In this fast paced world where busyness is applauded and there’s never time to stop going, going, going, the word REST seems to have become a dirty one. Even more specifically, in the fitness world there can be a lot of pressure to constantly be exerting yourself. Going faster, lifting heavier, sweating more, and more, and more, and more—
UNTIL YOU BREAK.
And this is the part that’s so often forgotten, exercising is incredibly beneficial to your health- but to a point. Past this point is a “no man’s land” of injuries, adrenal fatigue, and loss of interest in working out all together. This is where working out becomes a chore versus a release; a HAVE TO versus a WANT TO.
There have been many times throughout my “fitness journey” (this sounds really cheesy and I don’t like it, but I don’t know what else to call it) where I have struggled with not trying to progress too fast or push myself too hard. Due to my overachieving, type-A personality, I have a tendency to want to go balls-to-the-walls all the time and feel the need to do more and more. Because of this, it’s a critical thing for me to slow down, take a step back, and get in tune with my body.
Speaking of getting in tune with your body, pay attention to YOUR body and YOUR needs. Don’t let how other people are working out make you feel “lazy” or make you feel guilty (exercise should NOT cause guilt) for “not doing enough”. It doesn’t matter that _____ ran “x” amount of miles, then did _____ workout on top of that, or that _____ works out for “x” amount of hours, or even that _____ exercises EVERY day. None of that matters.
The sooner you learn to focus on yourself and your goals rather than concerning yourself with others, the better. When you do this, you will see a HUGE shift in your mindset and be much better at listening to and owning YOUR needs.
Now getting into a little more about how I did this myself…
I’ve felt the weight of over training on my shoulders all too many times. In the past, I struggled to take (REAL) rest days. Partially due to lack of knowledge (educating yourself about exercise is SO,SO IMPORTANT!!!), I thought I’d “lose fitness”. I mean I couldn’t just not workout, right? So, I’d do yoga (and not the easy, just stretching kind), and maybe take a walk, or add in a quick four-minute workout, until, my rest day was a rest day no more. I quickly began to see the problem with this as I went into each new week of workouts still sore, fatigued, and utterly unmotivated. Not to mention, since my muscles never had time to repair and recover, I wasn’t building much muscle either!
I’ve learned that yes, a (REAL) rest day (or two!) is 100% crucial if you’re going to be doing intense training regularly. Rest days benefit not just your body, but also your mind. They’re days where you can just relax and unwind, spend your whole day out and about with friends, or enjoy some family bonding. As much as fitness may be a part in your life, it’s critical to also maintain other interests and relationships to stay balanced.
Now, I’ve also struggled with feeling like I have to do something crazy intense like HIIT as part of every workout in order for it to “count” or be “good”. This misconception is ridiculous and unsustainable. Varying training intensity and style is so key to make sure your body is healing properly and to avoid over training and the many negative health effects that come with it.
Plus, sometimes, for whatever reason, your energy levels and soreness just don’t match up with the workouts you planned for the week. For example, this week I’d scheduled an interval/speed run for Tuesday, but after coming home and still being out-right exhausted after an hour nap, I knew that just wasn’t what my body needed. So, I opted for a nice, long walk with my mom followed by a short session of core Pilates. The reality is, I train hard, so my body has a right to be tired, and I have a duty to honor that. It doesn’t mean I am weak, it doesn’t mean I will loose strength, and it certainly doesn’t mean I’m not fit. It means I’m wise and that I respect and love myself.
I know I’m not alone in my struggle to focus on MY needs, to resist the temptation of over training, and to learn to rest; so I’d be happy to hear from any of you who have gone through/are going through the same thing. Together, we can grow to become more intuitive athletes and learn to trust and honor our bodies.
Let me know…
Have you ever fallen into the comparison trap with fitness?
Have you ever struggled with over training?
What is your favorite rest day activity?
Enjoy the moment,
xoxo Meah <3
Thanks to Jill for hosting the Living a Life of Fitness Health & Happiness link-up! I’m so happy to be joining in on the fun 🙂 .