Over the last six days, I’ve run three times. I’ve really been struggling on all three runs, feeling low on energy whilst running. So after another struggled run last night I decided to do as I am being told… stop, for a few days. I am being told my body to take a break, so that’s what I am doing.
I love exercise, and I am not new to it. I follow a fairly successful schedule of having days where my exercise is less intense and have a fixed day of rest on a Friday. I love the diversity in my workout schedule and how flexible it has become to adapt to stuff like tiredness, injury/sore muscles or the weather. But the one single thing under pinning this is my body.
Low energy for a few days, and tiredness means I need a break. I believe rest built into my workout programme is just as critical as the exercise itself. I could force myself to exercise today, but I’ll ultimately push myself closer to the point of exhaustion.
I am taking this a huge positive, I work hard and my body is tell me to go and chill out for a few days.
I’ve said it loads of times before, but listening to your body is one of the best ways to know what exercise to do, and when to rest. If you are just starting out with a new sport/exercise, or are generally new to fitness, this is a very key point.
I’ve hit the point of physical burn out before. 9 years ago, after six weeks of none stop exercise, I was hit with a wave exhaustion whilst training, plat form diving. I was stood on the 5m platform, right on the edge, ready to dive. It hit me like a brick wall and I fell off. I learned the consequences of over exercising the hard way. I share this personal story just to highlight how potentially dangerous it can be. This incident changed my perspectives to planning my workouts. I actually didn’t properly plan all my exercise before this. After my fall I began to plan all my workouts, accounting for time to rest and shifts in intensity. Not only did it help me repeating this incident, it also helped me make better progression over all. I began to sleep better and my fitness peaked too.
One final point – fitness industry professionals will all have differing opinions on how much rest is necessary. Do listen to their advice, they are trained and have relevant experience… but do not take this as an absolute. Your body and what it is telling you is key.
- For full disclosure: I am a level 2 qualified fitness instructor with previous experience working in a gym.