Listening to Your Body Overtraining: the Dangers, the Signs and the Remedy

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You only get one body so you need to take good care of it. For this reason I’m a strong believer in listening to your body and giving it what it needs That being said I’ll admit that I’m not always the best at listening to the cues that my body gives me. I’ve definitely improved and thanks to my own knowledge and that of those who I surround myself with I’m better able to identify what it is that my body needs. Today I want to share some of that knowledge with you guys because I think it is extremely important to differentiate between when you need to push yourself and when you need to ease back and maybe even give yourself more time to rest and recover. 

There are different variations of overtraining (a.k.a burnout, chronic fatigue and over stress) but put simply it can be described as the result of placing more stress on the body than it is able to recover from to the point of causing plateaus and decreases in performance. 

Signs of Overtraining

  • Prolonged lack of motivation to train 
  • Intense and prolonged DOMS and sore joints
  • Insomnia 
  • Feeling drained after what usually feels like a good workout 
  • Feeling more irritated than usual 
  • Decreased sex-drive 

How to Avoid or Remedy Overtraining 

  • Reducing training volumes or intensity 
  • Taking extra recovery days 
  • Getting more sleep 
  • Ensuring you’re eating enough 
  • Sports therapy massage 
  • Ensuring your training program is well planned and periodised 

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

The Dangers of Comparing Ourselves to Strangers Online

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I think it is great to draw fitness motivation and inspiration from others. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy social media. However, I feel that far too often this is taken too far. You shouldn’t eat “x” amount of calories simply because that’s what your favourite IG model eats or trains “x” amount of tines a week because that how often they train. 

You and your lifestyle are unique, you have different goals and priorities so however you train, how often you train and how you eat should be tailored to your lifestyle and your goals and not just be a carbon copy of someone else’s.

While I do think that there is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition, constantly comparing and competing with others just creates a losing battle and can lead to low levels of self-esteem and unhealthy habits. There needs to be a shift from feeling that you need to do better than others towards focusing on improving on your own practices be that in the gym or with your approach to nutrition. 

There also needs to be a shift away from constantly focusing on negatives. So what if you don’t have visible abs? Are a few lines on your stomach really going to make a difference to your life?  Instead place your attention on the positives. Maybe you don’t have visible abs but you can squat your bodyweight or more, or maybe you can perform an exercise now that you couldn’t do a few months ago. Our bodies are constantly proving how amazing they are yet instead of celebrating the things we are great at we choose instead to bring ourselves down and focus on the things that we don’t like. 

At the end of the day there are certain things that we can’t change and we have to learn to accept them. Don’t get get so caught up in what everyone’s doing to the detriment of your own life. You are not a stranger on the internet, nor should you want to be. Who you are is amazing. 

Just some food for thought. 

Jay xx

DOMS: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

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Firstly WTF are DOMS?

Have you ever felt pain and stiffness in your muscles several hours or even days after working out or performing some type of physical activity? Have simple activities such as walking, picking up things you’ve dropped on the floor or even going to toilet ever felt difficult the day (or a few days) after a workout? Well, that my friends is DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). 

Put more eloquently DOMS can be defined as “a product of inflammation caused by microscopic tears in the connective tissue elements that sensitise nociceptors and thereby heighten the sensations of pain.”

What Causes DOMS and who is affected?

DOMS can affect anyone and typically occur when someone is starting workout out, when changing up an exercise routine and performing new/different movements or when the duration or intensity of a workout is increased. 

Will I always get DOMS?

Overtime (if you are consistent with your exercise routine) your body and muscles will begin to adapt to the physical demands being placed on them. This results in increased stamina, strength and recovery and decreased soreness and stiffness after exercise. 

How do I make my DOMS go away?

  • Rest – ensure you are giving your muscles enough time to repair and recover after exercise.
  • Ice or Heat – Studies have shown that applying ice or heat to the affected muscles can result in a reduction of pain.
  • Gentle Massage – Studies have also shown that gentle massages can result in “a reduction of the duration and severity of DOMS.”
  • Physical Activity – While this point my seem counterintuitive research has shown that certain activities such as cycling and swimming can ease muscle soreness and stiffness (however, only temporarily). 

Preventing DOMS?

In some cases DOMS will be unavoidable and while you can’t prevent it outright there are a few things you can do to minimise its effects:

  • If you’re new to exercise or using a new exercise routine be sure to build up to it gradually, that way you give your muscles time to adapt. 
  • Ensuring that you are getting the right type of nutrition before and after a workout can help to ease soreness.

Just some food for thought

Jay