SUNSHINE WHILST THE CATS (CLIENTS) ARE AWAY
Majorca and yours truly has been the surprise winner of the September client of the month! I know this sounds crazy, but the vast majority of my clients have been away in September so I decided to book a quick getaway for some last minute sunshine rays of vitamin D before the English winter settles in.
And beautiful Majorca did not disappoint. Glorious sunshine, warmth, food and lovely friendly people. I do love this Spanish island.
A long way from personal training at Stanza Fitness in Bath, taking a break enabled me to recharge my batteries, read a great book – The Wheat Belly , soak up sun rays and have a well-earned rest from exercise.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A BREAK
I’m a great believer in rest several times a year from scheduled training. Why?
Well, the body needs to recover from the daily grind of hard sessions at the gym. Some years ago, I read an article about the top bodybuilders having a week off training every 10 weeks of intense exercise. And I have to say that for mind, soul and body, I agree. You feel great after a break and I’m always itching to get back and train having been invigorated from a rest.
So what happens when you go on holiday and take a break without the pressures of everyday life.
HEAL THE HEART
Wear and tear of years of heavy-duty workouts, especially those long endurance sessions can weaken heart muscles predisposing you to ventricular arrhythmia.
Endurance athletes such as rowers, cyclists and runners can show signs of fibrosis (scarring) of heart tissue which can weaken heart muscles causing the heart to beat erratically. This is likely due to the damage of the right chamber of the heart.
And avoiding excessive exercise is one way to fix this issue.
But that’s difficult if you compete. So ensuring you engage in good warm-ups, cool-downs and do not add excessive volume to numerous high intensity workouts will help your heart. And do include recovery days and recovery weeks.
Many athletes and gym goers spend lots of time engaging in excessive carbohydrate laden foods which play havoc with the body’s insulin levels. Filling up with sugary foods pre workout and then hitting the energy bars, gels, drinks, pizzas, pastas, muffins, bread and all in the belief that you’ve earned it. WRONG!
Unfortunately, you will respond by producing higher levels of insulin from the pancreas to help the high blood sugar in the body (glucose) find its way into the muscles. Any excess blood sugar gets stored in the fatty tissue around the belly.
So on holiday, I aim for those good healthy fats from the Mediterranean such as cheeses, oily fish, olives, olive oil, nuts, fresh organic locally sourced vegetables and avocados. Staying way from carbohydrates is easy as there is no need for them when I’m not exercising.
My pancreas and digestive system now have a chance to rest.
Oh and the red wine but that’s another story!
Exercise can increase production of free radical damage in the body. This happens when oxygen is used to convert energy into ATP for muscle contractions. The enhanced free radical oxidisation causes oxidative damage to muscles and other tissues. Intense and high volume exercise can cause significant free radical damage. That is why rest and diet is so important.
Continuation of oxidative stress from free radicals damages cellular proteins, membranes and genes and leads to chronic systemic inflammation.
So resting and allowing the body to have a break from free radical damage is vitally important for health. In addition, increase your anti-oxidant foods such as berries, nuts and dark leafy greens. Indulge in these foods.
The adrenal glands produce cortisol, norepinephrine and DHEA hormones which allow your body to adapt to stressful situations.
If the body becomes too stressed, the adrenal glands can become exhausted and the hormones they produce become depleted. This results in serious deficiencies such as testosterone deficiencies in men and oestrogen dominance in women. These deficiencies are linked to sleepless nights, low libido, illness and overtraining.
Excessive wear and tear is caused by excessive exercise. I certainly don’t want a knee or hip replacement.
Avoiding exercising in one plane of motion is easy unless you are a competitive runner, cyclist, rower or swimmer. So mixing up your training by doing other activities and ensuring adequate rest periods throughout the year is vital to the heath of your body. And a good diet.
It’s time to stop being selfish with exercise and spend time with the ones you love and care for.
Give them 100% of your time. We can all become obsessive with our training. Wanting to get that extra session in at the cost of spending some quality time with your family and loved ones.
And by resting when you’re on holiday, you will refresh your mind, body, soul and relationships. There’s nothing better than spending that gym time guilt free with your special person or/and family and friends.
A healthy relationship has so many positive effects on a healthy body so spend time going for walks, swimming and playing in the sea. Eat together without the tv, computer or phone distracting your positive energy.
SO EXERCISE BUT REST TOO
A lifetime of physical activity is very important to your physical and mental health.
However, overdoing it and not planning in rest weeks after 2-3 months is a mistake and one that can have a negative impact on your life.
I finished my holiday, refreshed physically, mentally and emotionally ready for the onslaught of the next 3 months at the British Indoor Rowing Champs in London in December. It’s going to get hard. The training will be intense. There will be some long and hard sessions.
There will be tiredness.
However, I have scheduled a mini break half way through the training block with a trip down to Cornwall and then a week off straight after the race to rest and recuperate.
Life is good, as long as it’s balanced.