The Importance of Rest and Recovery

21 Nov

Anyone who has ever stepped foot in a gym or has hired a personal trainer has heard it before…you need to give your body time to rest in between training sessions and NEVER work the same muscle groups two days in a row!! I am a personal trainer.  I know this stuff.  It’s the same advice I give to all my clients.  I’ve been training for over two decades and you would think by now I would have gotten the hang of things but you know what?  I don’t always take my own advice!!!  As much as I know how important it is to give my body time to recover and get enough rest, I find myself pushing harder and harder and not seeing the results that I so badly want to see.  And I know exactly why I am not seeing those results.  Because I am not giving my body enough time to RECOVER!!!

Let’s be honest.  I am getting older.  My mind may still think I am in my twenties, but truth be told, my body has been around for almost 40 years now and no matter how much I try to ignore that fact, it’s not letting me :(.  I was sitting at my desk all day today in such pain that I had to bug a co-worker to give some Tylenol just so I could get through the rest of the day.  Between the muscle soreness I was feeling in my upper back and lats and the pain in my right knee joint, I could barely focus on my work.   Now even I know that’s not a good sign.  I’ve been training an average of 5 days a week for probably the past 6 years and although I like to think that I will be able to keep that up forever, there are too many signs (painful ones!!) that are telling me that is not going to be the case.  My body is telling me, quite loudly, that it needs more rest and if I continue to ignore it, it’s going to make me suffer…LITERALLY!!!  My training routine of 5 days on and 2 days off just isn’t cutting it any more.  I need to break it up and allow my body to recover mid-week.  If I can get a fifth session in on the weekend, great, if I can’t, so be it!  It’s not the end of the world.  Oh and in case you’re wondering…I am trying to convince myself here!  lol

What I have realized is that it all boils down to being the best you can be with what you have to work with, at any age.  It may have taken me a while to realize how to train – and live – as a mature athletic female but heck, it’s better late than never!!

As I already mentioned, you need to listen to your body.  PAY ATTENTION!  How does your body feel and look each day? Are you achy and sore? How does your skin look?  How does your head feel? Are your thoughts clear and focused, or are you easily distracted and foggy? If any of these checkpoints don’t register positively, you shouldn’t train.  These are very obvious signs that your body is in a state of fatigue, and adding physical stress, even in the form of exercise, will only increase the long-term negative impact on your physique. Those of us who have been very active most of our lives have a hard time recognizing these signs of fatigue as a signal from our ageing bodies that we need to lay off for a day or two; we’ve always seen exercise as a way of feeling better when we are having an “off” day. What’s important is to listen to what your body is really telling you, which is that it needs more time to heal and recover than it did when you were in your 20s and 30s.  The bigger challenge becomes patience, and finding other ways to get the results we want out of our training and workouts – and rest and recovery is key.  It’s better to take this much needed recovery time as opposed to dealing with recovering from an injury, which will take a lot longer than just 1 or 2 days!

Training smarter does not necessarily meaning training harder.  As we age, our bodies change and what worked for us 1, 5 or even 10 years ago, won’t necessarily work for us in the same way today.  Be prepared to make the necessary changes your body requires.  Embrace change.  It’s good for you!  So next time you wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck, take that as a sign to stay away from the gym that day and give your body what it’s begging you for…REST!

So I am going to take my own advice and take a break!  Guess who’s sleeping in tomorrow 🙂 🙂 🙂

Until next time,

Have a fit and fabulous day!!

Lisa

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