YOU'RE BEING A WIMP.
Updated: Oct 21, 2020
or...do ACTUALLY NEED SOME TIME OFF?
If you haven't noticed by now, I write only what I know and I know nothing more than my experiences. If I get the feeling there may be others out there trying to navigate similar circumstances/emotions, that's when I feel compelled to share. So here we are again! Welcome.
My last blog post of The Quarantine 15 was probably the best received post to date so I figured we'd keep it rolling with what comes next; burning it off!
Don't get confused for one second though, this isn't about HOW to actually get back into exercise safely, I already wrote about that in Corona Comeback. This blog post is about balancing the overwhelming soreness we're all probably feeling, powered by the urge to get our fitness back, and the desire to take a day off because we're BEAT.
So how do we know it's time to put the dumbbells down and pick up the blanky for a Saturday afternoon nap? Are you being a wimp? Or do you just need a day off?
Well, let's get into it.
NOT ONLY ARE JOINTS MADE to BEND, THEY'RE MADE TO STRAIGHTEN AS WELL!
"...most of your training should land in the 6-7 range on our 1-10 scale, same goes for your soreness. If you're at 8+, consider hitting a lighter/shorter session that day or even a day off if it's been a while since you're last one..."
Makes sense right? Your elbow can bend by flexing the bicep but it can also straighten by way of the triceps firing. "Great Anatomy lesson, Kyle. Now get to the point." I said it because I know you're thinking it. My point is you should be able to move your joints freely, unrestricted by crippling muscle soreness. So, my first tip to ya'll when you're trying ti figure out whether or not you're being a wuss or actually could use some time away from the weights is this; if you haven't been able to straighten your arms for the last 3 days, you should probably take a chill pill!
More specifically, I like to use the 1-10 scale. If you're one of my current or past clients, hello, but also, you've probably heard me ask this before in our sessions; "On a scale of 1-10, 1 being medically induced coma, 10 being climbing Everest with someone on your back, where are you at?" I not only use this to gauge someone's perceived exertion, I also use it to gauge people's soreness. So if I check in on somebody and they report back a 13.76 out of 10 (okay, I'm over exaggerating for effect, let's say they report an 8), I'll usually cut down their next workout DRAMATICALLY so they can cycle out the soreness or give them a day's rest instead.
So how is this helpful to you at all? Well, here's my two suggestions. First, stop gauging your progress off of how sore your are. You can continue to get better AND stronger without feeling wrecked every session. Second, most of your training should land in the 6-7 range on our 1-10 scale, same goes for your soreness. If you're at 8+, consider hitting a lighter/shorter session that day or even a day off if it's been a while since you're last one (if you're looking for more specifics on approaching exercise in general, check out 3 Golden Rules of Exercise). This method of course can be very subjective, especially for my beginners out there (keep going, guys!) as you're probably still getting used to your body in motion. However, this, in my opinion, is a more reliable method than what we're getting into next.
SENTENCES ARE MEANT TO BE FINISHED.
There I go again talking non-sense (well, actually, this makes perfect sense, sentences should be finished). This is one of the ways I can tell I'm getting burnt out and need to take a load off; I start struggling to find words and can't finish sentences. Now, I'm not saying this is going to be a tell-tale sign for everyone, I've simply identified this as one of my signs I need to back off. Let's take my wife for example. Sometime she gets so sore, she has trouble sleeping because no matter what position she's in, she's uncomfortable. That's unique to her because I can't recall a time that's ever happened to me! So I'm going to quickly rifle through some factors/changes in behavior clients have reported to me that you might want to be on the lookout for if you're having trouble figuring whether or not you're being a wimp.
First, are you no longer finding enjoyment in things you normally do? I swear this isn't a side effects reel running at the end of a Zoloft commercial. If you normally like grabbing a drink or two with your friends at the end of week but now it just sounds utterly draining, chances are you're ready for some down time (or the opposite, if your friends are a bunch of cackling hyenas that can't be tamed and hanging out with them sounds lovely for once, you better run for the hills and become a hermit!) So keep close watch on your interest in your normal extra curricular activities.
Second, how's your hunger? Do you wake up FAMISHED ready to eat yourself out of house and home when normally you eat like a mouse? Might be your body's way of telling you "Dog, you're kinda' asking a lot from me right now, so I'm gonna' need some extra fuel for this." Or how about the reverse? Normally you're a hefty eater but right now your appetite is shot...might want to take a day off.
Third, you day dreaming a lot? Find yourself zoning out mid-day, staring at nothing, thinking about nothing? Yeah, you guessed it, time for a day off. That feeling of cloudiness is what generally accompanies my grasping for words when I'm getting to the end of my rope.
Fourth, are you irritable? Ready to drop kick the dude in front of you in the line at Starbucks just because he's dragging his feet a little bit? Yup, you need a day off. If you're quick to flare, let's lessen that flame by coolin' it by the pool rather than turning up the heat in the gym.
These are the 4 most common signs I hear from clients so be on the lookout for these but in generally, it helps to take inventory of your mental, physical, and emotional well being when you return to training or training starts to get tough. Who knows, you might have a unique behavior shift that signifies you're not being a wimp, you just need a day off.
In the last week, I've probably experienced all of these things; muscles sore to the touch because it felt like I climbed a mountain with someone on my back, unable finish sentences, not finding the same enjoyment in activities like I usually do, appetite being all over the place, going full zombie mode mid-day, and ready to drop an elbow on the next person who doesn't say "You're welcome" after I hold the door open for them...all some signs that I'm not being a wimp and shouldn't push through some more training.
I need a day off.
So this weekend I hope you take some time to sit with yourself, get in touch with how your body, emotions, and thoughts are doing and decide for yourself to hit the gym or hit the couch.
As always, thanks for the read, I hope you learned something, and at the very least, had a bit of fun with our time together.
I'll see you on the next one! Have a great weekend.