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When to Walk Back Your Workout

For some of us, a daily workout is a part of life, a part of our daily routine. It may not always be something that we look forward to, but we cannot deny the many benefits of remaining physically active on most days of the week. However, there are times when you may need to scale back your workout, modify your activities, or simply take a break from exercise.

Injury

All injuries should be assessed and treated by a healthcare professional. I recently fell just two stairs and was pretty sure that I had injured my ankle as I could not weight bear without significant pain.

As it was such a small incident, it would have been easy to “walk it off” and treat it minimally as a good sprain. I sought emergency attention and was told that I had torn several ligaments in addition to breaking a few bones in my foot. This information dramatically altered my workout plans for the next eight weeks.

Depending on your injury, you may be advised to avoid specific exercises or all exercises. Seek expert guidance about what you can do, in addition to what you cannot. I have found that for most of my injuries, there are often small ways I can get some, although light and minimal,  physical activity accomplished. You may also want to seek guidance on how knee braces and knee sleeveskinesiology tape, and orthotic insoles may aid your injury rehabilitation. 

Overtraining

If you are super active, training for a big event, or a team member with multiple weekly practices and games, be on the lookout for the signs of overtraining. Overtraining can sneak up on anyone, and its signs and symptoms can be tricky. One incredibly deceptive sign is a poor performance, which may cause some athletes to work out even harder.

Other symptoms include unusual muscle soreness, an inability to complete previously mastered workouts, plateaus, lack of pleasure while working out, weight loss, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and others. 

Be diligent about your rest days, as overtraining can require an extensive recovery, with months off of your favorite sports and activities. Listen to what your body is telling you, and keep track of your workouts and rest days.

Take the necessary time for recovery and relief, and treat your body to some self-massage. Examine your diet, and if you are not sure if your nutrition is on point, seek a registered dietician or nutritionist’s advice. 

Illness

This can be a tricky one, and skipping your workout while ill depends on a number of factors related to whatever ailment you are experiencing. Air on the side of caution, and avoid strenuous exercise when you are under the weather.

Avoid group exercise settings to prevent the spread of whatever bug is ailing you. If you really need to get active, check with your doctor about how exercise may impact your illness and recovery.

I’m prone to upper respiratory diseases, so when one strikes, I embrace more yoga and less HIIT so that I can keep my coughing minimized. If your illness has resulted in a prescribed medication, talk to your doctor, and pharmacist about exercising while on the drug. 

Periodization

This is an incredibly complex concept but absolutely essential for the uber athlete or anyone training for a big athletic event. Simply put, periodization maps out your workouts in phases, with increases and decreases in exercise volume and intensity.

So, by developing your own periodization, you will know when to walk back your workout and when to ramp it back up. By utilizing periodization, you can better manage your rest days, avoid overtraining, and avoid many sports related injuries.

As mentioned, periodization does take quite a bit of work, but it is worth it. If you are unsure, hire a personal trainer to do the planning, and oversee your workouts. If your fitness goals include maximizing your gains, reducing your injuries, and keeping your routines engaging, then periodization is right for you. 

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