It’s normal to experience sore muscles after working out, but when you start struggling to put on your t-shirt or jeans or even walk up the stairs, you’re probably going through a fitness hangover. This happens when you push yourself too hard in a workout, such as overtraining, not listening to your body, or doing higher intensity workouts than what you usually do. Fitness hangovers often leave you exhausted and out of commission for days since your body is aching, requiring extensive rest. While taking protein powder can help you recover faster, it’s vital not to push your body too far!
If this sounds familiar to you, that means it’s high time to dial back on the workouts and choose exercises that correspond to your fitness level. It’s important to push yourself sometimes to achieve what you want, but only in increments. Treat your body well, and it will perform the way you want it to, bringing you closer to your fitness goals.
Here’s what you need to know about fitness hangovers:
Fitness Hangover Symptoms
A fitness hangover is incredibly detrimental to your health. It can result in poor sleep since overtraining essentially overloads your hormonal or nervous system, affecting your sleep quality. Unfortunately, if you can’t get a good night’s rest, your body won’t be able to recover adequately, producing stress hormones like cortisol instead. With poor sleep comes increased irritability, poor memory, a shortened attention span, and many other symptoms that will decrease your quality of life.
Pushing yourself too hard in your workouts also results in a lowered immune system since it puts your body in a catabolic state where it breaks down fat and muscle. While it is in this state, it cannot repair damaged muscles, hindering your body from completely recovering. Your immune system will suffer, leaving you more susceptible to illnesses.
Lastly, overtraining will leave you more prone to injuries since your body doesn’t have enough time to repair itself and recover. That means your body isn’t in an optimal state when you start your next workout, making you more likely to injure yourself.
Preventing Fitness Hangovers
Fortunately, there are a few ways to prevent fitness hangovers. Here are some tips to follow:
Always Warm Up and Cool Down
It can be tempting to skip warm-ups and cool-downs when you have a tight schedule and you need to squeeze in a workout. However, these are crucial in preventing delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Warming up activates your muscles, preventing them from overstretching when you’re actually working out. It also decreases your risk of injury since it essentially prepares them for activity. Stretching after you work out or walking for five minutes is a great way to help your body cool down after a workout, and stretching can lengthen your muscles while increasing your flexibility.
Take Rest Days
Taking rest days doesn’t mean you’re lazy. It means you’re listening to your body and giving it time to recover after working out. If you keep chugging on without resting, you’ll give yourself a fitness hangover, which can seriously impact your fitness journey. Always schedule your rest days and stick to them!
Eat a Snack After Working Out
Lastly, eat a protein-rich snack after working out to help you recover and restore your muscles’ glycogen reserves. Anything from a protein bar to a shake made with protein powder will help your body recuperate and become stronger.
Fitness hangovers often render you in pain for several days, throwing a wrench in your weight loss plans and exercise regimen. They can prevent you from training properly and can interrupt your quality of life. By following our guide, taking care of your muscles, and incorporating the best protein into your diet, you’ll successfully evade fitness hangovers.
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