If you exercise regularly, you're probably familiar with the emotional momentum that comes with it. That energy and excitement that comes from your body feeling optimal, your motivation soaring—there's nothing quite like it.
After a week or so of consistently working out, this invigorating sense of accomplishment and excitement for life appears. Whenever I experience it, I want to keep working out all day, every day. I even find myself watching the clock, waiting and waiting for 6 p.m. to hit just so I can start my workout session.
Of course, I don't have the time to work out nonstop, and I have proof that it's not great for my body. These days I typically lift weights four times per week, do yoga once a week, and run a mile or so before work a few times a week. Sometimes I’ll skip one or the other for recovery. And to keep this physical and emotional momentum going, we need to be smart about it—and after experiencing adrenal fatigue twice from lifting weights too frequently, I am now a huge proponent of slowing down.
Adrenal fatigue is a breakdown in the central nervous system that causes serious physical exhaustion and can be caused by too many intense, consecutive workouts, which is what happened in my case. It had my whole body feeling weak and broken. My strength was around half of my normal capacity, I had cognitive fatigue, and I lost weight. I abruptly stopped training, undoing months of progress.
Long story short, we must respect and embrace the standard breakdown and rebuilding process our bodies go through, and I learned that the hard way. Here's why taking time to recover will actually make your performance stronger.