Why You Need To Rest More*

Wednesday, 27 March 2019, By Chris Foy

It might seem counter-intuitive to pull back on your training to achieve better results but let me tell you, this can often be the case!

There is a biological principle called General Adaption Syndrome or GAS for short and this principal has three stages:

  • The Alarm Stage
  • The Resistance Stage
  • The Exhaustion Stage

The alarm stage is basically the stress that we are putting on the body through exercise and calorie restriction. We do this expecting the body to respond and adapt in a certain way…..if you lift a really heavy weight, your body will go "damn that was heavy, we had better get stronger and put on some muscle so that next time he/she does that, we're equipped to deal with it" If you put yourself into a calorie deficit through less food and more exercise, you expect your body to drop body fat. There are a whole bunch of physiological changes going on during this stage.

After the initial alarm stage, your body returns back down to homeostasis or baseline levels and if given the right amount of rest, sleep and good nutrition, your body should adapt accordingly. The resistance stage is also known as the adaptation stage. So, if all is well then you should be achieving the results you have hoped for.

However, if you are doing too much training, are in too aggressive or long term a calorie deficit with not enough sleep, high external stress levels and poor eating habits then you may be entering into the exhaustion stage! This is where your results may be stalling.

Basically, your body needs the adequate recovery in order to adapt to the stimulus or stress that you are putting it under. Therefore, if you are not getting enough rest and recovery then your body won't adapt accordingly. This is basically a survival mechanism.

So, if your results have slowed and you think that more cardio and less food is the answer then it may not be the case. Sometimes what you need is to actually pull back on the exercise and increase the food in order to get the result. You really need to look at the big picture and assess:

  • Stress levels (physical, psychological, emotional)
  • Sleep (7-9 hours each night?)
  • Nutrition - Are you eating enough to support your needs and are you getting all of the vitamins, minerals and fiber that you need?
  • Recovery/downtime - Are you having rest days? Is the amount of exercise you're doing appropriate for your lifestyle, body and goals?

There are a few things to look at if progress has slowed or stalled for you. Maybe you even need to take a week off!

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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