This has been an active rest/recovery week for me. Last week I was pretty tired a lot, and on Saturday I went to barbell club and was missing pretty much every lift. The training program I was using was on a competition mesocycle with lots of heavy singles. That wasn’t really what I needed at all – I still have so much technique development to do.
My coach looked at my program last weekend and agreed that it was way too much volume. He put together a new one for me to follow. I went to start it on Tuesday and my body basically laughed at me. I knew then that I needed a few days off to recover. Even though I haven’t done any squats this week, my legs still felt like I had. I’ve been feeling a little run down in general too. Kiddo and I both have a slight cough – I think we might be having some allergy symptoms. Appetite-wise, nothing sounds good. I’m having zero desire to cook anything. My CSA veggies are looking sad in the fridge.
So on Tuesday and Thursday, instead of lifting, I took my kiddo on trail walks. The first half of the walks are usually pretty easy. Then kiddo gets tired and goes on my back, so the second half is basically light backpacking. Mentally, the break from weightlifting was refreshing. For the first time since I started 4 months ago, I was not looking forward to going to barbell club on Saturday, and considered skipping this week for the extra recovery.
I noticed that this feeling of burnout scared me a little. What if I was getting sick of weightlifting? What if I didn’t have any form of activity I wanted to do? What if it was about to get much harder to maintain the habits I’ve been establishing this year? I’m always citing studies about most weight loss programs failing over the long term. While I’m not on a weight loss program, what if that was true for habits as well?
Last night I still felt like I was coming down with something and so I made a definite plan to skip this morning’s barbell club. I figured I’d finish out the recovery week and start the new program on Tuesday. When I woke up this morning, I still operated as though I was going to skip it. I got ready for my day as though I wasn’t going to go. I made a grocery list. I was planning on walking to the grocery store and doing the shopping, just to get a bit of movement in.
As I got ready though, I suddenly realized that I DID want to go to barbell club today. I just didn’t want to lift anything heavy. I wanted to use the training bar and work on patterning technique, without taxing my body too much and without kiddo running around underfoot. I had been going to barbell club every Saturday for about 4 months, and it just felt like the natural thing to do, even if I didn’t want to lift heavy today. I was happy to realize that all the habits I had built were not going away. At least not this week.
So I went to barbell club, and used very very light weights and worked on tall snatches, hang snatches, tall cleans, and hang cleans. Since the weight was so light, I was really able to focus on complete hip extension. I felt satisfied and productive and I enjoyed it. I was glad to work on an area that needed attention, without having to also having to focus on the heavy weight.
So the lessons I took away from today:
- Habits aren’t disappearing overnight! and
- By not pressuring myself into going when I wasn’t feeling it, I was able to realize what kind of movement I DID want to do today. I had a positive movement experience instead of a begrudging one or a not-at-all one. This no-pressure approach feels good!
And, that’s my training log for the week!
5 thoughts on “Active Listening and Active Rest”
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I have similar thoughts sometimes when I don’t feel like doing a lifting workout. “Does this mean I’m ‘over’ lifting? Will I never want to do it again?” it’s kind of silly to think that way, but what you said about tying it in with weight loss attempts- it probably comes from the yo-yo dieting (and fitness with it) for so much of my life. I’m so used to eventually getting burnt out and wanting to stop.
True! These fears are probably holdovers from diet culture.
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