Today's blog post comes courtesy of my husband who, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, started P90X at the beginning of the month. If you don't know, P90X is an extreme strength training program designed to kick your butt (and my review of it is coming soon). The fact that he spent the first 3 weeks of the program walking around with stiff, sore muscles that never seemed to recover (all while shouting unspeakable things at the TV), had us wondering - was he overdoing it?
Clearly a program like that is designed to overload your body in a very specific way, but sometimes it's hard to know if you've gone too far. There are obvious signs - Sharp pain in the joints, pulled muscles that don't allow you to move, much less walk or, worse, something torn or broken. Other times, you might think - I don't feel 100%, but does that mean I should rest or keep going? If I'm sore, should I exercise or skip it?
Even seasoned exercisers struggle with that question because we often don't know how a workout will go until we try it. There are some signs, however, that may mean you're overdoing it:
- If you find yourself washing your hair by slapping shampoo on the wall and rubbing your head in it (because you can't lift your arms), you overdid it
- If you can't remember the last time you stood up or sat down...or walked...or moved in any way...or stood motionless without pain of some kind, you may be overdoing it
- If you can't remember a morning when you woke up feeling fresh, energetic and rested instead of stiff, sore and tired, you might be overdoing it
- If your 2-year-old child can lap you several times around the block, you might be overdoing it
- If walking to your car to drive to the gym takes you past your anaerobic threshhold, you might be overdoing it
Being stiff, sore and tired are obvious enough, but you may not realize that overtraining can affect your mood too. If you're cranky, constantly tired, depressed, you're having trouble sleeping or you just feel generally low down and dirty, it's possible you're doing too much. Some of my clients have reported feeling like they're getting sick or feeling hungover, but without a fun night of drinking beforehand.
It never hurts to take a day off if you're not sure. We sometimes worry that taking a day off will throw us completely off track. If that's the case, schedule a workout just to keep you on a routine, but make it light - A slow walk on the treadmill, a long stretching session and a soak in the hot tub.
Be sure to share your own experiences. Have you overdone it in the past and, if so, what were the signs? Were you able to bounce back with rest or did you keep going? Leave a comment and tell us about it.