Image by: Raed Qutena
By Jake Bradshaw
Too many men fall victim to exercise overload. In today’s culture we hear so many mixed messages we’re often left confused about which way to turn. Unfortunately many of us go the wrong direction. It’s time to start listening to what your body is saying, otherwise it’s always going to end badly. Here are a few things you should pay attention to:
#1) Surprising Gain In Body Fat
That’s right, you read correctly. It’s hard for exercise gurus to miss a very important factor when it comes to exercise overload. Just because you’ve lost weight doesn’t mean that you’re safe from an increase of body fat. This is the response of prolonged stress by an elevation of stress hormones, such as cortisol.
Exercising, as we know, is stress. That’s the whole point. Unfortunately our body has odd reactions which typically cause bloating, inflammation and body fat increase. Since body fat lives directly beneath the skin, it’s hard to see any muscle definition until you aim to lose it.
Since the body fat hides our muscles from the world, our natural reaction is that we aren’t doing enough at the gym. So as a result we up our game which, obviously, might create more stress therefore being a pointless effort.
*Tip: For the next three weeks or so, do yourself a favor and take a could days off a week. Let your muscles catch up to your fat burning processes. You’ll definitely notice a change.
#2) You’re Getting Sick Easier
One of the hidden consequences of workout overload is a weakened immune system. Make this a rule: anytime your body gets sick through immune system responses, take it as a sign of exhaustion. You probably should calm it down for a bit, otherwise it can take weeks to recover from.
Unless you give your body some time to recover and replenish, it’s going to eventually wear out. Just because you don’t feel sore doesn’t mean your muscles aren’t recuperating. In many cases it takes up to 48 hours for them to fully recover. Pushing the limits forces your body’s organs to give more than they can, which eventually stalls progress.
*Tip: An important part of recovery is replenishment. Fluids containing electrolytes and potassium such as water, coconut water, cherry juice and electrolyte-enhanced sports drinks will help your body recover faster.
#3) Unseen Mood Swings
When our bodies overstressed itself, it’s natural reaction is for our brain’s neurotransmitters to get out of whack. Whether you’re emotionally stressed or physically stressed, the same stress hormones are released whenever your body is overloaded. Depression, anger, confusion, anxiety, insomnia, and irritability are all surefire signs your physiology report isn’t as it should be.
When you’re continuously shocking your body, your brain is going to feel the repercussions eventually. Working out shouldn’t be a torturous physical routine. Lessen the adrenaline a bit and you’ll be much more happier. We’re not cavemen anymore. There’s no need to constantly be in survival mode.
#4) Higher Heart Rate
Most fit people’s resting heart rate is around 50 or 60 bpm or so, while the average person’s is around 72 bpm. If you’re in great shape but your hear rate is significantly higher than expected, it’s probably due to an excessive workout overload.
Be careful with what your buddies tell you. Recent studies have shown that too much cardio might actually damage the heart, especially the right ventricular functions. Too much might overwork it, especially when we set the bar too high.
*Tip: Beware of pre-workout energy shots like NoXplode. Though they’re incredibly beneficial in giving you clean energy, never let it act as a blinder between your body and your head. Even though you might not be feeling stressed, use your head to determine that enough is enough. Your heart can only take so much.
#5) You’re At The Infamous Plateau
When there’s a moment you hit a wall and can’t seem to understand why, it’s probably a result of your body (brain, muscles, bones, fat) colliding together and saying enough is enough. You’ll lose interest quickly, your strength is at it’s minimum, and weakness invades your daily grind.
Most men assume that this is a sign to work even harder, that it’s only their body reminding him he’s just being lazy. This is why many people give up their New Year’s resolution – not that they’re lazy, but because they’ve overstressed their bodies.
Give your body a break and a few days to find its normal routine again. Don’t take it as a defeat, instead take it as a lesson. You’ve now learned your limits. That’s a good thing. Just don’t repeat it because next time probably won’t end as nicely.