When do you typically take a day off from working out? How do you know that your muscled are fatigued enough to merit a rest day? Or do you just stick with a system (ex. 3 on, 1 off)?
I have been told by a CF trainer that most athletes have enough glycogen stores that they don't necessarily need to take much time off to rest/recover. Thoughts?
Sometimes I exercise for three days in a row, and sometimes I will go a week without doing anything. I take it day by day and if I don't feel the 'drive' to work out I won't. For me I know when I need to take a step back because I get tremendously hungry and my sleep starts to suffer. I don't think there is anything wrong with working out multiple days in a row if you feel able to do so, as the majority of us probably don't exercise with the fullest intensity (not saying we don't put effort in, just that we don't completely obliterate ourselves every day).
Day off on weekends, with a 1/1 training/rest rythm. I tend to move that day around a bit each week, depending on my schedule / fitness level. I noticed that i only need one day of recovery on average (but this might also mean that i should up my weights :) ) ...
Anywho, glycogen stores are also heavily affected by fasting or a generally low carb lifestyle, so i tend to refeed after a workout. chronically depleted glycogen negatively effects my performance (only on heavy-duty exercise) ...
The best thing to do is to listen to your body Ben. I know, it's something that is thrown around a lot but it has been a very successful method for experienced exercisers. The answer to your question really depends on what you're doing, your goals, and age. I'm 31 and have been competing in crossfit for 3 years and I've finally figured out that more rest is typically better for my performance. I only dial up my frequency and intensity when I get closer to competition. I have found that I burn out if I try to smash workouts too often and too frequently. It's a good idea to have a system such as a 3 on 1 off, but be flexible with it. If you feel knackered going into a ball buster workout, then maybe take an extra day off. As far as the comment about glycogen stores and not needing rest, I wouldn't put much stock in that. Your body rips through much of your glycogen stores during the beginning of your workout, then relies on your fat storage to fuel the remainder of the stress. There is a heck of a lot more going on then just burning glycogen during an exercise effort.
The main way you know is by tracking your exercises and pushing yourself. You've got to record your exercises, reps, weights. Then compare your exercise sessions. If you've dropped in capacity, that'll help answer your question.
In re. the glycogen stores, that depends on the exercises you do and how intensively you go, as well as what you're doing to recover.
My recollection when I looked at the research way back when, for standard non-low carb'ing athletes doing optimal feeding (taking in sugar every hour or two throughout the whole time period), they regenerated their glycogen stores in 24-48 hours. It was something like 2% per hour (more in the couple hours after exercise, then dropping off). I didn't see anything on how long for low/no carb athletes.
You should record every workout. If you can progress quickly even past the beginner phase without any rest, tell yourselves "congratulations, I am a freak of nature."
Personally, I spent 6 months with crossfitfootball.com for the last year and due to injuries and being too beat down I started doing crossfitkc.com until work settles down a bit. No matter what, I squat at least once a week, do a full body lift once a week, and an upper body lift once a week. I then follow with a short metcon. You cannot squat,press,deadlift,etc. every day and expect to progress.
"I have been told by a CF trainer that most athletes have enough glycogen stores that they don't necessarily need to take much time off to rest/recover."
Honestly, I find this to be insane. People need to realize that training should not be a sprint, but a steady progression. No one wants to be running on empty all the time. You should be better at life because of training, not worse. I worked out for sometime at a crossfit "box" and it made me realize that my goals need to meet the goals of the gym. We all should set goals based on what you want, what you enjoy, what you can stick with.
I found this post to be enlightening for removing rest days: http://talktomejohnnie.com/crossfit-football/getting-rid-of-a-rest-day
I do one rest day every week, with a full rest week (from heavy workouts; I still bike commute and use a standing desk, but I don't consider that "exercise") every 8-10 weeks. Usually I don't feel like I need a rest day on the actual day, but if I skip it, I'll burn out halfway through the next week and need 2-3 days to recover. So it's more like a preventative thing. I always know when I need a rest week because I start feeling very exhausted with even a light workout, have to drag myself into the gym, and my knees get achey, even with knee braces/icing/all that jazz. So I take a week off and bounce right back into it.
It is really not just about glycogen stores. The body can perservere thru chronic trauma but prioritizes for base survival. So who cares if you're depressed or have no libido, at least you're alive.
There are various ways to test the nervous systems level of recovery. Autoregulaton, biofeedback, etc