It is standard to talk about having that focus and determination in training and getting maximum out of your workouts. Maximizing gains and getting ripped. You are going at it in the gym , all beast mode , 5 days or even 6 days a week simultaneously monitoring that diet up close. All is going well, isn’t it? However, there is one thing that is getting ignored in the process. Your body. Sounds ironic? But yes it’s your body, your health.
Health First, then everything else
All you fitness enthusiasts will agree on the fact that there are certain odd days where it just does not feel right. Maybe you haven’t been able to have your meals due to work or you are still feeling week after yesterday’s all out workout session because of soreness or in the worst case scenario, you are sick. Now there are two types of individuals here. The one who will still go and workout no matter what and others who would call it a day.
Having been on both sides of the spectrum, I have observed some factors that should help you determine your body’s condition and know when to be careful and not make mistakes that I made as a beginner.
- Muscle Soreness, Sickness– One of the most common phenomenon that almost every athlete goes through. Not all times muscle soreness means you stop working out instead I see muscle soreness as a positive indicator of pushing your body to the limits. But, as they say , too much of anything is bad. This is where you need to pay caution to the wind. This is the time you listen to your body and recover first before your next session. Those sessions with all that soreness at the gym will ultimately boil down to nothing. Consider some scenarios here. You hit arms on Fridays or let’s Saturdays. You had a great session, with all that pump and some serious lifting pushing your biceps and triceps to the absolute limit. On comes Monday and guess what, its Universal Chest Day. Oh wait, your triceps are still sore after the torture it took a couple of days back. Chest needs triceps. So? Will you be able to be at your full potential? All it will do is that it will not allow you to put the hammer down and your session will go all in vain further increasing the chances of injury in those triceps and not to forget the disappointment. No, this is not simply my view-point. Try it. Same goes with going for a back workout with sore biceps , and cardio on sore legs. Ask your trainer about this, he too will suggest the same. Hence, for once in a while you must address that soreness rather than just ignoring it like always. Soreness can also be an injury you just ignored. Same goes with being sick. Yes, it is normal to fall ill sometimes and it is your duty to take care your health first. You are suffering with fever, or a bad flu let’s say, and you are on medication. Yes, it is completely okay to skip a day at the gym and let yourself recover. No, your gains will not go away in a day, but that fever might stay a little longer.
- Diet– Diet, vital then, vital now, vital forever. Imagine that you have an important audit at office or a seminar at college which has kept you occupied for the most of the day. You were unable to have proper meals during the day, I am sure we all have been there but at the same time, you want to have an intense training session in the evening. Same case is here too. Go hard like every other day or you can hold back a little as you haven’t had your fuel. From where will that energy come if you haven’t eaten during the day? How can you expect your body to respond the same day as yesterday? No, it wont. What can you do? Go for a lighter workout session rather than full guns blazing. Working out without eating will not take you anywhere. This is the reason why there is so much fuss about eating. If you have no fuel to work with, you can’t expect to go the distance. Thus, it is okay to go in economy mode for a day and try to manage your meals in future accordingly.
- Injury– Chances of injuries in this line of work is very common and hence you need to know how to deal with it. Injuries are hard. I know. I myself had an injury in my quads meaning almost a month of no workout, nothing at all. And it can be a very hard waiting game. You feel you have recovered and are roaring to hit the gym the very next day, but you can’t and you should not. Instead, the most logical thing to do is to take proper rest , give your body some time and then start again only after getting the green signal from your Physio/Trainer. There is a reason why premium athletes and players go through a full rehabilitation process before making a comeback even if it means an extra couple of weeks.
If you want your body to respond to your fitness regime and get results, you have to take care of it. It is a two-way process. I know that when you are focused and determined more than ever, all you can see is getting there at all costs failing to see the bigger picture. Quotes like “Go Hard or Go Home”, looks good on Instagram feeds and Facebook pages and can provide you with that instant boost but you have to keep other factors in mind too. In the end, your health is your utmost priority and it is okay to skip a day, lift a little less, have a light workout, recover well and get out stronger with more intent than ever before. In this era of having those Greek god like structures and superhuman strength, our body and personal health shall not be jeopardised. Leave your egos at home for once and try to listen to your body. For any other queries or suggestions, feel free to drop a message. And as I always say, don’t just read, try it, go see what works for you and what doesn’t and learn.