Knowing When To Slow Down

Exercise does amazing things for your mind, body and soul but it’s important to know when to slow down. We all love high intensity workouts and breaking a sweat because it makes us feel good and it burns fat but there is a fine line between training like a beast and over-training.

Being sore after a workout is normal but when you are feeling constantly fatigued, extensive pain and soreness that never seems to go away, an irregular heartbeat or just general weakness and no progress, your body is telling you it’s time to take a step back and slow down.

Exercise should be regarded as tribute to the heart. Working out releases cortisol, the hormone released into your body when you are under stress. Cortisol is cortisol so the stress from a workout is the same stress from your job and life. If you don’t slow down, you will build up chronically high levels of cortisol and increase your risk for serious health issues. It’s extremely important to listen to your body when it’s telling you that it’s too exhausted from any stress-inducing activities such as work and exercise— if you ignore those signs and keep on going, you’re only asking for injuries and sickness.

I can’t even begin to describe the past month for me but unsurprisingly, I was still able to commit to my daily workouts and I kept them all INTENSE. That is until this week. It doesn’t help that I also got my wisdom teeth removed last Saturday but when I started working out again on Tuesday, my body totally failed me.. I was burnt out. Then on Wednesday, I attempted to go through my with planned leg day but it got dangerous when I got lightheaded… the next day I was sore all over and I barely did anything! My warm up weights were already killing me, my muscles were super tense, I had fatigue that never went away throughout the week, I could barely hold myself up while sitting at my desk because everything was so uncomfortable and then right when 6pm hit on Friday, my throat got dry and sore, my sinuses went all crazy and I knew I was getting sick. Ugh.

Next week, I’ll be listening to my body and slowing down my workouts. I won’t stop cold-turkey because there is no way I was going to sit at my desk for 14 hours and not do any physical activity. The gym is my escape!! I’ll just continue with easy spins on the bike, lifted light weights and LOT of stretching and recovery but probably nothing intense and no HIIT! Sigh.

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    Incorporate Stretching Into Your Routine

    Stretching |I Fucking Love Fitness

    Old pic because I don’t have time to take selfies at the gym for this blog anymore but I’m still stretching my hip flexors like crazy. I wish they would just loosen up!!

    You should be treating your body like a temple and one way to do it is to take care of it and let it recover properly…

    …whether it be eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep or to incorporate stretching into your routine. A problem I have is not having enough finding time to stretch, which I think is so important for my body so that it can relieve all the tensions in my muscles that are causing so much discomfort in my body. Plus it’s feels SO good. I don’t understand why people don’t stretch!

    If you are very active, you may suffer from a lot of annoying pain and muscular imbalances.

    I have really tight IT bands, hip flexors and calves (in fact, all muscles in my legs constantly seem to be tight), my VMO is constantly sore, I have flat feet and all of this causes my knees to occasionally hurt which really interferes with my cycling. My back also gets tired really easily and my shoulders and rotator cuffs are constantly tense (and having a desk job does not help). This is from a combination of a lot of workout, too much cycling and having to sit at my desk for hours at a time.

    Lately work has been exhausting, despite working in front of a computer. Although, I’m still finding time to escape to the gym (whoever says they are too busy is just plain lazy), having to sit for such a long period of time makes me feel like my body is slowly dying. Especially when my muscles are already filled with so much tension due to my love for fitness! Luckily, I find many ways to incorporate stretching into your routine:

    • Instead of resting in between sets at the gym, foam roll and do mobility exercises. Only do static stretches when your muscles are warmed up.
    • ALWAYS stretch and roll out those tight muscles after a workout. I aim for at least 20 minutes and I consider that my “yoga.”
    • Stretch and foam roll while watching TV. I “force” myself to watch an hour or so or TV on some days only so I can lie there on my yoga mat, stretch and foam roll. It is really the only time I have to “relax” and do this because I’m usually up and about or sitting in front of my computer.
    • Golf balls are sooo awesome. I keep them everywhere (even in my purse) just in case I want to lie or sit on one to really target a trigger point. Seriously everyone… GOLF BALLS. You will not regret it.
    • Stretch while sitting at your desk and working (videos after the jump). Yes, people walk by and give me weird looks but I really don’t care!



      Freezing Winter Rides: Awesome Time to Cycle

      I Fucking Love Fitness | Winter Cycling

      The week before I was still cycling in a few super warm dri-fit layers and a zip-up but a week later, the temperatures dropped so much I had to pull out my snowboarding jacket and a face mask.

      Vancouver was hitting record lows all of last week and it was the coldest weather we’ve had in a while. Nothing crazy as the rest of Canada is experiencing, but anytime it drops below 0, we all literally think we are going to freeze to death.

      BUT it was some of the best cycling weather ever! The first day last week it hit  -7°C, I actually chickened out (and got lazy) but I immediately regretted it when we drove by dozens of cyclists commuting to work. Of course, I bundled up and hopped on my bike to get to work the rest of the week.

      “Once you start cycling, the city opens up for you. No longer are you fighting it, hot and frustrated; no longer are you at the mercy of bus drivers, roadworks, decisions made by others and over which you have no control. Believe me, once you’ve tasted this freedom, you’re hooked.” – Deborah Moggach

      So WHY is it awesome to cycle in the winter?

      • You know exactly how to dress. I always found the best times to cycle is when it’s really hot or really cold. In the spring and fall, I always worry about over or under-dressing but when it’s really cold, I throw on a bunch of dri-fit layers, my snowboarding jacket, a face mask and I know I still won’t overheat. Plus my snowboard jacket has so many pockets. I love pockets.
      • It’s cold but it’s not raining. It’s beautiful out, the sun is kissing your face and you get to share the road with dozens of cyclists living a wonderfully healthy lifestyle.
      • You don’t sweat. And you won’t smell like a wet rag when you get to work.
      • You seriously feel so fucking reinvigorated afterwards. Best feeling ever.

      I don’t actually own much cycling-specific winter riding gear. I have some but I prefer wearing my general fitness gear because I haven’t found much cycling gear that I really love and want to spend so much on. These days, I double-up my gloves and leggings (non-padded since I’m only commuting) and throw on my super warm Roxy boarding jacket. When I snowboard, I only wear one dri-fit top and my jacket so that should keep me warm enough for cycling.

      The other secret is to keep your face warm and a face mask is much better than a regular scarf because it will stay in place. When you breath through material, the air warms up a little before entering your lungs, making the frigid morning rides more enjoyable. Well, I have to admit sometimes I feel like I’m suffocating because you have to take deeper breaths when riding up hills but it’s much better than looking like Rudolph when you get to your destination.

      Last Friday, I actually had to throw on my thick boarding gloves over a fleece pair because my fingers always gets cold no matter what… which resulted in me cycling really slowly because I was scared I couldn’t brake in time if I had to. My fingers always freezes and doesn’t warm up until 15 minutes into my ride but I have no choice but to suck it up.

      Do you cycle in the winter?