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Canipe Correspondence – Being Hard Enough to Be Lazy

Laziness is pretty much the scourge of America these days. People want all the benefits of hard work without, well, the hard work. There’s one circumstance I can think of that laziness pays dividends though, and in fact improves the gains of the hard work you just did. The rest day, which is often overlooked. I took a quote from the Gym Jones website a few years ago that stuck with me. I had been training with a partner for an upcoming multi-week event. I was in most likely the best shape I had ever been, knocking out a 1400+ UBRR score and a sub-2 hour 12 mile ruck time. Religious adherence to a great diet, never slacking on workouts. Unfortunately I fell into a trap of being overtraining and a week before the event I tore a tendon in the arch of my left foot on a Saturday morning, which pretty much sidelined me for nearly 6 months. That one stupid rest day I decided to cram a little extra work into caused career implications that haunt me to this day. One damned Saturday morning on Fort Bragg that I wasn’t smart enough to take a break. Like the song says, “If you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.” I promise you, you’re better off being smart and tough. Afterwards I found this:

Commenting on a disappointing performance at the 2010 World Championships Mark Cavendish said, “It takes balls to rest and do nothing and I didn’t have the balls.” The hard work is easy, but it takes courage to rest. In an era when everyone thinks that more and harder is better few are brave enough to step back, to tell friends, “I’m taking it easy today.” I can hear the jibes from here. But one of my maxims is, “when in doubt, rest” and I admonish with it frequently.

The T-Shirt Gym Jones sells sums it up with “don’t do the work if you don’t have the balls to rest.” Recovery is a wonderful thing, it allows you to actually take full benefit of your hard work, mentally and physically. A lot of the high-stress activities we engage in are fatiguing. The body needs time to rest, rebuild, and prepare for another round of punishment. If not, it cannot grow to accommodate your workload. We plateau. We get complacent and lazy. We lose motivation. Exercise is a common example to relate to. You need to rest to build! Your body needs to heal to get stronger! When you break yourself off every day, you’re damaging yourself to a degree. Your body builds it’s capabilities to compensate for your workload. It needs the time to do that or not only will your results slow to stop, you’ll fall prey to injuries. Nobody wants to work that hard to flush it down the toilet on a strained muscle or torn tendon. One day of rest to save 6 months of cumulative work, or one more day of work for 6 months of rest…the choice is yours.

Plan rest into your activities. If possible, I like a 3/1 ratio of work/rest days on my training schedule. I use that for shooting, workouts, and other activities requiring a lot of physical activity or concentration. I know some animals that do 2/1 and still get by better than the rest of us. Get some sleep too. If you’re the guy that hits the bar or eats bad food “cause I worked out extra hard” today, it was all for nothing. A good night’s sleep is a rest day all its own for every day you’re on the job. Not only will a lack of rest and recovery stop muscle growth, but it will decrease your energy levels, and possibly testosterone production, and convinces your body to decrease muscle and store fat to feed itself. Don’t do the work and throw away the benefits.

Rest is important, arguably as important as the work you do to need it. Be man (or woman) enough to take that rest day when you need it. Plan on it! Don’t worry about your friends calling you a pussy. You’ll get to mock their “weak genes” when they’re on crutches or at the gym twice a day every day and can’t get any stronger.

Take it easy folks.

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5 Responses to “Canipe Correspondence – Being Hard Enough to Be Lazy”

  1. Sketchy_Endeavor says:

    Wise words. I swear I was just thinking the synopsis of this today. I’ve logged 47 miles in the last 3 days. With that said…

    I’m taking tomorrow off!!

  2. Rob says:

    Wise words that are are very hard to follow when youth and pride is involved.

  3. Jess Banda says:

    Great posting, in this age of extreme sports and “energy drinks,” ever believes them must go testicals-out 24/7/365. You don’t get stronger in the gym…you leave the gym in worse condition than you went into it…you get stronger when you’re at home/work…resting, eating good food and getting sleep.
    Thanks again!

  4. Dave the Rave says:

    Well said. In our community everybody laughs at the idea (wisdom) of recuperation. None of us are superman; every one of us lives within a body that can only do so much.

    My guys just got back from a long trip and 40% of them have injuries (some minor, some not) from exertion. One of our top-five short term goals is to heal, by letting our bodies have the rest that they need. Many of the guys thought I was being a pussy, but I’m sticking to it for the short term – when the injuries have healed the team will be more mission capable, not less.

  5. ODG says:

    There’s nothing smart about being Hard! Great post Jon.