"Getting used to soreness and more importantly, intensity is as much a skill as is learning the snatch."
As a beginner you need to have constant verbal contact with the coaches in your box. This will allow you to scale workouts to a level that feels right for you on any given day.
As an advanced athlete, the rules here are a little blurred. Especially when we are talking about competitive CrossFit athletes. In this instance lets stick to the beginner to intermediate CrossFitter, which will make up the majority of members in most boxes.
CrossFit is programmed with the expectation that you will be in the box almost every day. With this in mind, you will find that the programmed WODs will allow this as long as the principle of 'relative intensity' is applied.
This suggests that you, along with your coaches, have created an environment that allows you to move with purpose and intensity relative to your strengths and skill level on any given day.
Again, it's important to keep an open dialogue here with the staff so that they are aware of your goals and what you expect out of your CrossFit journey.
I am a big believer of the staff at your box writing their own programming, for many reasons, mainly so they can adjust the program in advance to allow for athlete adaptation.
The success of any program is measured by the result your athletes are getting.
If this is the case then the coaches taking your class can help you adjust and scale up or down the movements and weights of a workout to allow you to achieve relative intensity. The programming is important as they will know the workouts coming up in the programming and can advise you in a way that would allow you to come to every days WOD.
With the constant open dialogue with the staff at your box, and with their understanding of your goals and expectations with training, they will be asking you how you feel, how's your body going? etc. With the answers to these questions and the results from your workouts your coaches will be able to tell you when you are due for a rest day.
Traditionally CrossFit training was 3 days on 1 day off, 2 days on, 1 day off. This plan still stands true for a lot of people but it's always best to run it by the people watching you train each day. If your performance drops off, you're over tired or you have done a taxing WOD then it's a given, take a day or two to get yourself back together.
Remember, a rest day is not just a day you don't come to the gym. You should be actively making a conscious effort to rest, hydrate, de-stress, stretch/mobilise, eat well and relax.
It's in the recovery that you get the results.
We will cover more in depth, the way CrossFit works in relation the programming at a later date.
For now, start the conversation with your coaches and start paying attention to your body and what its telling you.
Train hard, recover harder.