When you think of Yin and Yang you think of balance. Light/Dark, Cold/Hot, Quiet/Loud, these are some examples we can think of that together will create balance. We do our best to create balance in our everyday lives but I think we could all (including myself) use some improvement in this area. I feel like a broken record talking about this guy, but check out this article from Max Shank on the Yin and Yang concept and how we can apply it to our lives. Whether you apply these principles strictly to your gym routine, or you implement them into your everyday life, finding a little more balance can provide many benefits.
From the moment we wake up to the moment most of us go to sleep, we are constantly barraged with stress and stimulation. This can come in the form of people, social media, financial obligations, the list can be endless for some of us. Its no ones fault, its a product of the environment that we live in. We need to be GO GO GO all the time or we won’t be able to get everything done that we need to. This causes us to live in a constant state of stress and feeling like we cannot get everything done. So why only add more stress into our lives with our workout program?
In CrossFit we love our intensity. We love to attack a workout, and at the call of TIME, we fall down in a sweaty heap knowing we gave that workout our all. That feeling is what gives us affirmation that we just put in some serious work, that we have increased our fitness! Rightfully so because these workouts push us to our limit on a regular basis. And I believe it is true, CrossFit will provide us with all the necessary intensity to maintain a high level of fitness. But just as in everything else we do in our lives, we need to achieve some balance when it comes to our workout regimen. We need more yin to our yang!
You wake to see you have 5 new e-mails, seven unread texts, and you haven’t set one foot on the floor! Stress. Whilst eating your breakfast you scroll through the Gram to see what you missed last night. Stimulation. You go to work and you’re dealing with co workers, clients, long lines at Philz, you encounter stress and stimulation everywhere! And to go blow off some steam you go to CrossFit and get after a 20 minute amrap and you feel muuuuuuch better. And while I would recommend working out to anyone and everyone, you have to also keep in mind, working out is stressing the body, especially high intensity programs like CrossFit. Now don’t freak out because this is how we get more fit! We stress the body so it will adapt, so we can avoid experiencing that stress again! I don’t think I have to give a detailed explanation of why having too much stress in ones life is a bad thing, and I think we can all agree we would like to be less stressed. Seeing that there are a lot of factors that add stress into our lives, it would seem that we should make room for some things that will help us combat this stress.
Finding activities that can help balance out your yin and yang does not need to be rocket science. It can be as simple as going for a nice cruise on a bike, going on post meal walk, or reading more instead of scrolling through social media. Things that allow you to unplug and get away from the everyday craziness are some of the best because we rarely get to do them anymore. In terms of gym specific activities it can be a post workout cool down on the bike or rower, doing some light accessory work while focusing on breathing, or doing an extra ten minutes of mobility. The benefits of adding this practice into your gym routine is that it can help your recovery and in turn improve your overall fitness. Just taking a little bit of time to combat our hectic and stressful lives can go a long way. As said before, it doesn’t need to be anything extravagant, just a little something to bring some more balance to your life!
When was the last time you spent an extended period of time devoid of external stress or stimulation? The fact that you have to think about it is a pretty good indicator that it does not happen very often. Even implementing just one of these strategies is better than none. Do not feel restricted to the above examples! If you have something that helps you destress then make more of an effort to do that!