Ever wonder why when you go on vacation, enjoy yourself and you come back and feel like your bod is looking good? Well apparently this is the case for a lot of people. You know why? A little thing called rest days. You trained and trained yourself into the ground just to make it into that bikini and then guess what, your bod needed to repair in order to get where you wanted it to go in the first place! Now only if we could convince this of ourselves before the fact.
Here’s where the pot calls the kettle black. Guilty? Perhaps. I love to sweat. Hard and often. As a classically trained ballerina, my worth was in my physical ability, and that has left an imprint on my self expectations. But, it dawned on me the other day as I’ve been working with a few clients in the same predicament, that maybe just maybe we are overtraining ourselves to the point where our body is not the one we want at all and worse yet, it takes us away from the benefit that it is supposed to provide.Feeling great in our bodies! So I’ve been experimenting more with rest.
It’s hard to ignore. Fit is in. Strong is the new skinny. Fitspo and style running is where the media is focused right now. Yes, a welcomed change to what we may be used to seeing, waif-like and unhealthy…at least there is some embracing of health. But could all this attention also be dragging us down into the mud. Too much of anything, am I right?
I have always been a more is more person. A fact that has come to both benefit and haunt me. But when I love something I go full in. No different is my relationship with exercise. It has both saved my life and ruled my world. But there’s a fringe group in between these spots that is achievable, healthy and perhaps a whole lot better for you, body and mind nevermind your goals too.
We’ve always heard that exercise is healthy for you. FACT. But, have you ever heard that too much exercise can be unhealthy for you? If not, yes, yes its true.
So what happens to our body when we overtrain?
- Increased Cortisol and heightened Stress
- Increased Inflammation, which in turn means more of the above
- Slowed Metabolism
- Increase risk of injury
- Higher amounts of free radicals. Yes free radicals, the stuff that you exercise to get rid of, in excess can actually create more.
- Adrenal Fatigue
What do all these things spell out to you? Well it could be a few, but the sum of parts, as you may calculate, is definitely not feeling good. If you looked at the list it reads out, stress, weight gain, anxiety, and injury. Yes…I did say weight gain. It IS possible that you are sabotaging all your efforts by putting out more than you have in store. Doesn’t seem fair ya?
So you see it is a tightrope walk, and yes that means trial and error. I guess the point that is important for me to make is that when we get away from the true meaning of why we are exercising it’s yet another aspect of that intuition we are losing. The less intuition we have in our body means the more we are getting away from that body we were after in the first place.
So maybe we push ourselves, I think this is very important. But maybe that push is also saying it’s time to take a break.
Last point, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say, but for some reason we ALL keep forgetting, our bodies are all different. With different abilities, boundaries, shapes, muscles, strengths and weaknesses. We can always improve upon where we are at, but we cannot change who we fundamentally are. If this is your driving force behind your work, it may be time to reexamine what works for you. Until then…
Sweat, rest and repeat. Thats a good formula. Rest being the operative word.
A few tips on refueling AFTER training to help you recover and move on
- Tart red cherry juice – incredible for recovery
- Stay Hydrated. Your muscles need hydration in order to function
- FIll up on protein and carbs. Think energy and muscle repair
- Magnesium! This is the rest and relax mineral that helps your body recover. Dark Chocolate anyone?