The alarm goes off at 5:15 am, you roll out of bed angry that tomorrow has already arrived. Your fitful sleep was preceded by a recap of your stressful day. “Damn I need a vacation” is all you can muster as you blindly toss clothes and a well used pair of training shoes into a duffel bag.
You head off to the gym, the one safe place you’re allowed to mindlessly move from one act to another with a cup of coffee in hand hoping that today is the day the cup your holding is filled with rocket fuel. Alas, it’s only coffee.
An hour passes and you scramble to put yourself together in the allotted 30 minutes needed to look semi-human for your daily grind. You stop at the cafe near work for your second cup of coffee and the usual scone. It all happens as if a starter’s gun goes off sending you into a frenzied race never allowing a break in the pace until the evening brings exhaustion and another late bed time. This time you lay in bed beating yourself up for the burger and fries you had for lunch because Jimmy had a birthday. “Tomorrow I’m having a salad and that’s all there is to it!” you say with conviction.
The alarm goes off at 5:15 am, you roll out of bed angry that tomorrow has already arrived…….Sound familiar? The unfortunate thing is this scenario is all too common even though you don’t know a Jimmy and to add insult to this injury your body never changes even though you workout everyday.
Why? The fitness formula has three variables that make up the model I like to call my Equilateral Triangle. All three sides have equal importance and if one side is missing or shortened, the strength of the structure is compromised. The three sides are made up of a) exercise b) nutrition and c) rest. I won’t discuss much about exercise right now because I can assume that most understand what that is. The nutrition variable is a lengthy discussion reserved for another day, another sermon. The last and most often missed variable is rest.
Rest is a loose term that ultimately states “I’m taking a break from activity”. This can come in the form of a day off in the middle of the workout week or the 8 hours of sleep we get every night ( HA! ) required for muscle repair due to a tough workout or the rest interval we take in between sets or rounds. No matter how you label it the importance is indisputable.
If rest is absent from your routine, YOU WILL NOT SEE POSITIVE CHANGES IN YOUR BODY. If you’re a poor sleeper, figure out how to change that. There are many natural methods to do this and if you’re at a loss, email me. If you’re a person who can’t go a day without exercise….stop that. You must take a break or your body will give you one. Know this, when your body is resting it’s changing. No rest, no change.
If you’re Mr./Mrs. intensity who has gotta go gotta sweat, you must observe intervals of rest interspersed throughout your workout. Imagine your muscles as fuel tanks connected by fuel lines that power the activity you’re performing. When those fuel tanks are empty after an intense exertion an unspecified amount of time is required to refill those tanks. If you don’t allow this 1) your performance suffers and 2)your body will convert an alternative source into fuel and guess what? It ain’t body fat! It’s typically new clean proteins stripped from the muscle you worked so hard to create. This is why your body transformation does not occur. You’re burning off the good stuff as fast as you create it.
If you’ve ever met someone who’s had to take a long break from exercise due to over training, this is exactly what they’ve experienced. Bottom line? Get your rest. Sleep 6-8 hours a night and take days off from exercise as well as breaks during your workout. If you do you will see the results of your hard work and time commitment at the gym. If you don’t, you will continue to spin your wheels and eventually your body will give you an unwelcomed break and that’s my word.