Hello everyone! May I ask a serious question? Who is still progressing with their new year's resolutions? How many people have edited them and how many are not even participating any longer? Reflection and revision is important; this isn't the topic of today's blog but I believe that regardless, this is an important question to ask to help keep everyone on track and attempting to move the needle forward with their goals. If you stopped, get back into it. You only fail when you quit...think about that for a moment.
Now, moving on...
With the new year almost 1 month under our belts, and so many of us going H.A.M. on our goals, now is the time to relax, recover, and look back over our progress (or losses).
Are you starting to feel burnt out already? Sometimes, burn outs aren't always mental. They are very much physical and the research showing-that metabolic adaptation, is starting to show in more and more individuals due to physically tiring out from "grinding" too hard and not taking enough time to recover and allow their bodies to rebuild. This is something EVERYONE must become aware about, from the serious athletes to the stay at home moms and weekend warriors.
"How is working hard hurting our progress though? That doesn't make sense Coach Taz! You always say, 'hard work pays!' " I know, I know. We should always work hard towards achieving our goals but be mindful of the effects it has on our minds and bodies. Every time we do 1 or a few of the items listed below, a few things happen to our body; the biggest being, damage to our hormone profile. Another term I learned that I like to use is, "recovery debt."
-Go through stressful events
-Remain in a caloric deficit (or diet) for too long
-Limit rest time from physical activity
-Work long hours
How does working hard keep us from sustaining an adequate hormone profile? Without getting too complicated...everytime we exercise, we release cortisol to mobilize our macros (proteins, carbs and fats) for fuel so we perform our best, awesome right? Well, over time with constantly stressing our bodies through exercise and other life stresses that keep us in a peak emotional state (while under recovering), our cortisol levels remain elevated which eventually will lead us to running out of this important performance hormone, thus causing us unable to produce it at the right times in life, or even at all. Which means...you guessed it, eventual poor exercise performance, plateauing results, poor work performance, chronic fatigue, poor sleep and eventual physical injury. For a more detailed article, click here.
How do we avoid this from happening? Yep, take time off! For performance minded athletes; this is of utter importance. I've always recommended after 1-3 months of serious training, athletes should take a full week off for physical and hormonal recovery (increase if appropriate with your training regimen, consult your coach). This next sentence includes everyone...take time off of your diets as well. BUT, that doesn't mean to go eat every sweet you find in the cabinet. It simply means to take time off from being in a constant caloric deficit to allow proper recovery.
For the average gym goer; I understand achieving your goals is important but hitting the gym 7 days a week will always eventually lead to a roadblock. Be mindful of these few things...
-Allow yourself a break from "diets" every once in a while, especially if it includes a calorie restriction.
-Take 1 or more days of rest (depending on goals, health restrictions and lifestyle) throughout the week to rebuild your muscles.
-Monitor your sleep. Are you getting 6-8 hrs of uninterrupted rest or are you having trouble getting to a deep sleep?
-Be aware of your stress levels. Meditation, daily quiet periods, brief walks can all help keep stress to a minimum, thus reducing the chances of not progressing with weight management goals.
-Eat nutrient dense, plant based whole foods to help aid with micronutrient/vitamin/mineral consumption and recovery.
-Walk away from your work every once in a while! Working long hours in a stressful environment, then working out hard several times a week, staying up late and not sleeping enough, not fueling your body with the right foods and never taking time for yourself is a recipe for disaster.
-Watch out for over consumption of caffeinated substances. This is an early sign of adrenal fatigue and research has started to show that anything more than 180mg of caffeine consumed per day actually leads to reverse effects.
Never feel guilty for taking a break! Many will preach about never taking days off and never sleeping while never realizing the effects it has on the human body. Days off, for most of us, will eventually lead to improved moods so why not? We all should welcome rest days, I know our bodies will ;)