Last week I woke up for CrossFit, stumbled into the bathroom and was half way through washing my face before I realized I was using toothpaste and the little granules exfoliating my face were whitening stain-lifters. Once my face was removed of its minty freshness, I stumbled back to bed and decided that sleep was more important for my success at work that day than Snatches and dead lifts that morning.
Even with the extra hour and half of sleep, I spent the whole day in a slight fog, giving myself internal pep talks to focus and pay attention. Somehow, when I got home I decided it was a good idea to go for a quick run anyway. It has been a while since I went running and I figured it would still be a break from lifting. The next day I woke up still tired, but chugged some pre-work out and headed to the gym. I was feeling pretty good, ready to sweat and feel those endorphins flood my body.
And then I hit a wall. My lungs tightened as I desperately sucked in air, I felt nauseous and my muscles were burning. Two weeks of double days had caught up to me and I had to call it quits. But my body wasn’t ready punishing me for neglecting to listen to it. I spent the next couple days curled up in bed, fighting away flu like symptoms that left me drained and weak.
What did I learn from all this? Don’t be a stubborn meat head – take rest days. I know that it’s easy to get excited when you see yourself making progress, and there is the tendency to want to keep going so you don’t lose it. Truth is-I’m not going to lose all the progress I’ve gained if I take a day or two off. In fact, it will actually help my muscle tissue to recovery and help replenish my energy stores.
What else did I learn? I need more sleep. Not getting sufficient sleep decreases glycogen synthesis, decreases muscle tissue repair, decreases activity of human growth hormone and increases the stress hormone cortisol. Also, if you are trying to loose weight numerous studies show that a lack of sleep can increase over eating.
So next time you are feeling overly sore or tired, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Go to a movie, go out to dinner, do anything except try to push through it. Your body will thank you.