How are you supposed to know that you need a break from the gym? Aren’t you supposed to stay physically active as much as possible?? That’s what is recommended for good health, right?
Before Labor Day, you were better off not asking me for advice when it comes to taking a break. Didn’t know what a break was other than my 2 scheduled rest days per week.
I hadn’t a clue about when or why to take a break from CrossFit until recently. I ended up taking an unintended rest week and did a lot of blogging at home with the little rugrat. 😀
Yes, you heard that right. I took a WEEK off from the gym.
– GASP –
Totally unplanned. And you can be I wasn’t super thrilled about it!
But I was hurting physically. To the point where I was pretty miserable and pretty irritable as well. I turned into quite the crabapple by the end of every day because my back and my shoulders were SO painful.
How I Realized I Needed A Break From The Gym
Here’s what happened…
I worked out the Friday before Labor Day. On Saturday, I didn’t make it to the gym. Wasn’t feeling it. I was painful and just had zero motivation.
Sunday is typically a rest day for me since I work all day and there are no early bird CrossFit classes. And Monday there were no early bird classes either due to Labor Day.
3 days off in a row. Not something I do. EVER.
But my body was surprisingly feeling good. By the time Tuesday rolled around and that 4:20am alarm went off… NOPE. I was feeling EVEN BETTER that morning and I didn’t want it to stop. I reset my alarm for later.
At this point, I’m thinking, well maybe tomorrow?? But my body was feeling too good. I hadn’t felt this pain-free in months. I wasn’t ready to go back yet.
When Wednesday came around, I decided I needed to take a full week off. Something I hadn’t done since my third year of vet school. Shoot, now that I think about it, it’s been 18 months since I’ve taken a week off from CrossFit.
Anyways, each day off I felt better and better physically. Who knew? You don’t go to the gym for a week and feel phenomenal. Definitely not a concept I’m accustomed to!
The Real Problem
My problem, and I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this, is that I’m so consistent and so disciplined in sticking to my schedule that I tend to not listen to what my body needs. Hence why I was in so much pain.
I’m the type of person where my gym days and rest days are the same every week and I rarely miss them. Because if I miss my gym days I’ll fall into a bad habit of skipping them or cherry picking workouts!
I have scheduled rest days every week. Typically Thursday and Sunday. But is that truly enough?
Apparently not, based on how I was feeling over the Labor Day weekend.
When your central nervous system becomes too stressed from exercise, overtraining or not taking enough breaks, you release excessive cortisol. Now, it’s normal for some cortisol release with exercise. But when the body is too stressed excessive cortisol release can actually have the opposite effect of what we want and break down muscle!
I learned a lot from this emergency rest week experience and took away some PRO-TIPS that I wanted to share with you guys. Here are some signs you should look out for that can help you determine whether or not you should take a break from working out…
7 Signs You Need A Break from Working Out
1 – Lack of Motivation – you don’t want to hit any PR’s or go hard in your workouts. You just show up every day because you know it’s what you should be doing.
2 – Pain – you’re constantly tight, painful or sore.
3 – Difficulty Sleeping – you have trouble falling or staying asleep.
4 – Decreased appetite – you’re not as hungry as you used to be.
5 – Lack of Interest in Sex – pretty self-explanatory.
6 – Mood Changes – you’re consistently feeling moody or anxious. Maybe even depressed.
7 – Illness – you’re sick.