Confession: Last lockdown I overtrained! I had my studio filled with gear, access to daily online classes, clients wanting video workouts and a family keen to be active, so I did it all.
I don’t actually recall taking any rest days… I remember Sundays being my yoga day which I considered to be 'rest' or 'active recovery' but in actual fact were some of my hardest workouts as I was using my body and muscles in ways they weren’t used to. Then we’d hit Monday again and I’d have FOMO about the awesome classes my gym was putting on so I’d suck up any fatigue, muscle aches or soreness and jump into it. It made me feel alive, gave me something to do and gave me that all important “me time”, which in lockdown is hard to come by.
I didn’t really see it or feel it at the time, but when life returned to normal I realized how tired I was, I could see and feel that I’d put weight on, and found returning to ‘normal’ exercise quite hard, my motivation wasn’t what it used to be and continuing as I had been was not in the least bit sustainable. I remember writing a newsletter to my clients confessing I’d done it wrong!
Of course It’s normal to feel tired after exercise, but fatigue is next level and happens when your body repeatedly doesn’t fully recover after you work out, you may feel excessively drained, especially during or right after workouts. It can take weeks or even months to show itself but when it hits you, it can stop you in your tracks.
Fatigue can also set in when you regularly don’t get enough fuel before you train. This was my mistake, in hindsight I wasn’t
consuming enough fuel before I trained. I moved my body a lot in the morning, riding on the previous days food intake, I’d do a lunchtime online class and then by the time I finally got round to eating it would be well after 1pm. The problem here is that if you live in a calorie deficit because your exercise level is too high and food intake is too low, your body gets the message that it must slow down all functioning to conserve energy. In essence your body thinks its starving so goes into survival mode and holds onto every precious calorie you eat in order to survive. Now although I wasn't exercising to lose weight, I certainly didn't expect to gain it, which is exactly what happened through over training, under fuelling and under recovering!
Since our last lockdown I’ve had more appreciation for the day to day steps I take, the daily walks to school drop off and pick up, the running around doing chores and after school activities, all the studio/class setups, the demo’s, warm-ups and cool downs I take throughout my usual working day, they all add up to a lot more activity than I’m currently getting now we are in lockdown again. But having learnt from last time, this lockdown I’m not pushing myself daily in online workouts, for one, I’m now part of the team taking them, so twice a week I have to be on my game to talk it, teach it and do it, which is harder than it looks, especially with such a fit bunch of members wanting a hard workout! Secondly, I’m looking after myself more these days (as my previous blogs have covered), I’m listening to my body, I’m fuelling myself better - literally eating protein oats as I type - making sure I have fuel in the tank for taking my lunchtime core and cardio class.
My advice to myself and my followers this lockdown is simple; workout within your limits, allow enough recovery time between workouts. Be sure to fuel your workouts so you have enough energy to sustain your training, listen to your body and take care of yourself after each training session.
We live and learn, stay safe.
Health + happiness