Written by Emily Delpero | Academy Of Lions Coach | Toronto

As Lions, we constantly push ourselves to get to the gym and work hard, we even beat ourselves up about it, literally.

So now you’re here! And the list of skills and strengths you’d like to achieve are growing. You’re working in the gym almost every day because of these new goals, great work.

But let’s talk about the other side of all that hard work - How to know when to ease up?

Well, now you are facing a plateau in your lifts and are starting to feel sore almost all the time, short-fused and fatigued. On top of this you get sick or experience an injury. You might even be putting on unwanted fat or losing muscle mass.

How is this back-slide happening?

Reflexively you might think “I’m not working hard enough” or “I need to spend more time in the gym”, quite the opposite. All those changes speak to an over-taxed nervous system and chronically elevated cortisol levels, a.k.a burn out.

The thing is, rest contributes as much to fitness as our time in the gym. When you are training intensely in addition to balancing the demands of school, work, family, and other obligations, it’s amazing how fast our bodies can crash. This is especially important as we head into the holiday season which can place a lot of extra demands on the body and mind – parties, in-laws, travel, and expenses – so consider building in a little more room for recovery this holiday season! 

To avoid, prevent, or rectify these burn-out symptoms, try to incorporate these options to minimize the “loss of fitness” that occurs from chronic stress and over-training:

  1. Take full rest days, at least 1 day a week.

  2. Take half-rest days. Do other things you like to do! Yoga! Spinning! Running! Hiking! Climbing! Cyclic, low-mid intensity work. This switches up the demands on your nervous system and works to charge it up again.

  3. Try walking slowly to destinations moderately far away. 30-45 min of steady state walking keeps your body sensitive to the stress hormones like adrenaline, which help your metabolism to speed up and respond to daily stressors.

  4. Always a little plug for good nutrition here, check out what our in-house nutritionist (Nathalie Niddam) has to say or flag down any of the Academy’s coaches with your questions!

Train hard, Rest hard… ‘tis the season!

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