Prioritizing workout recovery
Workout recovery is an often overlooked key component of an exercise program. It’s an impatient society we live in. We know what we want, and we want it NOW. “More, more, more!” seems to be what’s on our minds: more exercise, more cardio, more caloric restriction. And when “more” doesn’t work, it must mean it’s not enough — do even more!
Before long, you feel the signs of neglecting workout recovery:
- you feel tired but wired
- feeling unmotivated and sluggish
- anxious or depressed
- feeling run-down
- sleep issues
- disrupted hormones
- unexplained weight gain despite continued exercise and dieting
- body aches that last for weeks, or even months
- lack of desired results
Neglecting workout recovery is like flooring the gas pedal in your car without ever changing the oil, putting gas in the tank, or taking it in for maintenance. You might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later your car will break down.
The same thing happens when you treat your body that way.
What drives someone to over-train? For many, it (temporarily) relieves anxiety and guilt, and gives a sense of control. For others, it’s what seems like logic: do more for more results. Most people don’t realize that it works against you.
Here’s how over-training can ruin your results:
Training too frequently and/or too intensely without prioritizing workout recovery means that stress never subsides. Stress hormones increase, creating a profile for fat storage. Ever heard the saying “it’s calories in vs calories out”? Go ahead and throw that out the window. It’s not true. Your metabolism works like a thermostat, not a calculator.
Over-training leads to injury, puts your body in a chronic catabolic (breaking down) state, causes your immune system to be low, performance suffers, and the most obvious but for some reason the most over looked: you aren’t getting desired results from your workouts!
If these symptoms sound familiar, take action to feel better:
- REST. Take a week off. If this freaks you out, remind yourself that your current program isn’t getting you results and the only thing left to do is try something different.
- Go for daily walks in nature, taking the time to notice your surroundings.
- Try yoga. (No, not power yoga…)
- Meditate for 10 minutes a day. No need to make it complicated, just close your eyes and focus on your breathing in a quiet room if nothing else.
- Get a massage.
- Take a nap instead of working out. You’ll be amazed at how you’ll feel.
- Foam roll and stretch more.
- Go have some fun!
As a general rule, try alternating periods of more food & more exercise with less food & less exercise.
Stop the vicious cycle of more exercise & less food. It doesn’t work.
Listen to your body and prioritize workout recovery. Sleep more, eat enough, foam roll, and laugh more!
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