So the ‘over training exhaustion’ that I wrote about that week ( you can find it here if you didn’t catch it) has resulted in you siting on the floor watching KUWTK and eating and entire family size bar of Dairy Milk, don’t worry we’ve all been there and one chocolate binge will not put you right back at square one. However you will have to find the motivation to pick yourself back up, brush off the chocolate crumbs and head back to the gym. But lets just take a second to look at the things we can do to reduce the likelihood of going head first into another cycle of physical and mental exhaustion.
I’ve mentioned a few times before, I am such an advocate of pushing yourself because we all know that results are made out of your comfort zone; but i’m also a huge lover of balance because it can really transform your life.
I know for a fact that if I didn’t have the balance I have in my life now I would be missing out on a lot of things, along with focusing on the wrong things in life, like worrying if I had worked out hard enough, or if I should eat X,Y &Z. Even though I am 100% dedicated to health and fitness, I make sure I focus on the health aspect a lot more now than I did 6 years ago, and is definitely down to being in a really loving fulfilling relationship. Focusing more on the health aspect has created a balance that is relaxing and natural, rather than stressful.
The moment your health and fitness lifestyle gets in the way of actually making you feel like you are living life to the full, you know you are going wrong somewhere and that you need to realign. But you know what, that’s OK because its a learning curve, we don’t know how much our bodies can handle at one given time, and our resistance to training is constantly changing, this is why looking out for signs of exhaustion along with seeking ways to avoid exhaustion are the best things we can do for ourselves.
- One step at a time – do not try to change-up your diet and your workout regime in one swoop. Focus on one, and then bring the other in a week or so later, baby steps, remember it’s a lifestyle not a quick fix.
- Stretch it/roll it out after every workout – This is so important for recovery and ensuring that your muscles are ready for your next work out; you may remember I did a whole post on rehabilitation stretching and muscle imbalance.
- Prepare your workout – Once a week create a plan for the coming week, this will visually show you if you are training the same muscle group too many times, along with making sure you aren’t only doing high intensity resistance workouts, switch it up with some low intensity days too. This is often over looked, but trust me the low intensity day are the days you really torch that fat.
- Change of scenery -Rather than doing your low intensity on a treadmill, take it outside so that you don’t feel like a slave to gym. Twice a week John , Lulu and myself will go for a walk at 6:15am rather than hitting the gym, I get to see the beautiful surroundings and spend quality time with my family whilst sticking to my work out. Low intensity is such a great way to spend time with your friends yet still committing to your workout. When I was back in the UK over the Christmas holidays 70% of my workouts were low intensity so that I could enjoy spending time with my friends and family, the balance was perfect!
- Eat enough food to fuel yourself – Fuel being the key word here because if you aren’t eating foods that are going to replenish energy stores and help repair muscle then you are pretty much sabotaging yourself. Avoid foods that claim to be ‘fat-free’ and ‘sugar-free’ because chances are they are worse for you, although yogurt is my only exception to the fat free rule, I do eat fat free or 2% fat plain yogurt everyday. You don’t have to cut out all treats, but 90% of eating should be to fuel yourself, and the other 10% is for balance. So before you eat something think ‘is this going to make me stronger in the gym tomorrow’, rather than ‘will this make me fat’ – its all about that mental attitude.
- Rest days are so important, and you need have at least 3 a week when you are starting out. Eventually you will be able to reduce your amount of rest days, for instance I have 1 per week at the moment but that is because I have conditioned myself to do this, and I am feel really physically strong at the moment. I do also listen to my body each week, and last week I was feeling pretty weak and under the weather so I gave myself an extra rest day and I am so thankful that I did!
- Every 12 weeks take a week long break – This is something I have been doing for the last year and it has really helped me recover both physically and mentally. Knowing that you ‘only’ have a 12 week block of working your butt off makes you really push yourself to your limits, it is also a great psychological way to break it down and make this new lifestyle seem more manageable and less daunting.
- Do not train for more than an hour – Its OK if your warm up, work out and cool down last over an hour, but limit the actual high intensity part of the workout to 40-50 mins.
- Sleep – This is incredibly important because this is really when the body recovers and repairs itself, so the amount of sleep you have will have a significant impact on how successful your recovery is. People laugh at me for the amount of sleep I need and how early I go to bed, but for the amount of training I do I need a minimum of 7 hours sleep.
- Make time for yourself – this is where the healthy mind aspect of health and fitness shines through, and you really really do need it. You are pushing yourself an intense, but healthy amount, and to really balance it out you need some relaxing time, so go run yourself a bath, grab a book or practice some yoga.
- FINALLY, go out and have fun – To be able to keep up a healthy lifestyle you to go out and let your hair down, otherwise its all too much of one thing, and you become a pretty boring person. It is also a great way to pass on the healthy vibe; your friends and family will see that you are not only looking and feeling incredible but that you are also able to go out and have a blast without it having a detrimental effect on your health and progress.
I hope this was helpful!