Rest. Or Else.

Standard

Me, if I don’t rest soon. Yes, I will turn into a male runner named Rick.
photo by My Athletic Life

My body has been subtly threatening me. A twinge in my back during Zumba class, a more-than-occasional cough, a tweak in my left calf, almost-constant scull-crushing headaches. My body is quietly whispering, “take it down a notch or I’ll take away your ability to move make you.” My body has been known to stop functioning force me to rest before. Not enough sleep for too long, and illness keeps me bedbound. Too many workouts, and my back muscles literally give up.

I know the signs, I’m pushing too hard. Even the psychotically exercise addicted active people need rest to stay healthy. Rest allows the body to rebuild the muscles and systems stressed during exercise. Without recuperation, your body will give you the middle finger and shut down. At least that’s what my body does. Thanks. Appreciate it.

Ways to ensure adequate recovery:

Sleep

Some people require more sleep than others. Lucky me requires ridiculous amounts quite a bit to operate. 8 hours is not enough. Only 6 or 7 hours for two days in a row, and I’m a raving, irrational bitch grouchy. I wish I were kidding. Make sure you’re getting the sleep your body needs.

Nutrition

Turns out you can’t survive on granola bars, tortillas, and coffee. Why didn’t anyone tell me this?! A balanced diet can do wonders for fueling your body, turns out. Protein and fruits and veggies are my friends. Protein and fruits and veggies are my friends. Protein and fruits and veggies are my friends.

Rest Days

Somehow, between adding another class per week and subbing a few classes and a dangerous lapse in brain function, I was lined up to teach Zumba for 21 days in a row. Allow that to sink in. 21 days of hour-long, full-out, sweat-pouring, chest-heaving, muscle-exhausting Zumba. Let’s just say I won’t be adding that extra class. Even fitness masochists need days off.

FIT: Frequency, Intensity, Time

If you lucky people don’t teach group fitness classes, make sure you vary the frequency (how often), intensity (how hard), and time (how long) of your workouts. Not every training session needs to be 100% for two hours every single day. Turns out, too much cardio is actually bad for the body.

Periodization

Did you know that some anal retentive organized people actually follow an “exercise program?” Apparently these crazies people plan their workouts in advance to alternate between easy, medium and hard workouts. Sometimes, according to nasty rumors, they even design six-week blocks of training that manipulate exercise frequency, intensity and time for optimal recovery. I’ve even heard they cross train and try out different types of exercise to make sure they get a well-rounded workout. Sounds insane, right?

Listen to your body

When your body sends you a warning equivalent to the mafia mailing a friend’s finger to your house, please listen. Don’t make your body put a hit on you, Capiche?

9 thoughts on “Rest. Or Else.

  1. Allison Gullborg

    What’s the hardest thing for an active person to do? Rest.Some people never learn to listen to their bodies (their Dr.s love it — trip to Maui) It’s that old “no pain, no gain” mentality — let’s move into the 21st century! Gotta learn that fine line between push & pain.

  2. Ooo good reminder. I forget that fitness is just being active and natural, fun and usually comes along easily. Easy does it is not my nature. Last 2 years… I am trying more active things that are cardio related than I did when I was younger. I have discovered a short thing, maybe just 5-8 minutes is a nice pick me up which elevates heart rate and has some feel good in it can work well for mood changes. It doesn’t have to be an extended work out thing of 30-50 minutes. A one time run through on a couple of Zumba routines is just about right. Good ideas here. Kind of fit with your earlier thoughts on being active and on going overboard on vacation.

  3. Nobody told me that after the age of 35 the effects of 1/2 bottle of Riesling of an evening makes it nigh impossible to make it to bootcamp class. Just thought I’d share that info and spare someone else the grief.

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