Do you know your body?

Do you know what it needs at certain points during the day or when you feel certain ways?

Here are some questions I ask myself and I ask of my clients, when I or they appear off.

How do you feel? How many hours did you sleep last night? Did you eat dinner last night? Did you eat breakfast today? Are you thirsty? What’s going on at work? What’s going on at home? When was the last time you exercised? What do you think your body needs? What doesn’t it want to do right now? Did you drink alcohol last night/are you hung over?

When you’re off, you’re usually tired. What to do when you feel tired is a little trick that many people don’t know.

Here are some situations you may find yourself in and things you can do to correct it.

Sometimes your tired and you need sleep or a nap. Sometimes your tired and you need exercise.

Sometimes your tired and you need to eat (veggies, protein & fat). Sometimes your tired and you need to hydrate (water is best).

Sometimes your tired and you need to sweat and sometimes your tired and you need to stretch.

How do you know you which you need?

Let’s see if we can answer that question for you today.

  • If you haven’t slept in a while (days), and you feel tired, you may need to sleep.
  • If you didn’t sleep well last night, you may need a power nap (cool name for adults).
  • If you’ve missed meals, you probably need to eat.
  • If you’ve been on the go for a while, you probably need to eat more.
  • If you just ate and you feel tired, you either overate, are carbohydrate sensitive or are allergic to something you ate.
  • If you’re mouth is dry and your urine is non-clear, you probably need to drink a lot of water (shoot for a minimum of .5oz/lb of body weight/day).
  • If it’s midday or late afternoon and you feel a yawn come on or a nodding head bob and you’ve been getting o.k. sleep of late, you probably need to exercise.
  • If you’ve been abusing your body, either with stress, alcohol, drugs, travel or just plain bad food and you feel kind of gross and you feel tired, you may need to sweat.

Similar to exercise, but the sole purpose here is sweating. It can be strength based, but interval strength training would be best if you did choose strength. Otherwise, interval conditioning (sprints with short recovery), high intensity conditioning (running, hard bike, hard row, hard elliptical or swimming) or low intensity conditioning (walking, slow jog, elliptical, bike or rower) would be good options to sweat out any toxins you may have and get you feeling better. This is also good for when your sick and starting to come out of it or at the onset of getting sick. (note: sweating when you’re getting sick or as you’re recovering from being sick is good. be sure to focus on sweating and not training too hard. Too hard will result in a setback)

If you’ve been traveling a lot, sleeping on different pillows, in different time zones or even just out of your routine for a few days to an extended period of time, you may need to stretch. I’m talking a good static stretch (think high school gym class) mixed in with some easy mobility exercises (arm circles, leg swings, etc…), corrective exercises (individual specific), planks, and shoulder pre-hab (exercises pulling your shoulders down & back).

This week I saw 2 clients I hadn’t seen in a while. They both were very much looking forward to training, but when I saw them, they looked off. I asked each what was up and they sheepishly said they really wanted to exercise, but weren’t feeling tough enough to do the normal strength routine (if you haven’t trained with me before, just know that you have to be “up” and “ready” to train b/c when we start the intensity goes up rather quickly). So after asking them a few questions, like the one’s posted above, I quickly realized they needed to stretch. A yoga day if you will.

Here’s the routine we did:

5min foam rolling (soft tissue)

5min mobility:

10 min static stretch (~30 positions, 20 sec hold each)

10 min corrective exercises

5min core stability

5 min shoulder prehab

Did it work?

Here’s an e-mail, I received later that day:

“Hey Mike,

THANK YOU! The workout you took us through this morning was just what I needed. Honestly, if I had to do strength I probably would have felt like a “failure” because…that would have just crushed me. What we did this morning was mentally and physically perfect. Thank you so much for being the type of trainer that can recognize when we’re not where we should be and not push us when we shouldn’t be, or more accurately can’t be, pushed. Also thanks for being the kind of trainer that can think on the fly and modify our workout in an instant…”

Pretty nice e-mail for just doing what they hire me for.

And, when you learn to know your body, be careful because you might start speaking like this:

“I hope you have a super spectacular day!”

Super spectacular day, huh. Wow! I’d ask her if she was a cheerleader, but I already know she wasn’t.

Anyways, the next time you feel tired, ask yourself what you think you need. It might be a nap, it might be food/water, but it also might be some exercise.


Mike Alves

p.s. click here to start increasing your energy

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