This week has been rough on my body. I have been feeling hungry every hour of the day and a bit more sore from an intense ab/back work out I did on Tuesday. Typically, I would have pushed through the soreness, fatigue, and hunger and still hit the gym. The results would probably have been even more exhaustion and binging when I returned home on bread, snacks and delicious chocolate.
Learning to listen to your body is one of the most important things in your fitness journey, specially when you have a health condition. I use to think I was being weak and making excuses, and would then push myself to extremes at the gym and wouldn’t see results. In reality, I wasn’t getting the proper nutrition or the rest my body needed to be able to burn fat or build the muscle.
With an autoimmune disease, you have to slow down, get plenty of rest, and proper nutrition in order for everything to work as planned. I have figured out that shorter work outs with higher repetitions and lower weights work best for me. I don’t feel completely drained and I still get a great work out in. Instead of being at the gym for an hour and half, I spent half that time and don’t feel like I’m dyeing by the end. It’s been hard to change my training mentally because I love working out and lifting weights, but I have to listen to my body and know that this is what’s best for me, even though my brain says ” keep going! You feel fine!”
Rest days are probably one of the most skipped days in fitness. People always think “I don’t need a rest day, those are for the weak minded”. Well, you’re wrong! Your body needs rest days to repair and develop that muscle you just destroyed at the gym in order to grow bigger and stronger. How the heck do you think make “gains” ? Rest days are also key to avoiding injuries. When your body is tired and sore, you have a higher chance of straining, pulling or tearing a muscle. Listen to your body when you’re sore and take a rest day! You’ll feel a thousand times better the next day, and even hit the gym with more power and determination, I know I do!
Lastly, listen to your belly, but use your brain to make smart nutritional decisions. If you’re hungry every hour of the day, maybe your body is trying to tell you something. First drink water, your body could be thirsty and confusing it for hunger. If you’re still hungry, try to make a healthy snack that will be filling but not just full of carbs. Perhaps a protein shake with strawberries or a rice cake with peanut butter (my favorite). Wait at least 20 minutes for your belly to digest the food and if your still hungry then go for a walk or play with your dog, it could just be boredom too.
Listening to our bodies and trying to figure out what we really need, is no cake walk but its possible. Give it a try!