Have you ever had a hangover? If no, then bravo to you!!
For those who have, we know the pain we all share the next day. It’s hard to function the next day because you feel depleted of energy, you feel like shit, you don’t want to be around people, and you feel like garbage that’s been beat with a bat.
Hangovers are caused by drinking too much alcohol which leads to dehydration, inflammation, low blood sugar, and a whole lot of other shitty things. Your intentions are never to get hungover, but when you’re in a fun environment with people all doing the same thing, sometimes you might lose sight of how much you’re drinking. Then that leads us to the awful feeling of being hungover.
What’s drinking and being hungover have to do with the common fitness mistake William?! Well it’s simple, it’s if you do too much of it you’re going to feel like shit.
The common mistake is that people go way too hard and then end up feeling like roadkill the next day.
Here are a few examples of how to easily get a fitness hangover and how to prevent them so you can enjoy your fitness again!
The exercise is way too difficult
If you are picking exercises that are way too difficult for you to perform you’re going to do more damage than you’re doing good. For example, people think that doing a barbell squat is the king of all exercises or it’s the only way someone should squat. That’s wrong because there are many different tools you can use to train the squat pattern, not just a barbell.
Another example is burpees, which in my opinion are one of the worst exercises to do. Instead of doing a burpee why not hold a plank or add a push up then plank? If you find yourself struggling too much with getting the technique down on an exercise you should substitute it for something easier.
It’s not about how hard or how bad ass the exercise looks, it’s about how effective it is. Results aren’t produced by difficulty, they’re created by effectiveness of the exercise.
Too much weight
What is the point of using the heaviest weight in the gym to do an exercise poorly? If you own the movement that you are training, then using heavier weight is useful if it helps build towards your goal. If you are just using the heaviest weight and trying to get 10-12 reps, but they all suck and you didn’t get the full range of motion in the joint or feel the muscle work then you missed the point of lifting.
Instead of using the craziest amount of weight, use a comfortable weight then progress to heavier weights. Or if you are really set on using heavy weights, start using some that are appropriate for your level of strength.
Example: Dumbbell bench press with 35-lbs may seem too heavy for 3 sets of 12 reps. You can either do less reps and more sets (5 sets of 4-6 reps) or you can simple go down in weight.
Too many reps
The opposite of too much weight is too many reps. Doing too many reps can lead to some pretty mean DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness), a fancy word for “I’m so sore I can’t raise my arms overhead” or “it hurts going up stairs”. Doing too many reps even with lighter weights can lead to a pretty shitty post workout hangover.
Instead find a rep range appropriate for the exercise you’re doing. Example: If doing 10-12 push-ups is way too hard maybe you can do a dumbbell floor press with 20 pounds for 10-12 reps. Change the exercise to meet the demand of the reps you are doing. If you want to work push-ups, keep doing them but do less with more sets.
Not enough recovery between workouts
This one always confused me, it’s when people are not taking the appropriate amount of time to recover from the exercises you’re doing. Let’s say you are doing a kettlebell deadlift with a fairly heavy weight for 8 reps. Towards reps 6-8 fatigue starts setting in, once you have completed the exercise take some time to recover with some stretching or breathing. Most people will just take a few seconds off then go right back into it because they think they need to keep moving.
Your brain will get tired faster than your muscles, this is a new concept for many people, but it’s how your body truly adapts to the stress you’re putting on your body. Too much stress can lead to neurological fatigue which then leads to movement and strength deficiency in the exercise. Take 30-90 seconds of rest between exercises to let your nervous system prepare for the next round.
Take Away & Action Steps
The take away from this article is to ensure that you are not doing too much each and every single workout. It will only lead to constant fatigue and being under recovered which will cause a fitness hangover.
Our golden rule at Restored Strength is to do the 80/20 rule, where you only use 80% of your energy and save 20% for the next day. Always going 100% leaves for nothing in the tank and can hinder your progress.
Here are your action steps:
1. Use exercises that productively challenge you.
2. Use appropriate weights to begin with then add more as you get stronger.
3. Match the reps for how difficult the exercise is.
4. Take time to recover between exercises.