Sooner or later it’s going to happen.
It’s probably happening right now and you’re just too dedicated to notice.
You have heard the old clichés such as:
Winners never quit.
You have to work hard to get hard.
It’s not exercise unless you feel pain!
Or whatever other macho term is thrown out there.
No matter how excited you are for your diet and exercise plan, you’re not going to be able to keep that energy up forever.
There’s going to come a point in which you will experience some setbacks. I would like to help you see these warnings before you completely crash and fall off your fitness wagon completely.
Here are 6 Warning Signs that you may need a break from working out:
Our workout goal is to always get better with each following exercise session. Getting better can be defined as:
- Adding more weight
- Running a couple seconds longer
- Doing more reps.
Your health and body improves, as you get better at exercise. If you haven’t been doing that, you’re just spinning your wheels at the gym.
When a person continues to work out for weeks and months, eventually they’ll encounter a phenomenon called overtraining (aka burnout). Overtraining is easy to misdiagnose.
When you first start exercising you quickly experience fatigue and soreness due to your body getting adapted to new stressors and exercise. That initial training week can falsely be interpreted as overtraining.
True burnout happens anywhere from 6 weeks to four months of non-stop continuous effort. We’re talking giving it your all for each workout session. When working so hard for so long, your body will naturally start to break down.
Lifting weights that use to be easy a few weeks ago, now become increasingly difficult even when the weight is lowered. Yes, It’s true that your lifts are not always expected to increase every single week.
But when you find yourself stuck lifting the same weights for the same reps for several weeks, that’s a sign that you need to take a break because your body could be experiencing burnout.
If you are dragging yourself to the gym with no purpose, you’re lacking focus. Lacking focus makes you forget why you’re truly going to the gym in the first place. If you have no passion for lifting weights and exercising, you’re not going to try as hard.
Keep that passion!
It’s critical to have passion so you can get past sticking points and continue to grow.
Gym Attitude Impacts Diet Attitude
If you don’t care about exercising, why should you care about your diet? When we fail to do one, we typically start abusing the other. To have a good relationship, you have to treat both with respect. If you neglect one, the other is going to start suffering.
If you stop exercising, then the great results you get by eating healthy will not seem as important as before. When you’re kind to your gym time, you’ll find it’s easier to be kind to your diet.
Don’t underestimate this complicated relationship!
Think About Dieting 24/7
Being obsessed with your diet is never a good thing. Your body is already stressed from lifting weights and exercising. Adding more stress such as worrying sets you up for self-sabotage.
A diet should not define your life. Your life can still carry on despite what you eat. When we make our lives all about our diets, we give the diet all the power.
Our days start to become much more miserable. We start obsessing over the things we can’t eat vs. the things we can. Like a fiend, we start paying more attention to the scale. If that scale doesn’t say what we want it to say, we’ll second-guess our diets and curse at ourselves.
Those who understand diet is just a means to the end and don’t obsess over it will have a much relaxed journey than those who obsess.
Normally the longer you’re on your plan, the more you’re going to be on a diet which means you start to wonder if it’s even worth it. Once you become obsessed with it, that’s a great sign that you need to chill out.
Not Sleeping Enough
If you’re under sleeping and going to the gym frequently, you’re hurting your body. I know it seems like there are never enough hours in the day, but you have to dedicate 7+ hours towards sleep.
Getting sleep is what allows your body to repair itself. Sleep aids in muscle growth and fat loss.
If you’ve been suffering from lack of sleep for so long, maybe it is a great time to take that break and focus on just sleeping more instead of going to the gym for a few days.
When you workout nonstop for weeks, the chances of you getting injured increase. As the workout sessions increase, it becomes easier to develop sloppy exercise techniques. All it takes is one bad second to equate to months of back, shoulder, knee, and etc. pain!
Don’t let the injury put you on the sidelines. If you find yourself having lots of minor injuries, take that break BEFORE those small injuries become major.
What Should You Do
If you are suffering from any of the above warning signs, all you need to do is take one week off from training. This off week is simply called a deload week.
During a deload week you can still go to the gym, but instead of your normal weight percentage, just decrease the weight by 50% and do 8-12 reps of your normal exercises.
That weight is light enough where you’re going through the exercise movements but still giving your body a break by reducing the workout intensity.
If all you’ve been doing is lifting weights for the past weeks, maybe take this week to do some much needed stretching. If you’ve been neglecting stretching, start incorporating it! Stretching helps with avoiding injuries. Learn a few stretches or take some yoga classes.
Additionally, use a deload week to remind yourself about your goal. If you didn’t have a fitness goal before, take the time to come up with a six-week goal.
Let the six weeks be another marker for yourself to check in on your progress. Possible take a deload week on your next cycle’s week six and repeat as you keep pursuing your fitness goals.
Taking a break is one of the most helpful ways you can accomplish your overall goal while still keeping your drive!
Try it for yourself!