Recovery is a scary word

The last few days? weeks? I have been really struggling with my moods and my workouts. It started with exhaustion. I’d wake up feeling completely drained even though I’d slept through the night (full 8 hours). No focus. No energy. A constant feeling of sleepiness and a sense of general malaise. At first I thought I might be getting a cold because Sam had a cold. Then I thought the fatigue might be related to seasonal changes so I started going outside more. Then I found myself getting really frustrated during my workouts and with my total lack of progress. I feel heavy and my muscles are getting sore more easily than usual. Now I am having trouble sleeping even though I feel utterly exhausted when I get into bed. The other day I was doing a workout video and the woman was saying that no matter how sore, tired, sick she is she always pushes through and gets her daily workout in. For a lot of people working out hard daily and persevering through injury and illness is a source of great pride. But it got me wondering are we abusing our bodies? By the end of her video I was convinced that she was over-training. I then had to ask myself if I might also be over-training since I was right there with her feeling totally deflated. I looked into it and some things stood out. I often do HIIT back to back but really you aren’t meant to do it more than 3 times a week. Even on my rest day when I do just yoga I tend to pick very challenging yoga routines. I tried to build balance into my schedule by alternating intense workouts with recovery-style workouts but each week I found myself reducing the lower intensity workouts and adding in more HIIT routines. I was also increasing the length of my workouts.

I tried increasing my workout intensity and duration. I tried cutting calories. I tried adding calories/ snacks encase I was undereating (I experienced a small loss from this) but really nothing has worked. The only thing I haven’t tried is giving my body time to recover from my workouts. I am absolutely terrified by this prospect. While I might not lose weight easily, I gain very easily. I am terrified that if I give myself a week to recover I will have gained 10 lbs by the end of it. Losing 10 lbs would literally take years. In the past my solution has always been push through, work harder until the body is broken down to such a point that it absolutely cannot hold onto the weight. Well I did this a few years ago and I was literally sick for an entire year as a result. Pneumonia, chronic diarrhea, bacterial infections, seizures, severe Depression etc. etc. Eventually I became unable to exercise much less operate in a normal day to day fashion. So while the words “rest” and “recovery” fill me with terror and could result in me falling off the wagon altogether given my extreme personality, this week I think I need to take a step back.

Now I am not going to not exercise but I have formulated a recovery routine for this week which I hope will restore my energy/health. I do need to do yoga because without it I literally end up looking like Quasimodo and the pain is unbearable. I am an extremely sedentary person outside of exercise. I mean I clean the house but as a writer I spend a lot of time hunched up over a screen hence scheduling in walks and midday stretching. I am thinking of doing this routine once every 2 months as a counter balance for my craziness. The week following my recovery week will hopefully be more balanced as well. There will be 3 days of HIIT spaced out, 1 day of Pilates or the like, and 3 recovery-style workouts. If all goes well in these 2 weeks and I have not ballooned up in weight and I am feeling better I will redo the format of my other workouts in a similar fashion. If I do this who knows I might even have the energy to do the gardening I never do. I am scared but watching this video helped put things in perspective.

My Recovery Week

Monday- 45 minutes of yoga (by yoga I mean the gentle stretching Hatha-style yoga), 15 minute walk

Tuesday- 30 minutes yoga, calm 30 minute walk

Wednesday- 30 minutes yoga, Fitness Blender 3 Day Flexibility Challenge Day 1 (I did this one before and thought the gentle flow movements were very soothing)

Thursday- 30 minutes yoga, 30 minutes yoga/simple mobility exercises

Friday- 30 minutes yoga, Dynamix (P90X3 stretching/mobility)

Saturday- 30 minutes yoga (balance focus), 30 minute walk

Sunday- 30 minute yoga. Fitness Blender’s Relaxing Stretching Workout for Flexibility and Stress Relief

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