Go hard or go home.
That’s what they say, isn’t it? But what does that really even mean?
To most people, it is a saying that communicates that we should always give 110%. It almost comes across as a sort of challenge – asking us to push ourselves to new limits, new extremes, and new breaking points.
However, while it is important to push in these ways, it is just as important “go home” sometimes too.
In fitness culture, the sky is the limit. With new and innovating training styles and mechanisms emerging on the daily, it becomes incredibly easy to become engulfed by the excitement of exercising harder every day.
Pushing to the extremes serves as a way to prove to ourselves that we are stronger than the day before, and if we aren’t, to keep us motivated to do better the next day.
While it is common for a lot of people to deprive their bodies of adequate rest that does NOT mean that it is the proper way to train. In fact, it can lead to a number of problems both physically and psychologically.
You want to “feel the burn” – not crash and burn.You want to 'feel the burn' - not crash and burn. Click To Tweet
So, what are the tell-tale signs of over-training?
1) During your exercises, you begin to experience a lot of tension and stress around the joints. Sometimes when we over train, our muscles become so tired that the working muscles redistribute the load to other muscles as means of compensation. Unfortunately, this can force us to falter in our form and technique, thereby causing tension in the wrong areas of our body and an excess amount of tension and stress in our joints.
2) Your muscles and internal organs begin feeling hot and inflamed. This can cause a lot of uncomfortable sensations like a dewy skin texture, excess sweating, hot flashes, and aversion to consuming food. Because the body continues to work even at rest, it is important to give it the time it needs to cool off, relax and digest. Otherwise, it will begin feeling like it’s working in overdrive to maintain all it’s regular functions and processes.
3) Digestion becomes uncomfortable, and food begins to sit heavier than usual. In severe cases, it can lead to a complete aversion to food. When our systems are too wound up, we psychologically begin rejecting food, despite that we need that food in order to sustain proper energy levels. This can cause varying degrees of psychological problems in relation to food, depending upon the sensations and emotions surrounding the consumption of food.
4) There is an inherent fear that you will lose everything you’ve gained if you stop. It is so easy to become addicted to our results and triumphs at the gym. If you’re experiencing exhaustion coupled with an anxiety around gaining weight, or losing muscle, chances are your body needs some rest. I like to think of it like this: every time you work out, pretend you’re punching little holes all over your body. Strength is built when our body is resting and recovering – refilling all the holes that we made during our workout. While long periods of intense exercise are a great way of challenging our bodies, remember to give yourself some recovery time either throughout the training period, or for a couple weeks following an intense training periods.
5) You are exhausted throughout the day, but completely restless at night. Even though you could fall asleep at any given moment throughout the day, as soon as your head hits the pillow, you can’t seem to get comfortable. Your body is so wound up that it will not sink into the bed and fall asleep. Not only that, but your mind is still doing jumping jacks. When we build up too much muscle tension and stress in the body, it becomes more and more challenging to come back down without stopping entirely. Adequate rest time between workouts ensures that the body is able to establish a proper cycle of work to recovery.
How to Heal from Over-training
1) Assure yourself that while this is an end to an intense training period, it is also a new beginning. Allow your body the time to rebuild its strength, energy, and enthusiasm for working out. Become excited for when you are prepared to work out again! Don’t see it as a setback – see it as a SET UP for your newer, more sustainable fitness habits.
2) Cut the CRAP. Meal replacements, supplements, pre-workouts, fat burners, muscle recovery supplements, enhanced protein powders, liquid carbohydrates – whatever it is that you take to get a good pump on, JUST STOP. Allow your body a break from these excesses and feed it as much natural food as possible. This does not mean going back to eating “normal food” (pizza, chicken wings, burgers). It means creating a meal plan that is inclusive of as much whole food as possible. Read your ingredients lists, and do your best to consume as little ingredients as possible!
3) Eat lots of fresh vegetables, and ensure that you are taking a daily multivitamin. Vitamins and nutrients help the body in its regular every day processes. Particularly when we are overworked, it is important the body receives what it needs in order to recover.
4) Drink lots of water to help the body re-hydrate itself, and also flush out the toxins that are built up in your muscles. This one doesn’t require any further analysis – just do it.
5) Incorporate stretching and walking into your routine for the next week or two so that the body stays moving and active, but is also able to recover. Stretching before bed is also a great way to bring more relaxation to the muscles. One thing that I like to do when I can’t sleep is place my hands on my low stomach and across my hips making a V. I breathe into this space in my stomach, and focus on the sensation between my hands and skin. Once my hands feel like they are connected/merged to my hips, I know I am fully relaxed.
Be kind to your bodies.
Exercise because you LOVE your body, NOT because you hate it. In turn, it will become easier to know when it’s time to work and when it’s time to unwind.Exercise because you LOVE your body, NOT because you hate it. Click To Tweet
So now that you know this, are you training too hard?
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