REST WEEK: The Importance of Listening to Your Body

Happy Sunday, everyone! Today I’m going to talk to you a little bit about my REST WEEK, my injury and the incredible importance of listening to you body.

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About 3 weeks ago, I started feeling a really weird slight pain in my back – specifically underneath my shoulder blade on my right side. I ignored the feeling and kept working out – mistake number one. I kept going HARD in my workouts, and ignored the sensation. I knew something was going on but I didn’t want to stop, I didn’t want to admit it to myself. The weeks went on and the pain was subtle but there, not getting too extreme. Then one day, about a week ago, while I was punching and kicking during my fave TurboFire workout, it got REALLY bad – I mean, screaming in pain bad. I completed my workout (mistake number 2) and pushed through the pain. I KNOW I KNOW, I always preach about “listening to your body” and I did the exact opposite. Well, I’m the first to admit that I AM HUMAN and I make mistakes. I didn’t listen to my body when it was whispering to me, asking me to please take a rest and take it easy. Finally it got annoyed with me and decided to start yelling, and I finally had to pay attention! This is how I imagine my body was screaming: HEY LAURA! LISTEN TO ME, MAN! YOU GOTTA TAKE IT EASY, I’M IN PAIN HERE! WHY DON’T YOU JUST CALM DOWN AND TRUST ME??? I NEED A BREAK! YOU’RE AWESOME AND I LOVE AND APPRECIATE YOUR DEDICATION BUT PLEASE, LET ME TAKE A BREAK! 

I went to the osteopath (on a recommendation from one of my coworkers) and I explain to him my situation – my workouts, my previous injury (my sprained ankle from November 2011), my digestion, my lifestyle. I’ve never been to an osteo before, but it was REALLY an awesome experience! He touched my muscles and bones and I felt like he was “sensing” things… it’s hard to explain, you have to experience it, it was way cool! Anyways, he checked my ankle and said it was perfect (YAY!), he realigned my back and my neck with tiny little adjustments, and he pushed my liver a little bit higher (it was misplaced – who would have known?!). He said that the pain could be caused by the liver, or the liver could be caused by the pain. Either way, he said that what he did would help the process along – but my body needs to heal itself.

I couldn’t work out for a week. THIS FREAKED ME OUT – I MEAN FREAKED ME OUT! For those of you who’ve been following me for awhile, you know…. I gotta get my workout in. But I knew that this would do me so much better than harm. So, I took this whole week off to rest my body. And let me tell you… I FEEL AMAZING. The first few days were brutal – it hurt to MOVE, I would scream in pain, and I couldn’t sleep properly. I was restless but also extremely tired and sore. My body and mind were in a constant battle – I WANNA WORK OUT! WELL I WANNA REST! It was craziness. But then… I started to sleep better, moving wasn’t so painful, I got my energy back. Right now I feel 100% perfect – my back doesn’t hurt at ALL, my body feels brand-spanking new and I am ready to get back into it!

LISTEN – sometimes we get caught up in the routine, in the results, in the whirlwind life. I am in love with working out and living without it seems absolutely impossible. But even the most dedicated and the most amazing athletes in the world need their rest. Most of the time (if not ALWAYS), this rest week allows you to come back in the game with even MORE intensity, more energy, more LIFE and MORE INTELLIGENCE. I took this time to read up on exercise, bodybuilding and proper technique. I learned a LOT. I also had several very honest conversations with myself and came up with a few conclusions. Here is a compiled list of what I’ve learned, and what I intend to do with this knowledge:

