One of the hardest lessons for a beginner fitness geek was evaluating my body’s ability to recover from the stress I was putting it under. Natures creatures know this instinctively, but humans create mental images of how we see ourselves to overcome our insecurities. This compensation, results in a “I want it now” mentality. Rest is a waste of time and only slows desired results. Willing to do the work to stress my body with resistance training was second nature to me, but this impatience for success, resulted in my failure to understand how important recovery time is to achieve my goals. Through injury and lack of results, I came to realize my body is like a battery, it only has a certain amount of energy to sustain itself and still have enough resources to allow for growth and repair. Instead of progress, my body was consuming itself for the energy needed to train too frequently.
“A decline in performance should lead to a search for its cause and to a focus on the quality of your recovery. Remember, often doing less is more powerful than training more.”
― Rountree Sage, The Athlete's Guide to Recovery: Rest, Relax, and Restore for Peak Performance
The positive feedback for my initial progress was intoxicating. My narcissism kept me pushing me to the point of injury and total fatigue. The lack of continued progress forced me to examine my training and with experience I am beginning to learn how much stress my body can take before consuming itself. Perseverance and experimentation are the vital to learning how much training vs. recovery you will need. We are all different and have varied mental and physical tolerances. My body is mine and I am taking full responsibility for it. The rewards are great on some days and disappointing on others. It was very difficult for me to take three or even seven days off to allow my muscles, nerves, bones, and connective tissue time to rebuild. Guilt and self-loathing are habitual, so give yourself a break. Habits are created by repetitive behavior so start small and keep applying learned techniques. Above all, understand that your body is unique as well as your emotional condition. Adapt and try new methods and you will discover what will give you the success you desire. My story is unique to me, but the struggle is no greater or less than what many people go through every day.