Listen to Your Body and Know When to Rest

 

Listen to Your Body

 

      For years I have thought, “more is better’ in many aspects of my life-especially in the gym.  An hour of weight training…two hours of cardio every day…hey if I could do that, why not bump it up to more?” I would tell myself some days.  Many days I would go home mentally and physically exhausted -to the point I would even be too tired to shower and have no energy much less patience for my children.(I realize the shower part is probably a little TMI, but hey if you know me, then you know that I like to keep it real!) I needed to take my own advise and listen to my body.

 

      I would and still do tell my clients to listen to their body….don’t do it if it hurts…take a day of rest or maybe even two; meanwhile for years I did just the opposite. I have always been able to push through the pain with an adrenaline rush and Aleve or maybe my supermom powers, (I like to think I have super powers…a girl can dream right?) until recently.  The stuff hit the fan…..that is a nice way of putting it…..my body said ENOUGH!

 

      It’s funny to look back on now, because the day before my body “was talking” to me. I woke up and I felt as if I had been hit by a transfer truck.  I hurt and ached all over. I thought to myself I need to skip the hardcore stuff and be nice to my body with a little Group Centergy or Yoga.  But then the hard headed part of me thought better and overruled my rational self.  Oh no, I didn’t take it easy, my mindset would not let me skip a tough workout.  Well, like in a NASCAR race, because I didn’t check the engine….I stalled out. I sprained my knee the very next day doing nothing but stepping to the left.  I literally could not move and could barely walk.

 

      Since my knee sprain occurred, I have dealt with a plethora of emotions like any normal human being would if something debilitating happened to them.  I was mad, I was angry, I was jealous, I felt sorry for myself, I sat around and drank lots of wine and ate junk food and then felt even worse about myself.  This cycle repeated for about two weeks and 8 added pounds!  I woke up and realized this injury could be a positive thing; yes a positive thing! This injury was my wake up call! I had been over-training and overextending my body for so long, and it was time to stop killing myself!

 

      Now you might be wondering, “Am I over-training? Am I over-extending myself and my body?”  Every individual is different in this aspect.  What one person may consider a light workout, another person might view as overreaching their limit.  The amount of training that is right for you is individual to you and is based on many factors.  These factors include genetics, experience with training, and life inputs including sleep, diet, and overall stress in your life.  If you have not slept in a few days because of your precious bundle of joy or joys, or you have been dealing with extra circular activities or endless deadlines at your high pressure job, a high intensity workout might do more harm than good.  A car needs various things maintained to run properly and so do we!  Some weeks are better than others, so some weeks you might find you can do more-some weeks you might need to rest more, and here is the magical thing that I have learned…..THAT’S OK!!!!!!!!!  Fluctuations occur and the main thing to do is to listen to your body. ( I am telling myself this and believe it or not, I am doing it!)

 

       With all this being said, I have compiled a list of signs that perhaps you are over-training.  It is important to be aware of the symptoms and to be on the lookout when your body is telling you it needs more rest.

 

 1. Excessive Soreness, Aches and Pains
        It is absolutely normal to feel a bit of soreness and fatigue after a good workout, but when soreness becomes aches in your joints and pain throughout the body….you might need to tone it down a notch.
2. Change of Appetite
        Are you so tired you aren’t even hungry?
3. Sluggishness and Overly Tired
        You might be over doing it if you have absolutely no energy and can’t shake off that sluggishness feeling
4.You dread workouts, but you are scared to take a rest day.
        You are tired, sore,hurt and don’t even want to eat, and the thought of doing that spin class has you feeling even more miserable….but you go anyway….yea….you might be over-training.
5.You have hit a plateau
    You working out hard and are not seeing any change or any gains…..you might be over-training….your body is TRYING to tell you!

 

These are just a few things to be on the lookout for if you feel you might be over-training. Remember everyone is different and every body is different!  Remember listen to your body!

 

Written by: Wendy Cotham