Tuesday 22 September 2015

Over-Worked & Under-Rested

   Ohhh I wish I could say this was the first time it had happened, but it's not.
   I've worked myself to a migraine - that might not sound like much of a big deal, but I've been over-exercising and it's led to me having to take a whole week off while I've been swamped by migraines and dizziness. And yes, I've been eating right - I've been eating clean, I've not been cutting down on carbs, protein, fat or anything, and I've not been under eating, either. It's all entirely exercise-based.
   Basically, when my parents went away last week and I had the house to myself, free from any carer's duties, I decided to make the most of the freedom and exercise every evening as well as every morning - I'd do strength every other morning, and then cardio on in-between mornings, and then an extra 20 minutes of cardio in the evening. Seeg warned me it wouldn't do me any good, but I figured 5 days couldn't kill me.
   No, perhaps it wouldn't, but just one day resulted in a migraine.
   And like I said above, it's not the first time I've done this. I tried it before about a month ago, and while I got through the week with no trouble except a complete lack of energy by the end of the final day, I then got 3 migraines in 5 days, and then another after a few days' break. I had planned to take the following week off completely even before I started because I knew it would be tough, it was an experiment, and while I lost half an inch off of my waist in that week, the after-effects that followed during the rest-week were just not worth it.
   So I decided that this time I would try it again, but eat a little more and actually choose less-demanding workouts. I still planned to do strength every other morning and fill the rest with cardio - the evenings were just going to be dance or kickboxing - but I only managed one day before I couldn't go on.
   Monday the 14th I did level 1 of the Extreme Shed & Shred, and then 12 hours later I did 20 minutes of kickboxing. The next morning I did 25 minutes of Kukuwa, then I went walking around Puzzlewood with Lucy and Seeg (it was so awesome), and then, while we were at dinner, I was hit by a migraine. I was sat in the restaurant - fortunately the only time I've ever been out of the house while struck by a migraine, but since I never leave that's hardly surprising - and we'd just ordered, and suddenly my right side was blind. It lasted half an hour before the pain kicked in. Not impressed.

   I took the rest of the week off. Migraines frighten me, they're completely disabling, I have to sleep it off for 2 hours and then I still have a headache for the rest of the day that is so bad I can't look downwards. And, it seems, if I don't sleep it off I get extremely light-headed. Fortunately Lucy is simply the best friend anyone could have and she led me by the hand to the loos because I was certain I was going to fall over. I admittedly didn't confess to a migraine until we'd just about finished dessert, and even then it was only because Lucy said the words "it's not a migraine, is it?"

   So, suffice it to say, I'm quite convinced I've been over-working myself. I do think I was ill last week, though, because it took about 4 days for my muscles to stop aching and when we were walking in the forest my core was hurting a fair bit from all the balancing and uneven ground, and I'm fitter than either Seeg or Lucy, so that can't have helped.
   But even despite being over that and having had a week off, I'm suddenly finding exercise hard. Push ups are a challenge; my stamina has dropped, and while I can still use the same weight kettlebells for the moves, if I try anything else, I struggle and have to turn the weights down. Muscle memory, evidently, which means it's time to move away from kettlebells again (I'm going to just work through random JM DVDs for the rest of the month, I think).
   So everything is a challenge, and given that I've stopped losing, I'm hoping that returning to basics that I'm suddenly struggling with will give me a kick up the backside and give me some results again.

   But it does go to show how over-exercising can be damaging. By pushing myself too hard I've fallen backwards. Slow and steady doesn't always win the race, but recognising that 30 minutes of compound moves and MRT training for just 3 non-consecutive days a week is enough and you don't have to work yourself ill.
   Exercise is body damage, after all. All it does is use up energy and tear your muscles. It's only when you stop and let your body recover and repair that it starts to change, in terms of both strength and shape. It's not the act of lifting a weight that leads to lean muscle, it's when the body repairs in an attempt to make sure it can do the move better and without damaging itself next time that makes the changes you want.
   The sooner I realise that the better. It's easy to say it; it's another thing to actually absorb it.


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