I have learned that the body changes only with the following steps:
Stimulus - a tough workout
Fatigue - the workout has to be tough enough to cause long term fatigue. “I’m still sore tomorrow”
Recovery - Full rest… ”I feel great after my rest and I want to train!”
Adaptation - I am noticing I’m getting faster, stronger, losing weight… Change is happening.
This cycle for some of you happens day in and day out on some level. You may live very close to this practice of stimulus, fatigue, recovery, and adaptation. What I have found is that you have to have times of over-stimulus and over-recovery to continue to force adaptation. Example, pre-season for some is a time of over-stimulus. This is also known as overreaching. Likewise, there has to be a time of over-recovery. This often takes place after the season is over. Athletes are instructed to rest and recover with low-level activity and little stress. For those of us not on a professional sports team, how do we decide when to have over-stimulus (overreach) and over-recovery (down time)?
Here are 4 questions to help you know if it’s time to overreach.
Are you feeling fully rested? Does the body feel good and ready to go, like you can push really hard?
Do you feel like you may have gotten away from your usual routine? Or maybe you are seeing the effects of being more sedentary than usual? Weight gain? Feel out of shape?
Do you have a deep desire to train? I want to get back at it? I can’t wait to hit it hard and get back to the gym, or the court, or whatever you do?
Has it been more than 4-6 weeks since you have done anything that causes long term fatigue (sore from doing something the day after you do it)
If it’s time to overreach, think about training 2 x per day, digging into movement, getting extra fatigued for a short period of time - usually 7-21 days.
Here are 4 questions to help you know if it’s time to over-recovery (take downtime) and rest after a period of doing something stressful.
Did you just finish doing something stressful on your body for an extended period of time? A hard push for 7-21 days?
Have you been pushing longer than 21 days and haven’t noticed any significant change or adaptation? Does this sound familiar? “I’ve been training and doing this for a while now, but I haven’t seen any more change in my performance or body.”
Are you seeing a reverse effect? “I am doing what I’ve always been doing, but I have gained weight, or I am getting slower.
Don’t have a desire to train anymore? “I can’t seem to muster up the motivation to train and I used to love training. Now I just force myself to go to the gym.”
This is something for you to think about as you head out onto your spring break. Does your break need to be a rest and relax spring break or does it need to be a boot camp spring break?
Let me know if you need help planning your rest or workouts for your vacation.
See you in the gym,