Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rest Days

When working out I find taking rest days the hardest. My body will say it wants it, but my head still says that I need to work out, I'll somehow gain 10 lbs if I don't work out for a day, or all my hard work will disappear overnight. It's a way of thinking that's been ingrained in my head for ages(strange how some behaviours stick with you). Rationally, logically, I know this isn't possible. I know you need rest days. Overworking your muscles can destroy them just as well as sitting around doing nothing.

Brenden Brazier is an amazing vegan Ironman Athlete, and also the founder of Vega(an amazing line of vegan protein powders and supplements). He mentioned at one point in his career, when he was training 35-40 hours a week,  that he started gaining fat. Not muscle, fat. Weird, yes? He discovered it was because his adrenal glands were burnt out(as much as working out is good for you, it's also a stress on the body). Your body needs adequate nutrition and time to recover and rebuild itself. Deplete it too much and it starts to turn on itself.

I've been working out pretty hard for the past couple months, and while I was noticing strength gains for a bit, I wasn't really noticing change in body fat composition and it was frustrating. I evaluated my diet, and I know I'm not really overeating(about 1400-1800 cals daily). I work out in the morning and sometimes at night as well, if I feel like it. Frustrated with my lack of progress, I decided to take a break. Not a day or two, but a full on week. I felt like I needed it to hopefully allow my body to recover. I walked around lots, but for the most part left the gym and running alone.

Since I'm back in Vancouver for a couple weeks I decided to leave the heavy lifting alone for a bit, and just focus on cardio. I've been doing mainly HIIT exercises, and a random Aquafit class with my mom :) It felt great to give my body a break. I was sore pretty much all the time the last little while, which I liked, but it was starting to get exhausting. I feel like it's good to give your body a break now and then, you're not a robot. The workouts I'm doing now, I feel like I'm able to do them better, since I have the strength and I'm not just wobbling around with sore legs and arms from my last workouts!

Anyone have any similar experiences?

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