by Bret Smith CPT, B. A., B.S. | Move Strong Studio
When it comes to your body, it is so important to determine what it is saying and how to listen. Recently I overheard a conversation with a group of women training at a gym where I train.
They are a group of dedicated fitness enthusiasts that carve out time to get in a great variety of challenging workouts almost every day. Two of the women actually have started training for figure competitions and help design and run the workouts for the group. They train hard, so much so that I would be a little worried about keeping up with them. Their camaraderie and discipline are something to marvel and seek to replicate.
Today, however, was a rainy Monday and all I heard all over the gym was how much everyone was struggling to get or stay motivated. This was the first day in a long time where it actually started to feel like fall. The group stayed with it though – talking and trying to motivate each other. Until I heard one of them come back to the group and say that she had had enough for the day and just wasn’t feeling it. She, one of the two figure competitors, was listening carefully to what her body was giving her this day. She normally shows up at 5 a.m. for about an hour of cardio on a stair stepper, then comes back later for the group training later in the morning and she works hard and with plenty of enthusiasm and drive to get stronger. But she listened.
As much as she wanted to stay and workout she knew her body and mind were not there for her. She understood this and didn’t fight it too long and knowing she had the support of her group and that this was simply a day she needed to lower her training expectations for the day. That is some advanced level understanding, not because she trains a lot, but because she is able to tune into what her body is telling her.
Your body needs to rejuvenate just as much as it needs the stress from training to stimulate endurance, strength and acclimation. Some people just feel better being active every day and that deserves high praise; however when the training protocol includes periods of hard and focused bouts of training recovery is just as important to the training plan. The body adapts to stress through recovery, sleep and proper nutrition.
Listening to the needs of your body is an art. Having the sensibility to understand your body and what it needs is a skill that needs to be part of your program. Without this invaluable tool in your training tool box you may be left with a lack of enthusiasm and loss of gains made in the gym. If you are going to spend the time, money, and energy getting and staying in shape your best laid plans are to understand what your body needs and knowing when to add on or pull back.
Train smart, train hard!