Despite all of the posts where I categorically mentioned that over training is bad, to be vigilant about it to you guys, I ended up over training over the past week.
Yes, there are signs that show that you have been over training. Muscle soreness, fatigue, reduced performance. But sometimes, the body gets so used to the constant stress that it gives these responses a little later.
In the last week, I trained for 6 out of the 7 days. It was a pretty good training overall. I had 2 days with just HIIT (sprinting), 2 ab days and 2 days for the chest and arms. I did not focus on the same body part two days in a row, and I made sure I rested the rest of the day. I even slept 10 hours a day.
Muscle soreness and fatigue, therefore, were quite nonexistant. I did not feel anything, and so I went ahead a continued working out in the same intensity. On Saturday, I decided to take a complete rest day and not do any physcial activity. And on that night (when I was planning what I should do on Sunday morning), the body responded.
Saturday rest day turned into a rest weekend, which turned into rest day for 4 days. I did not workout any specific body part. I only played cricket every evening for an hour, and did not strain myself at all during the process. And still, that fatigue did not go. So much so, that I began to get dreams where my whole body feels like lead and I’m not able to move any muscle at all. That was scary.
Over these 4 days I came to understand a few things about my body that I would like to share with you. It’s quite possible that you have faced/will face a situation like this, so this can be your warning bell.
- There is definitely a lag between my workout and my body’s response to it- It is quite possible that your muscles will not become sore immediately after a workout. This is especially true if you workout out regularly, like me. I workout 5-6 days a week and my body has begun to expect that intensity. So, it is likely that it will not show signs of fatigue till well after 2 days of working out.
- It’s a very very good idea to schedule 2-3 days of complete rest- Every month, go 2-3 (maybe even 4) days of complete rest, or just very light cardio. My body has responded brilliantly to the rest I had these 4 days. My stomach looks flatter, and my arms and chest definitely look bigger. I am yet to test my endurance, but I’m quite sure it’s gone up as well.
- Drink plenty of water on these rest days- I am used to drinking 3 litres of water a day, on days when I workout. In the first 2 days of this rest period, I did not drink more than 2 litres of water because I wasn’t feeling thirsty at all. Consequently, I got more tired. I upped my water intake back to 3 litres in the last 2 days and I began feeling fresh again. My body seemed to recover better.
- Sleep!– Seriously, even on rest days, sleep for at least 8.5 hours. I had exams on two of the four days, so I couldn’t get more than 7 hours of sleep on two of the four nights. On the fourth night, I slept 12 hours. I did not keep an alarm and let my body decide when it feels like getting up. Best decision I took in the last 4 days. I woke up fresh for the first time this week.
Now that I have understood this about my body, I will not be guilty of over training again for the whole of this year. That’s a promise I’m going to make.
Go ahead, work out like crazy. But also, please, rest! Your body will reward you for it.