Whether you’re a recreational athlete, amateur athlete, professional athlete, or military personnel, we all have the same desire – to increase our strength, power, stamina, work capacity, and/or endurance. We have a need to be better than the day before, and we have a training structure and goal in mind.
But unfortunately obstacles always tend to get in the way; and what we want to accomplish, and how we want to accomplish it may get a little fuzzy. It’s called being human, and when you put the training aspect into it, it’s something I like to call, “The Burden of Constant Fitness.”
This “Burden of Constant Fitness” is defined exactly as it sounds, the hardship of constantly keeping up with physical training, whether it’s for your job or own personal reasons. It is the reason we take days off and it’s the reason some of us work out 3 days a week as opposed to 4 or 5. Coming from a military background, it was my job to stay physically fit, just as a professional athlete’s job is to stay physically fit. We had a demanding job and needed to perform in physically demanding conditions and in a variety of environments. However, when you start getting more into recreational and amateur athletes, this burden becomes more prominent. But it’s there no matter what job you have or sport you play. If you are motivated to physically train, training and everyday life begin to butt heads. They both want to be numero uno, and it seems like you have to decide who’s going to take a back seat.
Mentally, it can mess with us. We perceive ourselves as not being good enough, so we must train more. This training affects our social life, family life, even our downtime. But physically, we are just fine. You can miss a training session, and then a few days later pick it back up again. Hey guess what – your muscles grow when you rest – surprise! While it’s important to work your muscles hard, to stimulate muscle building, it’s equally as important to give your body enough time to recover.
To continue with recovery, another problem constant fitness affects, is sleep. A regular/routine fitness program is awesome for sleep, however if you’re feeling tired all the time, maybe you’re training too much. Due to constant fitness, your body will need excessive amounts of sleep in order to recover, and without the right amount, you’re just in for a bad day. Another thing to remember – the higher the intensity, the greater your need for recovery. So maybe take a day off after a crazy workout, or finish the week with one, this will allow you to go into the weekend with a sense of accomplishment and a mind set on rest and relaxation.
In the end, it’s all about balance. You have limited resources of time, energy, and money; spending them all on fitness will just lead to burnout. Find a program that makes you happy and one that you can stick to. Make time for other quality of life activities. Take a couple days off a week, get your errands done, have some drinks with friends, spend time with your family, go on vacation and indulge yourself with crazy awesome food. Trust me…you’ll be fine.