Tag Archives: rest

Listen to Your Body

Listen to your body. It is a simple rule that many many many of us tend to forget, including myself. Well, perhaps forget is a rather passive word, but instead ignore. And what do we do? Keep pushing our bodies even though it’s saying, “Um, hi! I’m done now, please stop!” Many of us will call this “wimping out” or just a complaint that can be pushed through. But that is where you need to acquire a skill.

This skill is understanding and knowing your own body. Picking up on the language that your body uses to communicate with your mind. Often, beginners to fitness are a little out of tune with this language. It’s taken one of my clients several months to come to the point where he can really tune into his body and understand when it is telling him to stop or push just that one rep farther.

Working it right

Working it right

Take the time in your next workout to feel out what’s going on with your body. Try to learn the difference between muscle pain (good) and joint or tendon pain (bad). If your muscles are filling with lactic acid, you can feel that pressure, that burning pain, but you know you can just do one more rep to push your body to the proper place. And if you feel your elbow joint or rotator cuff hurting with a sharp pain as you continue to bench press or curl, you know to stop before pushing yourself to injury. You have to walk that tight rope of pain. You have to know which is which.

If you’re unsure, ask a trainer. Point out what’s bothering you and they can tell you if that’s A-OK (ripping muscle fibers to make them stronger!) or a big NO-NO (overly-stressing a joint or ligament). If they’re a good, quality trainer, they will want to help you. Don’t be afraid of asking. It could save you an injury or make a workout that much better.

Chris taking a rest day with the kittens

Chris taking a rest day with the kittens

Don’t be (too) stubborn. Now here, I really need to take my own advice. Tonight we did a chest and triceps workout (here’s a sample). My (we think) rotator cuff has been a bit strained and stressed lately and can get pretty painful with certain exercises like push-ups, chest press, shoulder exercises, and other triceps exercises on the bench. I endured it pretty well tonight, but it kept me from completing as full sets as I would like. However, even though I wanted to push myself harder, I knew that it was worn out after a good number of supersets. I wanted to do another superset or so, but I held back. I didn’t want to seriously injure anything. Often, I can be way too stubborn for my own good, but here is a prime example of listening to your body.

Working myself to a good place where my skin needs to get tougher!

Working myself to a good place where my skin needs to get tougher!

So next time you’re in the weight room or out on a run, keep a finely-tuned “ear” to your body and listen to it!

Cheers! And let us know if you have any questions!

The Guide to Knowing When to Workout or Not While Sick

Perhaps you’ve recently picked up one of the many thousand illnesses that seems to be going around. Throughout my family, there has been the flu, the cold, costochondritis, bronchitis, Bell’s Palsy, and more! This is really making you want to spend time with us, right? Anyhow, so you’ve picked up a bug, the cold, something and you’re wondering whether to workout. You were all set on your New Years Resolutions and then you get slammed with a cold, but you still want to keep up progress. What do you do?

Chris with an 104 fever during our vacation

Chris with an 104 fever during our vacation

It depends. It depends on what you have and what your body is able to do. Say it’s the first or second day of your sickness…that’s going to be hard. Let’s go through a few sicknesses going around…

Poster encouraging citizens to "Consult y...

Poster encouraging citizens to “Consult your Physician” for treatment of the common cold (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You have the common cold. You are feeling tired, stuffy, head pressure, and congestion. You may be wheezing a little, sneezing a ton, and coughing a few lungs out. With colds, you can workout depending on the severity of the cold. Like I said earlier, it depends on what day you are on the cold and how severe it is on your body. If you can barely lift your head off the pillow, don’t workout. Instead, rest the day and maybe in the late afternoon, bundle up and go for a walk around the neighborhood. It will wake your body up a little bit and give you a chance to breathe fresh air. 

English: Mimi & Eunice, “Viral Patent”. Catego...

English: Mimi & Eunice, “Viral Patent”. Categories at the source website: Economics, IP, Suffering.  Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Say you’re sluggish, may be a little congested, do a workout that fits your condition. Feeling really stuffy? Don’t do heavy cardio. Instead do a light bike workout and then some strength training. It is vital vital vital to keep hydrated and take plenty of rest time, even if you normally don’t. After your workout, you will leave feeling a bit more refreshed and revitalized. However, stay warm especially if you sweat. If you feel like you can’t do something, then don’t do it. This is a vital time to listen to your body.