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ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. It is smarter than you. If you feel little aches and pains, MODIFY or else remove the exercise that bothers you COMPLETELY until you heal.
DON’T listen to that negative voice in your head that says YOU’RE TIRED or YOU CAN’T DO THIS. That’s all bullshit – you CAN do this, it may be hard but it’s worth it.
DO listen to that voice that says HEY MAYBE YOU NEED TO STOP BECAUSE I AM IN EXTREME PAIN. Know the difference!
DO NOT OVERTRAIN – this was my problem. Overtraining means to OVERWORK your body. You don’t need a 2 hour workout every day to get the results you want – in fact, these can cause minor & major injuries (*ahem*) and actually hinder your progress.
WORK OUT SMARTER, NOT HARDER. Do not be afraid of lifting weights – this is the best you can give your body. Not only does it strengthen your muscles, but it strengthens your bones. Lifting heavy is cardio, too, and actually burns more calories in the long run because the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism.
DO NOT OVERDO IT WITH THE CARDIO. Step off the treadmill – do cardio only a few times a week, and make the majority of them HIIT cardios.
HIIT cardio!!!!!!!! It stands for high intensity interval training –  this is the best cardio! It can be compared to sprinting: do 1-3 minutes of HIGH intensity, then 1-3 minutes of steady pace and repeat. These bursts of high intensity cardio burn more fat and actually build muscle, whereas steady-pace cardio can actually burn through muscle. (Good HIIT cardio programs – INSANITY, Focus T25 & TurboFire!)
STOP WORRYING about your calorie intake. YES I still track my calories every day but honestly, as long as you’re eating GOOD, CLEAN, WHOLE foods (NOTHING processed), your body will love it and love you. FOOD doesn’t make you fat – CRAP makes you fat. Refined, processed, man-made foods are the killer, not plant-based foods that come directly from the earth.
Make sure you’re eating ENOUGH. Often times we are overtrained and undernourished. This is BAD. If you are eating less calories than you burn, you won’t lose weight – you will GAIN! Your body is SMART, we’ve gone through this. When you starve yourself, your body will hang onto excess fat and actually store EVERYTHING you eat as fat, because it wants to protect you. So please, EAT.
DO NOT FEAR CARBS. Carbs are your body’s fuel. You NEED carbs to SURVIVE. Carbs keep you satiated, keep you full, fuel your body, build your muscles. There’s a difference between whole food carbs (such as FRUIT, veggies, quinoa, brown rice, etc) and refined carbs (white pasta, white bread, sugar, etc). Know the difference – and EAT the right kind of carbs.
Get enough protein. What is “enough”? Well, I aim for 1g per lb of bodyweight since I want to gain muscle. Look it up, research it, read “THE THRIVE DIET”. Make sure it is good protein – the body best assimilates plant-based protein, so aim for a high intake of that.
DRINK WATER. ALL DAY. EVERY DAY. Stay hydrated. Carry around a water bottle (lululemon makes beautiful ones that are exactly 1L) and refill it throughout the day. We eat a lot of dehydrating foods, so rehydrating our bodies is crucial. I aim for 3-4L per day, but I am a seasoned water-drinker. Take it easy but please, drink. And don’t be alarmed when you constantly have to use the washroom… comes with the territory. #alwayspeeing
GET YOUR SLEEP. Get those 8 hours (or 9, or 10, whatever!), JUST SLEEP.
Work on your self-development. Working on your SELF is the most important thing you can do. You can help others all day long, but in the end, if you don’t help yourself, you won’t get anywhere. Have a dream? Well, to achieve it, to make it your reality, you NEED to focus on yourself. You NEED to write down your dreams and make them goals. You NEED to work hard EVERY DAY to accomplish those goals. Life goes on whether you’re actively working towards your goals or not – don’t let it pass you by. It’s too short.
Be patient with yourself. Be kind. Know that you’re working every day to be better, stronger. Know that you won’t see progress in a day. But every day, you are making progress. Just keep at it.
ASK FOR HELP. Don’t know where to start? Got stuck and don’t know where to go from there? ASK SOMEONE! Find people who motivate and inspire you and ASK THEM for help. See what they do, how they live, how they love, and follow their examples. We’re all unique and we all need different things, but it doesn’t hurt to ask someone for their opinion or for their help. You can only learn.
NEVER STOP LEARNING. Research. Read books. Think. Follow inspiring people on Instagram. Read quotes. Write. Love. Go for a walk. Watch a documentary. READ BOOKS. READ BOOKS. READ BOOKS. (Check out John Maxwell)

Thank you for taking the time to read my post today, if you’ve made it to the end of this article, I want to sincerely thank you. You are AWESOME and you are the BEST! I love you.

If you need any help with ANYTHING, please know that I’m just an email away: verbichlaura@gmail.com, and also don’t forget to add me as a friend on Facebook, follow me on Twitter & on Instagram.

Peace, love and health,
xx Laura

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One thought on “REST WEEK: The Importance of Listening to Your Body

  1. Honestly babe, this post was perfection. I’ve been there. When I was training for a half marathon, I would still run 10-12+ km on the days that were scheduled to only run 2-3 because I got addicted to the feeling of running. Eventually my knee ached to run long distances, short distances, to walk, sit, lie everything…the sad part is I would brace it, take pain killers and run through it because “pain = gain”. Sadly I was mistaken, pain = a torn LCL. Anyway, the moral of the story is we sometimes need to literally fall on our asses before we realize what our body is trying to tell us. I’m glad your injury wasn’t worse, and I can’t wait to see your exercise posts starting up again!
    I’m really bad with monitoring my calories haha but I know I eat within a certain range most days, and if i’m under my body makes sure to tell me in the form of ‘zombie’ haha.

    I’ve been loving your posts! Keep em coming! xxxoxo

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