Getting back in shape is painful. After the 307 Throwdown, I took the following week off, almost entirely. Then, when I got back into the gym, the focus was on lifting heavy things. I think this was mostly psychological. I needed a change. I couldn’t really call it a break. The people who bitch about Dayne’s training intensity haven’t spent any quality time with Russ calling the shots.

I’ve been doing an enormous amount of plyo and other high-intensity, high-impact training modalities. Jump squats at 370#? That sounds like fun. >50" depth jumps? Sure. Sign me up. Plyo ball pushups in a 60# vest? If that doesn’t destroy your shoulders, it’ll damn sure make them injury-proof. I would claim to be the creator of the Herring pushup. You set two weight plates far enough apart to do a pushup on them with your chest descending to a negative depth inbetween. Now, you set boxes atop the plates, set just a little wider apart, so your hands are still on the plates, but you are doing a pushup, walled-in by boxes, and you can then do a plyo pushup and spring your hands from the plates at the bottom, to the top of the boxes. Then, I’d free-fall back to the plates, do a negative-depth pushup, before springing back up to lockout atop the boxes. I think I made itto. sets of 5 at a 4" negative and 30" positive height.

It isn’t that I was taking a break, it’s that I was changing it up and taking a bit of a vacation from Dyer’s METCONs. I actually beat myself up pretty vigorously. I did a ton of squat variations, and I think I added north of 50# to my ass-to-grass back squat in this time. I finally woke up earlier this year and realized that my old powerlifting-style back squats had exceptionally poor carryover to anything other than the powerlifting-style back squats themselves. Specifically. They really only made that one thing better. Too wide to help a snatch or clean, bar too low to work the quads enough to carry over to a front squat. Crap.

Mentally, I needed a break from Crossfit.

Hypoxia is looming. Both the physiological state of being oxygen-deprived, and the competition in Butte in which we will experience that physiologic state. My body is pretty well-accustomed to getting the crap knocked out of it right now, but the engine could use a little tuneup. The nice thing about this, and something I’ve consciously acknowledged and planned for, is that the engine can be spun back up, so long as you haven’t gone totally “couch-to-5k”, in a relatively short period of time. Strength takes a while to build up, but cardiorespiratory fitness comes back pretty quickly.

This week I started the slog back into aerobic fitness.

The muscles are good, the joints feel pretty robust from the ass-kicking I put on them this fall, it’s just that the aerobic/lactate-threshold metabolism is in need of a nice reawakening.

I think El Capitan de los Weird Rodeo saw/knew/heard my plan and, not wanting his male teammate in Butte to be a total meathead slug, skewed the programming to kick me in the nuts as vigorously, and as repetitiously as possible. The hour METCON on Monday was repelete with fail. Tuesday’s workout should have been easy for me, until I realized that my grip endurance hasn’t been addressed at all for over a month. Quickly discovering that I could do little more than stare at the (light) bar I was supposed to be snatching, or the jump rope that I immediately found no control over, I was run over by a workout I should have dominated and was lapped, multiple times, by everyone in the gym.

Jebus. I may have misplayed my cards. I did an ego-check and told myself that this is going to be the state of affairs for a week or two. By Butte, I told myself, I’d be doing much better. It never feels good to have a workout wreck you, without any real hope of control over that on your part. It feels worse when you think you should have killed the workout and are instead left bleeding in the corner, gasping for breath and dying.

Imagine if I’d just taken the month off entirely? That is among the reasons that I’ve never taken more than several days of complete rest. Ever. There is a time and a place for complete rest — after Goruck, I needed some time. That weekend beat the piss out of me. My back was rigid and so inflamed that the chiropractor couldn’t coax the facets into moving. I had to take a week because I’d been turned into a walking 2x12. The rest period quickly transitioned into yoga and light aerobic work, however.

I’ve always viewed rest periods not as absolute rest, but as relative periods of mandatory cross-training. After Goruck, I did light cardio and yoga for several weeks until my body had recovered from what I did to it in Bozeman during 15 hours of circus tricks under very heavy loads. The Throwdown didn’t require quite as much recovery. Several days of nothing, before a light spinup in the latter half of the week and back to full activity 8 days following.

Where I’m going with this is — sometimes you need to switch it up. Sometimes you need to address your mental and physical well-being using a miscellany of modalities. A light jog may be what you need for a time, or perhaps yoga, powerlifting, olympic lifting, water aerobics or mountain biking. I accept complete rest as necessary, but only for very limited periods of time, and then only as integrated in a comphrensive recovery plan.

When absolute rest is required it sucks(!), but should be viewed as mandatory and begun without delay. When the body is needing and begging for a few days of nothing, you need to pay the piper. Now. You cannot dawdle. You cannot press through and you cannot defer. This is when you tend to really fuck yourself up.

Right?

There is a group of people reading this who know exactly what I’m talking about. You cannot press forward and defer the mandatory period of absolute recovery before entering the transitional period of light work and returning to full activity. The Universe will collect its dues, one way or the other. It’s best to accept it and get on with the show. The sooner one has paid the penance of total rest, the sooner you can get back to what you’d rather be doing.

The first week of being drug behind the truck, run over by the bus, *insert metaphor here*, of BTCF METCONs was brutal. I did not excel. The entire gym beat the hell out of me. It sucked.

Keep. Moving. Forward.

I have realized that, having finally gotten my body weight and composition in the neighborhood where I am pleased with, and accepting of it, I need to eat like a horse to keep up with what Dyer is throwing at it. The only way to have any hope of not being wrecked, both mentally and physically, is to keep the tank filled with 8 bazillion high-quality calories per day.

And I should probably quit drinking until Hypoxia…

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