I hear people….women specifically, who make the assumption that they should workout daily. Hard. It’s a common misconception, especially as people are trying to build a new workout routine. They assume they have to hit it hard every day in order to get in shape and/or lose weight. This just isn’t true, and it can actually do more harm than good.
This post isn’t meant to make you feel bad if you workout every day(even though I strongly encourage you to take at least one rest day, just to make me feel better), and I’m most definitely not preachin at you. However, if you find yourself dealing with some of the mentioned symptoms, you may be working out too much. Here are just a few of the negative results of working out too often……
Tired all the time
Here’s the deal, our bodies work really hard to maintain our every day activity. We carpool and work and fold and prepare. We do a lot on the daily and ask so much of our bodies. So, when we exercise, especially if we exercise hard at a high level of intensity, our bodies will be more fatigued. If you find you are tired all the time I have one word for you….REST. I have no idea why we don’t think we deserve rest, but it’s so entirely good for your health..mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. We feel as though we have to race through life at break neck speeds but it’s not true. You can make different choices. So there you go, I’ve just given you permission to take a nap. You’re welcome.
This goes back to the rest, but if you are asking too much physically of your body, chances are you’ll be a little moody. Yes, exercise releases endorphins that often make you feel better about yourself and life in general, however, too much of a good thing can start to get to you. Cut back a bit and add that rest we talked about and see if you have a wee bit more patience with your people. Take that time to read a book or do something that nourishes your soul, mind, and body in a whole different way. It’ll make the exercise more enjoyable.
If you are chronically sore, you may be overdoing it. Your muscles grow and repair during rest. Without rest, your muscles will be screaming for help all the time. You have to rest them. You have to allow regeneration to occur, which can’t happen if you never take a break. Your brain may tell you they need to be worked daily to bring about change and improvement. Your brain would be wrong. You don’t need to kill it for hours a day in the gym to bring about change. You just can’t have work and change and growth without necessary rest. Train your body and your mind to rest just as you train it to work. Allow appropriate recovery time for those fatigued muscles and joints. Go to a restorative yoga class or practice some gentle stretching and active recovery on your rest days to help with muscle soreness.
Are you constantly dealing with injuries? You may be exercising too much. Again, broken record here, but exercise adds stress to your body, which makes it more prone to injury if you are adding too much stress and not enough time to recover. Listen to me, taking a day off will not negatively impact you from a training standpoint nor from a weight loss standpoint. I PROMISE. You aren’t weak or undisciplined or falling off the band wagon when you take a rest day….you’re just smart. It’s necessary. Let your muscles repair themselves on the off day or days so you can stay injury free. Is injury a sure sign of overtraining? No. But it sure is more prone to happen if you don’t build in enough rest.
Lack of motivation/Plateau
A couple of years ago I tackled a really intense training plan when preparing for the Dallas Marathon. I loved it as it challenged me in a whole new way with high weekly mileage, higher than I had ever done. I was in really good running shape physically, but mentally I struggled. After Dallas, I tackled Chicago that next October, giving me 3 full marathons in 18 months. For some people, this is no big thang. For me? Well for me it was huge. I burned out big time. In fact, I’m just now getting my love of running back and my desire to run more than 3 miles at a time, and Chicago was one year ago this coming weekend.
I lost my motivation because I asked too much of myself with not enough rest in between. I was tied to a plan for so long that I lost all motivation to do anything, which is not my favorite place to be. So, rest. Build in breaks. Do fun things between races and take some pressure off of yourself. Just run or cycle or zumba til your heart’s content because you want to. This rest and FUN will build your motivation back up and remind you why you do all this crazy in the first place.
My body also plateaued. I had peaked and needed rest. I wasn’t seeing any physical gains, or losses for that matter. I gained some weight and got slower after having had a great training process. I just totally crashed and it didn’t even occur to me that I needed a break from distance running, I just kept going. After a year of struggling to get back, I’m finally learning a thing or two about rest. Don’t be like me.
So these are just a few reasons to build in a rest day and not workout 7 days a week. I’m not saying sit on the couch all day, get up and move and be active, but be smart. Don’t allow your mind to convince you that taking a rest day or rest for yourself in general is sabotaging your efforts. It’s just not. I’m learning a lot about rest lately, and not just napping. I’m not a napper. I’m not a sitter. I like to be busy doing things, but I’m learning it’s ok to sit down and read a book in the middle of the day or enjoy a coffee on the porch just because. This is so much more than just physical rest from intense workouts or training, it’s for your well being. For a life of joy and peace because you know how to take a break and enjoy it from time to time. Enjoy those moments in your day with built in rest. It’s so necessary for your mind, body and soul. So nap away or read a book at 1pm and let the laundry sit. It’ll be there tomorrow. I promise.