Ok so I’ve talked about consistency, accountability, patience & persistence and how each have played major roles in my own health and wellness journey. I thought it was also important to talk about another piece of the puzzle which is moderation. At this point in my journey, almost exactly a year in, moderation is proving to be a lot harder than I ever could have imagined in the beginning! I have fallen in love with this lifestyle, with lifting, with getting stronger and I am now at a point where I have to actually tell myself “you need to take a day off” even though most weeks I don’t want to! I know, who woulda thought?!?! I went from barely exercising at all to being a fitness addict in a very short amount of time!
I realize I probably sound like a bit of a weirdo for what I am about to say, but I truly look forward to my workouts each day. They are a time for me to shut off the rest of the world. To ignore emails. Hold off on responding to texts. Disconnect basically from the overly connected world we live in and just focus on my own mental and physical health. I have come to be fiercely protective of that time I spend on myself even if it is just 30 or 40 minutes a day. It’s me time. It’s time that allows me to clear my head and recharge. It gives me an outlet for the stresses an anxieties we all face during a typical day. Instead of struggling to fit in my workouts, I now plan my days and weeks around them. Being healthy and staying in shape has now become a top priority to me and instead of having to force myself to workout I now have to force myself to stop working out!!
So here’s where the thought behind this post comes in…I think I am getting to the point of possibly being so into my workouts I am bordering on overtraining. Hence why I have to remind myself that moderation is also very important when it comes to all things fitness. I am good in the area my eating habits now. I build in cheat days each week that I stick to and thoroughly enjoy! I don’t restrict myself if I want to have dessert or some chips or a bowl of rice whenever the mood strikes. Moderation in that area for me is under control. But these days I soooo enjoy working out that I when it comes to my built-in rest days I find myself not wanting to rest!
More is not always better. And in the case of fitness more can lead to negative consequences. As I have mentioned before, I am a firm believer in planning your workouts out ahead or time and also scheduling in your rest days in the same manner. Luckily for me, the programs I have been following (I am on day 76 of 80 of my latest one!) tell me exactly when to workout and when to rest. But I have found myself cheating and working out when I should be taking a rest day. I know, bad Beth. I’ve started to notice though that I am sore a lot and some of my muscles feel pained during the course of my workouts. I also have had two illnesses in the last couple months (bronchitis and a sinus infection) which is only unusual because I had been perfectly heathy for almost a full year beforehand. These are all signs of overtraining.
Some of the biggest signs you are overtraining are:
- Muscle Soreness
- Pain when working out
- Decreased Immunity (More colds/viruses than normal)
- Trouble Sleeping
- Decrease in your ability to workout as hard/intensely as you were before
- Feeling like you constantly have to be working out/putting in long hours working out
- Eventually it can lead to burn out and giving up on your fitness goals
If you are just staring on your workout journey getting your sweat on 3-4 times a week is a good rule of thumb. For more advanced fitness junkies working out 4-5 times a week is usually the standard. Bascially though you want to plan in at least 2 rest days a week to your routine. What I had been doing before I got a little carried away was having one fuil rest day where I didn’t do anything physical and one active rest day where I would either do some light hiking or pilates or something that got my heart rate up a bit but wasn’t strenous or taxing to my muscles. That was working very well for me and is something I need to get back to ASAP.
The moral of this story, don’t be like me!! Let your body rest and recover between workouts. Luckily I have wised up in time to prevent an injury or anything really serious from happening. I am actually taking a rest day today…I promise! I will not lie, I have a little bit of anxiety thinking about not working out but I know it is the right thing to do for my body. I also logically know that I will not lose any ground or muscle or motivation from one or two days off a week. Moderation is key when it comes to working out, nutrition, and well just about everything in life. Having a healthy balance of days you push your body and days you let it rest is so important to staying on track and making those gains. So here’s to not being such a nut job and starting to take my own advice!