Did you know that every time you perform a workout, you’re breaking your body down?
It might be unbelievable to some, but IT IS TRUE. The magic of muscle growth, fat burning, and other physical adaptations doesn't just take place in the gym.
They also occur when we are not in the gym, particularly when we are sleeping.
When we are sleeping, that's when our body rallies the recovery troops and builds us back up so we can hit the weights – or, basketball court or golf course – the next day.
Lack of sleep increases the likelihood of overeating and unhealthy eating habits. People who lack sleep tend to gravitate toward foods high in calories. Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to a higher risk of obesity and a wider waist circumference. Lack of sleep can result in decreased muscle strength during workouts and decreased physical activity throughout the day.
On the other hand, sleep allows muscle tissue time to recover between workouts. Sufficient sleep is essential for having the energy to work out. Getting enough sleep but not keeping your body dehydrated is the same as doing heavy workouts without stretching. Lack of sleep can result in decreased muscle strength during workouts and decreased physical activity throughout the day. When you are dehydrated, your mind and body cannot function at their best.
So, if you’re not getting the results that you’d like from your workouts, look at your sleep and hydration first. Those are the two most overlooked areas when it comes to recovery and being able to bounce back from training.
But the aspect that I want to emphasize today is, " Are you doing too much? "
Trust me, often it only leads to pain, injury, a compromised immune system, and damaged adrenal glands.
So the trick is to understand how hard to push and how often. It is a matter of steady gains and consistency. Performing 100 pushups but skipping a few days of exercise is equivalent to asking oneself to be injured.
You want to emerge from each training session bruised but not broken.
You shouldn’t feel obliterated by your workout. You should walk away feeling like there’s gas in the tank for the next one.
The two worst indicators of a quality workout are probably how much pain you're in and how sweaty you are.
The proof is in the results. And the results only come if we treat our body with the care and respect that it deserves.
So here’s a simple trick that you can start using today. Before heading to the gym, ask yourself, "On a scale of 1–5, how excited am I to train today?" If the answer is 4 or 5, go for it. If the answer is 3 or less, you’re probably better off taking a day off or doing some light recovery work like walking or stretching.
And if you keep coming up with 1’s and 2’s consistently, it might be time to reevaluate your workouts.
Remember, your workouts should be helping you, not hurting you. Going the extra mile is indeed an excellent mindset, but knowing when to stop going for the extra mile is equally important.
Do not go too hard on yourself, but instead make sure to bounce back when you can.
Be consistent, be hydrated, and have enough sleep!