Listen To Your Body?

listen to your bodyEver heard the advice to “listen to your body“?  It seems like a very common phrase and I think it does have merit in some cases, but not necessarily all the time.  Your body will give you feedback on what you’re doing though, and I think it is important to discuss what that looks like and what you should/should not listen to.

When You Should Listen To Your Body

Most times when the advice “listen to your body” is given, it’s referring to how you feel when you’re working out or maybe how you’re feeling throughout the day.  Your body will give you cues and in some situations, you do want to change what you’re doing because of that information.  The way I look at it, there are 4 big areas where you need to listen to your body:

-When you’re working out and you feel unsafe

-If you’re hungry all the time

-The way you feel after a big cheat meal

-When you’re sick

When you’re working out, your body is going to give you some clues as to how you’re doing.  If you push yourself too hard, you can really injure yourself.  I think of people starting out with Insanity.  If you push yourself too hard right away, you might end up throwing up or even pass out if you get really light headed.  If you feel light headed or nauseous, that is a clue to take a break!  There is no harm in taking a quick breather to make sure you stay safe.  Along those lines, if you are injured already and a move you’re doing is causing sharp pain, you need to stop that move and maybe the whole exercise depending on what’s going on.  If you’re injured, or think you might be injuring yourself, you need to stop.  Nothing good comes out of a workout when you push an injury.  You can often times make it worse.

The next two have to deal with your nutrition.  If you’re hungry all the time, that is often a cue from your body saying that you need to consume more calories.  I wouldn’t go crazy here, but depending on what you’re eating, you may want to add 200-300 calories initially and see how you feel.  Often times people try to really restrict their calories because they want to lose weight, but if you restrict them too much that is not good for your body.  So if you’re constantly hungry, consider eating more, although it must be a very clean 200-300 calories that you add.  On the other hand, it’s important to listen to your body after a big cheat meal.  How do you typically feel?  Sluggish and gross?  I know that’s how I feel.  That’s your body telling you it doesn’t want that garbage!  Your body wants good nutrition and will let you know when it’s not getting it.

Finally, you need to listen to your body when you’re sick.  When you’re sick, you need to focus on getting healthy.  Often times that means you might take a little break in your workouts.  But you should not take a break from good nutrition!  If you eat right, you’ll not only get sick less, but you’ll bounce back from illness quicker.  So when you’re sick, feed your body the nutrients it needs.  Thanks to a good nutrition plan and Shakeology, I have very rarely been sick in the last 2-1/2 years!

When To NOT Listen To Your Body

Although I wanted to mostly focus on when you should listen to your body, there are a couple situations where you need to ignore what your body is telling you.

The big one is when you’re craving junk food.  If you’ve been eating a Standard American Diet (SAD) then you probably get your fill of salty snacks, deep fried foods, sugary sweets, etc.  And this can wreak havoc on your food urges.  I honestly think we get somewhat addicted to these foods, so at times you will start craving that junk.  This is a time to ignore your body!  Over time, if you stick with your nutrition plan and stay away from that junk, your body will stop craving it.  But initially it can be hard!  Stay strong though, and you will thank yourself later.

The other area that I see is in the area of muscle soreness.  When you first start a workout program, you’re going to be sore.  There is just no way around it.  Your body is not used to the moves at all so soreness is going to build up.  What people often do is start skipping days because they’re too sore.  Believe me, I know how bad it can get, but you need to continue with the workout schedule.  The best way to reduce that muscle soreness is to stay active and keep your blood flowing.  It will be tough, but you need to keep working out and hanging in there.  Over time as you get stronger, the soreness will not be as bad.

So hopefully this gives you a good idea of what cues you need to pay attention to and which ones you should ignore.  You definitely should listen to your body as it can give you some great feedback.  Keep up with your workout program and nutrition and your body will be feeling great!

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