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Recovery Week (Yes, Virginia, overtraining does exist...)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

I asked my trainer friend why I wasn't sore after my tough workouts anymore, and he bluntly let me know that it was because I was overtraining. I, of course, insisted that I wasn't, even though I was running on caffeinated fumes and using every spare moment to steal a nap. I was fueling well! I was monitoring everything! I was still seeing progress! I am a beast!

(Which is true, I am a beast, hahaha.)

But I took his advice, partially in the spirit of "I'LL SHOW HIM WHO NEEDS TO TAKE A BREAK" and boy, was he right. I needed a few days off from training!

I haven't done zumba all week so far (4 hours "missed") - in fact, the only workout I've done all week was my Tuesday morning TRX.

I'm once again able to fall asleep like a normal person at night and stay asleep. I'm back to craving vegetables and protein instead of simple carbs.

All of the soreness that I had expected to feel hit me HARD after 48 hours off from the gym. If I didn't know better, I would have gone for a flu diagnosis. Even now after four straight days off, I'm still almost as sore as if I had just worked out yesterday.

Most strength-building and conditioning programs recommend that you de-load or take a recovery week every 6-8 weeks. Honestly, even though I mentally knew that I needed to take a few days to let my body recover from all the hard work I've been putting it through, emotionally I think I was still scared that if I stopped training for 5 seconds I'd wake up in my old body. (I did drop my calories down to the lower end of my range this week since I'm far less active....) I know that, scientifically, results happen through rest and recovery and letting the HGH do its magic overnight...but emotionally, I was having a hard time letting go and trusting that my body wouldn't sell me out.

I've missed my zumba family like crazy, but it has been nice to sleep!! I'm also happy to report that, true to science, I woke up today to see some nice upper body results that I didn't expect so soon - and my size 4 (?!) pants are now a little loose in the waist (?!!!).

It had been about 10 weeks since I took a rest longer than 48 hours. I'm going to pay better attention to the signs I ignored this time (sleep troubles, carb cravings, erratic performance in TRX) and make sure I take another rest week no later than mid-March. I brought my zumba gear so I could go back tonight, but I might only go for one hour instead of two....and if I don't go at all, I will make myself be ok with that, too :)

I'm glad I listened to my friend before I got injured or burnt out, and hopefully my body will forgive me for pushing it so hard...just in time for me to go push even harder ;)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • HHB4181
    I feel the same way: If I don't exercise, will all my weight cmoe back? I know, like you, that can't happen, but unless I'm ill, I don't take 'rest weeks.' That's scary.

    However, you do make some good points, maybe if I took some time off, my feet wouldn't hurt so much? Thanks for posting.

    emoticon on loose size 4's!
    1962 days ago
    Do you stretch sometimes? When you do feel soreness, sometimes you can get some blood flow into the area with gentle movement and then do some gentle stretching and/or massage. We all have different places that have soreness and need more recovery; it's individual. I also find that if I overexert one day and need a rest that, rather than sitting, I will try to stay minimally active .....like do some light housekeeping, take a short walk, walk through the store.........whatever keeps you moving, keeps the blood flowing, and distracts you from feeling worn out.

    1962 days ago

    Rest is so important...... The body performs so much better when fully rested and refreshed. What a lovely post :) thanks for sharing emoticon
    1963 days ago
    emoticon for the reminder. It really can be an internal struggle to remember that rest is as important a component in a training program as exercises are. (And I actually learned something - I did not know that the soreness, or more precisely lack of, could be a symptom of overtraining. Good information to know.)
    1963 days ago
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