You have the flu. Now this one is a bit more risky. It is, again, very dependent on how bad it is. Say it’s the flu without any stomach problems. However, if you have a fever, do NOT workout. This will completely throw your body off as it is desperately trying to fight off the infection (thus, has a raised temperature). You will be helping to defeat your body’s immune system if you workout with a fever. However, if you’ve gotten your fever down to a reasonable temperature (98 degrees region), go ahead and do some light workouts–slow cardio and light lifting. Only if your body is up to it.

Flu Wants You!

Flu Wants You! (Photo credit: alachia)

You have the stomach flu. This should be a no-brainer. DO NOT WORKOUT. You don’t want any…accidents coming out of either ends while you’re on the elliptical or the leg press. Stay home, drink fluids, and eat crackers.

In general, if you are going for gains in muscle workouts, don’t workout while sick. Why? Because when you are trying to gain that mass, or create lean muscle, you are breaking down muscle fibers which will then need to be repaired through your body. Your body will need to go through protein synthesis to repair these muscle fibers and guess what? Your body can only do so much at once. When you’re healthy, your body can devote 90% to repairing itself. When you’re sick, maybe only 10% can be devoted, leaving you not only feeling sick, but incredibly sore and unable to workout because your muscle fibers are still torn.

English: Overviw illustration of Protein Synthesis

English: Overviw illustration of Protein Synthesis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Listen to your body and be smart! You can always make gains next week. 

I'm on your computer, stealin your files

I’m on your computer, stealin your files


Rest and Recovery Days (We Take A Lot)

Looking at this past week, we only went to the gym three out of five days. Sunday was shoulders and climbing, Monday was legs and climbing, and Wednesday was arms and climbing. (Climbing=Bouldering, until we get more gear) That means that Tuesday and Thursday were more or less rest or recovery days, but this isn’t completely the case. Everyone works out for a different reason. Some people want to feel better, some want to look better, and some actually enjoy it. Although the first two are true for myself, I would never work out as much as I do if I didn’t enjoy it.

Rock climbing on the wall of Voiron, Auvergne ...

Rock climbing on the wall of Voiron, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes championship (Isère, France). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Going to the gym is considered a leisurely activity in my daily planner because 95% of the time, a trip to the gym is on the same level as playing video games. The other reason that they weren’t rest days is based on how active one’s lifestyle is outside of designated workouts. On both of those days, I biked over ten miles to and from jobs throughout the day. It was on a cheap mountain bike, and there were lots of uphills and changes of direction and pace. Also, I was in the water for hours treading and teaching children how to swim. I was never moving too quickly, but overall I probably “swam” a thousand yards (I should calculate, or try to, some day.) Finally, everyday I walk a dog in the foothills, and those hikes/walks are usually around 3 miles long. According to my former Taekwondo master, hiking is the greatest form of exercise in the world… even greater than taekwondo. (He is an 8th degree black belt)

Hiking Symbol


So never feel bad about taking a day off from the gym! Especially if you have an active and healthy lifestyle. Many people don’t realize just how active they are! Do you clean the house? Pick up your children and carry them around? Mow the lawn or garden? Walk the dog? Shovel snow or rake leaves? Walk up and down stairs all day? All these activities can be extremely taxing on the body and while you might not get the same effect of lifting weights in sets and reps, you can still get a heck of a workout from it.



Furthermore, rest is good as long as you don’t take too many days off it you’re trying to reach a certain goal. Some studies show that you won’t lose muscle gains for eight days, and cardio gains for three days. Now, I would not recommend taking more than two days off in a row because that should be enough recovery time for your muscle fibers, but don’t be too hard on yourself for taking some rest!

Collage of varius Gray's muscle pictures by Mi...


Letting your body over-recover is much better than not letting it recover. You want those fibers to undergo fancy scientific processes like protein synthesis so that they come back bigger and stronger. Skip the process, and risk losing the growth that you worked so hard for. Working out, eating right, and sleeping right are the easy parts… your body is doing all the hard work, just get your mind in the right place. Never be too hard on yourself (I can’t take my own advice) and always try to enjoy what you’re doing. Working out every day, or nearly, for four years is really boring, unless you love the pain and struggle.

Keep up the good work!