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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.

  • Always Sore? When was the last time you had an amazing workout that you felt 100% at the beginning and not tight and rigid from the previous day(s) of activity?
  • Sleeping Poorly/Irritable often? With extra workloads, comes extra increased Heart Rate which can in turn ruin a solid night of sleep, or makes us jittery and unsettled.
  • Injury Prone? How many days of the month do you have to consider if working out is “safe” for something that is bothering you?
  • Sick Often? An increased prevalence of common colds or flu-like symptoms should indicate your body’s immune system is struggling to keep up.
  • Unmotivated? Don’t feel like seeing your friends? When your adrenals become fatigued, its common to feel like everything is too much effort, and too much energy…

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…

RECOVERY!

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.

  1. Post Workout Nutrition: Hydration and Protein are the two biggest factors for most workouts and people. Everyone’s protein needs are slightly different but if you think about how a furnace works – the better the fuel that goes in, the better the heat that comes out. Feed your muscles— the right way! They will thank you.
  2. Nutrients, Minerals & Vitamins: There are plenty of additional healthy foods and supplements that can make your post workout life more effective. Things like Turmeric (known to reduce inflammation and soreness, as well as increased mobility) are great additional ingredients to that wicked-tasty protein smoothie. Supplementing with LYFE’s Soothe - Natural Anti-Inflammatory Capsules can help your body in the battle against inflammation combining curcumin from turmeric, with black pepper and algae omega 3s for optimal bioavailability. 
  3. Sleep: Our body does the most work repairing itself when we sleep. 8 hours of sleep means more repairing than 4-5 hours, so give your fitness goals the respect they deserve and get yourself down to a good night of sleep as much as possible.
  4. Rest: Taking a day off is good for the soul. If you worked 7 days a week at your job, you would agree that eventually, you will burn out. Our bodies are no different. Listen to the soreness or the limited range of motion, and give it a rest. Help your body’s ability to recover from stress with adaptogenic herbs and superfoods like mushroom and ashwaganda— The LYFE FUEL Restore Capsules are designed to improve adrenal health and balance and control cortisol levels— imperative to recovery. 
  5. Massages: A great way to get those muscles back after a tough run. Most massage therapists that are worth the money they charge not only are good at what they do, but they have a level of education more specific to your muscles than you do – go learn a thing or two.

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!

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