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Listening to Your Body, Resting the Warrior Mentality


Your body talks to you. Didn’t you know that? Not like the kid in Look Who’s Talking or the dog in Look Who’s Talking, Too (starring a slimmer, younger John Travolta), but it gives you signs that you need to learn to respect.

Letting the Warrior Mentality Rest
Sometimes you can get carried away with the hardcore workouts, the pounding, the sweating, the minor aches…and sometimes you need to just stop.

Personally, it’s hard for me to take a few days off from training. Especially when I am in such a groove with my workouts and weight loss. There have been many times when a day off has led to months off and many pounds gained.

I come from the school of train hard or go home. Ever since high school I’ve been told to workout hard and fight through the pain. The warrior mentality has it’s purposes but sometimes we need to lay off so that we can further our physical development. I once took a week off and came back stronger than ever.

Listening to Your Body
Recently my body has been begging me for a break. Guess what? I didn’t give it a break and now am suffering the consequences of that decision to continue to train through the pain.

A few weeks ago I was feeling soreness in my left shin/leg and figured I could fight through it. That continued for a couple of weeks until I developed a sharp pain in my shin. I was then forced to take a few days off from performing any leg workouts, running, or sprinting.

Then just last week I started doing assisted chin ups with bands. As I finished my last set I then decided to do some burpees (burpees are my new obsession). On my last set I felt my left chest tweak with a sharp, quick pain. Like a dumbass I figured I’d pump out the last 5 reps and deal with the pulled pec afterward.

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So here I am with a pulled pec and sore leg. Why? Because I was using the warrior mentality to fight through the pain. This week I decided to lay off of 98% of my upper body workouts and to focus on light leg workouts. I performed some light weight squats for the first time in months this week and will be walking and biking for the majority of my workouts until next week.

If you feel tightness for more than a day consider not working that bodypart out for a few days. If stretching and rest don’t do the trick then see a doctor or physical conditioning specialist, just in case it’s something serious.

It’s Okay to Rest and Focus on Other Aspects of Your Health
One positive drawback from taking some time off is that I get to focus on my eating. Mastering my food intake sometimes feels like a full time job, but focusing on it solely while just chillaxing isn’t that bad.

The key is to not slack. If you are taking some time off from working out, say a week or two, make sure that you are committed to staying focused with your eating. Don’t take a week of rest and eat 5,000 calories a day on top of it. You will feel like crap!

Stay Motivated
This is a crucial time for me. I am losing weight consistently again and my workouts have been really good.

Motivation can wane during times like these, but you need to keep in mind that you will be coming back stronger and ready for some more ass kicking! Keep busy by walking, which is a seriously underrated exercise.

What do you think about resting and listening to your body?

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About the Author

My name is Israel Lagares. I used to be the kind of guy that was always in shape, but over the last few years I've fallen off tremendously. This site is my final attempt to get back into shape. So far I've lost 70.4 lbs. Check out my weight loss chart, weight loss videos and progress pics. Follow my journey, those of others, and read our thoughts on various health topics. Share your thoughts, experience, and journey here on FMU.

Community Thoughts (20)

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  1. Yum YuckyNo Gravatar says:

    I like your thinking and appreciate your honesty. There’s so many guys out here that act like they’re hardcore right out of the movie “300″, beating their chests and doing the King Leonidas Workout seven days a week.

    Rest up and eat well. Enjoy!

  2. Salar MadadiNo Gravatar says:

    I agree fully and it’s a very hard thing to balance. On one hand you want to give it your all, but you have to be aware that if you hurt yourself it’s a lot worse for your progress in the long run. It’s a long journey – no need to rush it!Good job with your progress so far!

  3. MindbodygoalNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Israel,

    Great web site and my first trip here.
    Sorry to here about the injuries.

    In relation to taking time off working out, have you thought about scheduling in a deload week every 3-5 weeks rather than complete rest.

    The deload enables you to continue to train, at reduced volume and intensity – active recovery if you like, so not only does the body recover but also gets its “fix” of some kind of working out.

    Another strategy would be to do a totally different kind of exercise, so if its weights all the time – perhaps try a week of higher rep, low load sandbag training.

    Listening to the body is crucial for developing optimal health of both mind and body alike – the clues are ALWAYS there, we just need to learn to listen to them and realise that which our bodies and minds are trying to guide us towards.

    Be well.

  4. Matt SNo Gravatar says:

    I wish I would have taken advice like this more seriously in the past.

    I’ve caused a some shoulder impingement issues as well as low back problems due to the “warrior mentality.”

    I’m smarter now though! I do tons of foam roller and mobility/activation work , 50% of my exercise movements (minimum) are always single leg or single arm, and I deload every 4th week on an undulating periodization plan!

    The funny thing is, I learned that by letting the ‘warrior mentality’ rest now and then I became WAY STRONGER and LOOKED BETTER.

    One major problem I see is in running. People run and run and run, despite all types of pain. Women are particularly good pushing through the pain, maybe it has something to do with those dreaded highheels they subject themselves to! Anyhow, I have seen dozens of women end up with knee surgery due to excessive running. Why not try something else (as there are 2340980 more effective ways — lol), or just a break now and then? Why not run *some days* of the week? I think it’s because certain people just think running is the only thing that works.

    Maybe those inspiring Rocky Montages have something to do with it?

    • Matt, you are so right. I recall one day during high school football practice. We were doing agility drills and I twisted my ankle. It was horrific. I was in so much pain. But guess what I did? After the drills we were scheduled to lift weights. So I continued working out and SQUATTED with my badly twisted/sprained ankle. It was so bad that I thought it was broken. I then walked him on my bad ankle. I was walking so slowly and if it were not for my great buddy that let me use him as a crutch on that walk home, I would not have made it for several hours (it’s was usually a 15 minute walk home). Turns out I went to the doctor that night and it was just sprained, not tearing or breaking. I went home and rested only getting up to use the bathroom. I iced it for 3 days straight (it was spring practice and a Friday so I had all weekend to heal). Monday afternoon I was good to go. I forgot to say that the reason I kept working out, aside from the warrior mentality, was that I was trying to impress some of the alumni that were watching us. Stupid me huh?

  5. SheilaNo Gravatar says:

    Great article. If you listen to your body you get stronger. As you rest, you heal. That can help you get past plateaus and take you to the next level!

  6. cherrieNo Gravatar says:

    Pain is our body’s way of warning us of a problem, as we keep us going it may lead us to a painful or long lasting blister than might take us off the trail for a week or more. Take a rest bro this way allows you to recover mentally and emotionally..

    Keep it up. : )

  7. Ruth RogersNo Gravatar says:

    Great advice. Love your blog!

  8. mikeNo Gravatar says:

    hey isreal what happened to that plugin toolbar at the bottom of oyur page and what was it called?

  9. AlexNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Israel

    great post

    i think *train hard or go home* is always the way to go but sometimes we just need to stay home and not train.

  10. AnthonyNo Gravatar says:

    Resting is part of training. The more zzzzzzzzz’a we get the more Growth Hormone our Pituitary Gland releases. GH promotes fat loss and mobilisation.

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