The final part of this 3 part series on recovery will ask the question, are we listening to our bodies? As mentioned in the last two posts, the body is an amazing machine. It knows what to do and how to do it. It is the repetition of us doing things mechanically unsound that gets us off the path of total body health; sitting for hours on end, eating poorly, staring at a screen for 4 hours, squatting on our toes, and the list goes on and on. When we do these things poorly over and over again, the repetition tells the body that this is “the norm.” It has become a natural phenomenon for us to do things poorly because society tells us its ok. It’s very easy to sit down and stare at a screen for hours because it’s easily accessible for us to do so. Ever watch TV for too long and your eyes start to hurt? Ever sit too long and your back hurts?
Listen to your body; it knows when you need to quit whatever it is your doing wrong and make a change. If your back starts to hurt after sitting for two hours, then stand up and walk around. If your knees start to hurt after squatting 100 reps on your toes, then shift the weight into your heels and drive your knees out.
As I went off in this tangent about daily habits and doing tasks mechanically sound, trust me, it was relevant. When talking about recovery and working out to become a better physical human, your body knows when to step on the gas pedal and when to lay off. If we’re constantly beating our bodies down, driving the heart rate up, lifting heavy weight, chances are your body is begging for a day to play catch up. Are our bodies built to workout multiple times a week? Yes, but a machine can only take so much heavy lifting, high heart rate, and quick moving. If you’re fatigued, super sore, tired, your mood isn’t great, whatever the case may be, am I saying to not workout? No, you should still be moving and being a human, especially if your life consists of sitting, staring at a computer screen, etc. Maybe you come into the gym and instead of doing 225 pound deadlifts, you only do 135 pounds. Maybe instead of doing 5 rounds, you only do 3 at a slower pace. Maybe instead of going to the gym, you go for a jog in the park. If your knees feels a little funky after 80 box jumps in the prior day’s workout, you don’t do the squats that day and press instead, or ask your coach for another modification. If you really need a rest day, you just feel like you can’t do any sort of workout in the gym, than my suggestion is to just move. Go on a walk, clean the house, play with the dog, turn on the muscles and let the blood flow.
Moral of the story is when you feel like you can really press the gas pedal and give it all you have, do it. If you don’t have much in the tank that day, then don’t beat yourself down to the point of no return; lay off the gas pedal for the day and be human – move.