Many of us today are having that “Welcome To Testing Week” moment where you woke up today and realized that our bodies aren’t exactly feeling like we wanna go climb up a mountain today.
What the heck happened? What is going on? And how can ya feel better to finish out the rest of the testing week the way ya started!
Your Central Nervous System Took A Beating!
When we talk about making weight-lifting cycles and using progressive overloading (check out our blog post on that HERE) we aren’t just talking about increasing load and intensity. We are also increasing the amount of abuse our central nervous system takes.
Each and every one of us has a state where our bodies are happiest. Where we can wake up, live our day, and go back home without feeling challenged. For someone who is untrained, this might be just getting up and going to work, eating twice a day, and taking a short walk on a Saturday. For you, this could be working out at 90% effort on Monday through Friday on top of all that. You have a little soreness and you move on. That soreness is your body’s normal adapting to change and going beyond your equilibrium but to the extent, it causes a slight change that you can recover from within a day or two.
With something like testing week, we are actually pushing ourselves WAY beyond those comfort zones and causing our bodies to adapt to tougher tasks. The 1 Rep maxes, Fran, Concept 3, and everything else this week is having you mentally and physically push beyond where you normally would be at.
When you lift more weight than you normally would (testing a 1 rep max) and try to move faster than you normally would (testing MetCons) to beat old scores, you’re gonna put much more strain on your central nervous system!
Why Does My CNS Feel Like It’s Taking A Beating?
While we work out our body uses energy that is made up of glycogen (stored glucose) from fat stores and food. It does this by taking the ATP, (Adenosine Triphosphate) and breaking it apart into ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate) and Phosphorus (This can also happen from ADP to AMP (Adenosine Monophosphate). The energy released from the breaking apart of that phosphorus bond is what allows you to move your arms and it what is allowing me to type this post right now!
When we exercise we are burning through A LOT of ATP. To top it off, since our cells don’t store it very well we are have to start making a lot of it to satiate the demand we are putting on our bodies. This is partially why you feel so dang tired after a MetCon.
At the same time, your body has also dealt with quite a bit of trauma from how hard you pushed during those weightlifting sessions and MetCons. Your muscles in your legs are frayed, your circulatory system had to move a ton of blood, and your mind has been stimulated to the point that you’re just lying there on the floor wondering when your feet arms will stop feeling T-Rexy (new word for the win!)
Your central nervous system (your brain and spine) view this ALL as stress and right now your body is telling you to help it out!
How To Help Your Body Recover During A Tough Training Week!
As you know from listening to you coaches, our bodies are quite terrible at fixing themselves in terms of maintaining mobility. To repair damaged muscles, our body gets us feeling tight. To stop us from going for another workout we feel exhausted.
This is awesome to an extent, but what this body imposed relaxation is doing is it’s telling you not to do the one thing that could help you recover most, get your circulatory system moving!
Your blood isn’t just some red liquid that keeps you alive. It is how your body delivers nutrients through out your various limbs and systems! When we get tight and our heart rate is low, it’s harder for your body to deliver the tools you make for recovery to the right areas (such as protein for rebuilding muscle and carbs for rebuilding energy stores!)
Something that can help this is light and relaxing exercise (it’s why we have recovery WODs)! If you’ve trained for 3 days in a row and are feeling the beat down, going for a 30 minute walk or a light bike ride can really help flush the system and get blood moving throughout your body. The key is to be able to hold a normal conversation while you do it, push any harder and you’re just gonna exacerbate the exhaustion you already feel! Just a long steady state of motion can go a long way!
Along with this, as your muscles get tight they can actually “trap” blood (trapped blood is thrown around a lot making people think that blood is stopped inside their body. It’s more just slowed down. If it were stopped you might have compartment syndrome and should seek medical attention instead of reading this email).
This restricted flow of blood throughout the muscles can make it harder for your circulatory system to do its job! Something like foam rolling, getting a massage, or doing a stretch session for about 20 minutes can really help your body out in terms of recovery! Getting those tight muscles to relax can help blood flow get to more parts of your muscles and improve your recovery!
Will I Feel 100% The Next Day If I Do This?
But, you should feel much better than if you hadn’t done any recovery at all!
Chances are if you do some light cardio for 20-30 minutes and stretch/roll out for another 20 minutes after, the next day you could feel less tight and, once ya warm up, you’ll feel like you can pop some serious weight again!!
The day off from lifting heavy can give you a chance to replenish energy stores used from those tough lifts and your recovery efforts can help your body recover more efficiently so that when you wake up for that Friday PR Session.
Then when you make your lift and attack that MetCon, you’ll understand the meaning of “take care of your body and it will take care of you!”
If you aren’t a Vegvisir Athlete and would like to start your fitness journey, CLICK HERE to talk to one of our coaches today (: