want more gains?
You may be surprised to learn that the secret to accelerating your health and fitness goals isn't just about what you do in the gym that matters
Stressed out from a bad day at work or from a fight with your boyfriend or best friend? We’ve all heard that working out is the best medicine, but is it? Well… sometimes…
While fitness is an essential component to our overall health and wellbeing, each time we workout we are calling on our body to perform— resulting in both hormonal and musculoskeletal demands. If you’ve followed our stress series you know all about the Stress Response and how deeply stress impacts the body— head to toe. A good workout can be antidotal but, could it also be causing your body additional stress? What if you’re not otherwise stressed out— does that make a difference?
Typically the more stress we have in our lives, the more valuable fitness becomes. Working out acts as a great stress release and of course triggers those much needed anti-stress hormones aka endorphins. Unfortunately, like many other “feel good” things, endorphins can be addicting, and the activity that triggers them becomes the addiction. And as far as our bio-intelligence is concerned, whether triggered by a Devil Wears Prada type boss or those 7 consecutive spin classes — both can trigger a stress response albeit one very different than the other. Acute stress, like physical exercise, can be very beneficial and helps us become more resilient by boosting immunity and making us stronger through a process called hormesis...BUT too much of a good thing can also spiral out of control.
Gym Rats, Cardio Queens, Hot Yogis… all sound like they’re crushing their fitness goals— they’re more committed than ever before, spending more and more hours on the workout floor, setting the bar for how much we should all be working out- right? While fitness junkies’ Instagram posts may compel us to book that 2nd workout for the day, is it a good idea, or are we “overtraining”? Overtraining means there’s an unnecessary level of physical stress being put on our bodies. But common symptoms or “red flags” of overtraining can be difficult to decipher against the usual things that come with working out. Read through the list below, think about each one — but really, get real with it…. If these sound familiar to you, you may be better off giving your body an additional day of rest rather than booking another sweaty workout sesh.
The list goes on and on, but ultimately the overall impact on your body and mind with overtraining, is that your systems (mental, physical, emotional, etc.) are taxed at all times. That being said, there’s one VERY important component missing in your workout routine…and it’s not an additional workout…
The most important part of any workout is how fast you can fully recover — and then how quickly you can get back to 100% effort. Many people don’t know how to get their bodies back to a position where it’s ready to take on a maximum workload again - ASAP. We continue working day in and day out on an already taxed set of systems— so what happens? In stress terms, your body is in a constant state of Fight or Flight— and progress towards fitness goals starts to diminish. So what do we do? We workout more, and more… and more…When we learn how to recover, we can come back stronger and sooner— continue to perform at our highest level— and actually speed up our progress.
WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER!
Workouts should challenge us physically but they can also challenge you emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Go workout somewhere new— try a different studio or meet new people with a hiking group. Instead of the same workout over and over try working out outside of the box- take a long walk with a friend, or go on a trail run.
Loyal studio member? Try out different levels of exertion in your favorite workouts— pick light days and hard days — those hard days may stop being quite so hard after a bit of recovery! Swap out a few of those 90 min hot yoga classes with an amazing stretch session — physical and emotional recovery, plus a bit of a workout for your brain and spirit — all in one. Implement a few of these active recovery sessions a week but, don’t forget to take a day off! Whether you mix it up, walk your neighbor's dog, or even just head down to the beach for a stroll — you’ll return feeling like a superhero in tomorrow’s WOD! Thinking you’ll be twiddling your thumbs with that extra hour in the day? Use it to stock up on your pre and post workout fuel.
When all else fails, laughter is the best medicine — but a glass of wine and a bit of chocolate can help unwind any stressful day.
Want the perfect RECOVERY cocktail? Scoop up this bundle to ensure you bounce back quicker after you sweat!