Rest Days and Getting Out of the Gym to Avoid Burnout
Scott Panchik is a household name in the CrossFit community.
Since starting his competitive career in 2012, he has competed as an individual at the CrossFit Games nine times and recently competed in the 35-39 division, where he grabbed a fourth place finish. His incredible success on the sport-side makes it easy to forget that he’s owned a successful affiliate for over a decade.
In a recent post on his instagram, Panchik addressed the topic of burnout in CrossFit. This is something that is relevant to both elite competitors and everyday affiliate members. To dive deeper into the post, Morning Chalk Up’s Managing Editor, Joe Genetin-Pilawa spoke with Panchik to learn more about what he does to help his affiliate community stay healthy, motivated and passionate about training.
At Panchik’s affiliate, they don’t program workouts on Thursday or Sunday. They use HybridAF, which allows members 24 hour access to the gym. This gives people the opportunity to come in and make up a day they missed, but the gym only puts out five workouts per week.
Panchik encourages people to dedicate a day each week to things like hiking, swimming, biking or pickleball. These activities will all lend to overall fitness development, but get you out of the gym and doing things you can’t do in a class.
Panchik also recommends that gyms organize or participate in workouts outside of the normal class schedule. CrossFit Mentality has done track workouts, which helps get different class times together and cultivate a stronger community.
They’ve also done things like a “Pump and Run,” where members did bench press followed by a 5K. The possibilities are endless, but the message is clear — break the monotony of regular training and celebrate the fitness you’re building in the gym.
The bottom line: Panchik has his hands in all aspects of the CrossFit community, being one of the world’s fittest athletes for over the last decade, while simultaneously running a successful affiliate in his community. His advice is so valuable because he is able to pull from his personal experience as an elite professional, while also drawing from his background as a coach and gym owner.
It’s very easy to blur the lines between CrossFit the fitness program and The Sport of Fitness, so this is an excellent reminder to keep priorities in check. Get outside, play sports, hop on a bike or go for a swim. Take rest days and bring your best on the days you are coming to train at the gym.
Saturday is Veteran’s Day, our national day of gratitude to those who have served in our country’s military. Veteran’s Day is always bittersweet for me. I appreciate the gratitude of our Nation, and all of my personal friends, family and acquaintances, and yet, I am often sad on Veteran’s Day.
Not long into my enlistment in the US Marines, in the summer of 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Within a few months I found myself, at the tender age of 19, disembarking a transport plane, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the Saudi Arabian dessert. I was immediately issued 4 magazines full of 5.56 mm ammunition for the M16 rifle I carried. From the moment I stepped off the plane, until the moment I departed for home, my M16 rifle and my M40 gas mask were always on my body. It was folly to be without them.
My military occupational specialty was aircraft firefighting and rescue. I served on a team that, when a plane or helicopter crashed, extinguished the fire and rescued the crew. We were busy in Desert Storm. We had all manner of flight line emergencies. We had A-10s make emergency landings with hung ordinance, AH-1 Cobra helicopters barely make it back because they were so shot up with small arms fire, and we had a spectacular mishap when a Saudi Arabian helicopter taxied into the wing of a C-130. It was a busy time.
The saddest duty I pulled during the Persian Gulf War was providing fire support for the mobile medical unit. Our base of operations was the furthest north air field and combat hospital, and nearly every wounded Marine, soldier, airman, and seaman was triaged and treated there. Once they were stable enough for transport, they were sent to a major military hospital in Germany. Our job, was to make sure no fires started on the plane or on the airfield, and that no terrorists drove by while the injured were being loaded onto the plane.
My heart broke every time a litter with a wounded serviceman was loaded onto the plane. Most were severely burned, and many had lost limbs. While our war was short, those that fought on the front lines got hammered in their tanks and light armored vehicles by mortars and RPGs.
I will never forget these brave wounded men. This is why Veteran’s Day makes me sad, it is an all day reminder of those cold nights and sandstorm raging days when I stood on the airfield, with my hand-line, ready to extinguish fires, or turn the firehose towards an unknown vehicle traveling too fast in our direction.
Surviving a war and coming home can be difficult for many. It was for me.
Next week is Honor Week. Honor Week is our way to honor and celebrate the service of the veterans of our TSCF community.
One of the most significant challenges a veteran faces is the transition out of the military into civilian life. While we're in the military we are surrounded by people who share an experience. We are united by the mission. We speak a common language. We find humor in the morbid. We survive awful conditions through irreverence. When we get out we often feel adrift.
One of the ways that we bond and develop trust in the military is through physical fitness. It's the most basic method to measure up a teammate. Can they carry the load? Can they do the work? Can they hack the hard shit? If they can't we know with certainty that we can't trust them. They will be a non-hacker when it matters most. If they can, they will have our trust. Even if we don't like each other, we will work together to get the hard shit done.
This kind of bond is almost non-existent outside of the military. No where else in my life since getting out have I ever had to earn someone's trust by doing hard physical things. Likewise, I struggled to learn how to trust folks because I didn't have a metric that I could use. I didn't have an instant community of people who knew how to do hard things. I floundered and wondered for years how I would ever find a group of folks with whom I could bond through a shared intense experience.
My first CrossFit class, in March of 2010, kicked my ass in a way it hadn't been kicked since the Marine Corps. I looked around and saw all kind of folks leaning into hard work. I saw men and women finishing a hard workout in a pool of sweat on the floor. Then I saw them get up and ask for more. I finally found my people.
This shared intense experience was so powerful to me it's one of the reasons I opened True Spirit CrossFit. While it's a great place for you and your friends and family to get healthy. It's the place where I learned how to trust in people again. It's the place that after being out of the Marine Corps for over 20 years I have finally created a community of veterans that I actually WANT to hang out with. I'm so happy to know all of you. I am so grateful for the Navy, Army and Air Force veterans who make our gym so fun. Thanks for helping my learn how to be a better human.
Honor week ends with the Hero workout CHAD on Saturday, Nov 11. Chad is a charity workout to raise funds for the Step-up Foundations. Please click on the image below to register for Chad and to donate to the Step-up Foundation.
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