I've talked about exercise advice before and the fact that giving it is often a bad idea, even if asked. Like the time a bartender, who found out I was a personal trainer, asked how to get rid of the fat around her belly. Right after that, she took a big bite of a fried chicken wing dripping with grease. I suggested that, perhaps, the chicken wings could go, after which she spit in my drink (well, I didn't see her do it, but from the look on her face at my comment, I'm reasonably sure that's what she did).
However, one piece of advice I've never forgotten came from a fellow trainer who told me: Rest before you're tired.
Initially, I thought this was a pretty stupid idea (the fact that I was in my 20s and didn't need much rest plays into that). Why would I want to rest if I'm not tired? There's too much to do! But, over the years, I've come to appreciate the meaning behind those words which, is essentially, finding balance.
To often, we operate at extremes. We're either 'on' or 'off,' with no in between. And, for many of us, we stay 'on' until it's either time for bed or until we're so exhausted, we have no choice.
The same can be true of exercise, pushing our bodies hard because we don't want to waste time. We either go big, or we go home.
The problem with this mentality is that we often miss the nuances of both our physical and mental health - The tweak in the knee here, the ache in the back there, the subtle signs of mental burnout - Clock watching during workouts, procrastinating with other activities, finding excuses to skip our workouts.
These nuances are the first warning signs that we may need a break - physical, mental or both. Ignoring them or working so hard they go unnoticed, is what often leads to the Bermuda Triangle of Exercise: Overtaining, burnout and injury.
Thinking about your exercise life, do you ever push too hard, only to wish you'd paid more attention? Do you take the time to rest before things go too far? Leave a comment and tell us about how you find, or need to find, balance between exercise and rest.