turn into stress filled days at work, crappy eating habits, and not sleeping because we take our cellphones into bed with us! OR we decide that a rest day, is an hour long run, followed by a QUICK 50 burpees for time, just because we feel obligated to do SOMETHING. This is not helping you, you are setting yourself up to fail! If you feel beat down, exhausted, cranky, chronically SORE, and basically down in the dumps, it is time to “Be the Cat.” But what if you feel great working out all the time and never resting?! That’s awesome! But that will change! You cannot continually demand, and punish your body without large consequences. It may take time, but it WILL HAPPEN, unless you “Be the Cat.” Take a couple days off a week, and do NOTHING. Read a book, go to bed early, eat dinner before 8 pm, but whatever you do, don’t exercise! And on that day off remind yourself, that THIS is where you get stronger.
So if you find yourself running from place to place in life, and feeling completely overwhelmed, tired, sore, etc, HONOR those feelings, and GO HOME, sit on your couch, take a nap and BE THE CAT!