Last week I had my wisdom teeth removed. While I did not experience the common swelling or dry sockets (thank goodness!), I am definitely not healed 100 percent. I am having occasional fever spikes, and now I have bony shards pushing up through my gums. The feeling is more than unpleasant. I am calling my dentist today to address these issues. In the meantime, let me just say, I don’t like to be “sick”. I don’t enjoy the feeling of being off my game. So sometimes, out of stubbornness, I push myself a little too much and then recognize my bad decision later.
A prime example would have to be this past weekend. I had fully intended to take an entire week off to rest from my training at the completion of my last 12 week training program. It just worked out perfectly that my teeth would also be coming out at this time. So, I had my teeth out on Tuesday morning of last week. By Tuesday evening, instead of resting like you are supposed to do, I was out of bed and insisting on doing some light chores like making meals for my kids, even though I had a friend staying with me who was more than happy to do those things for me, so I could rest.
Now, I did take a full week off from training. And on Sunday, even though I was feeling far less than okay, I decided to go to the gym anyway, because that was one week. That was my original plan, gosh darn it, and I was sticking to it.
I had a new program I was going to try out. I was really excited about it. This program is specifically designed to help improve someone’s pull up abilities, or train someone to be able to perform their first pull up ever. I fall into that second category. I can do chin ups, but so far pull ups have eluded me.
So needless to say, I was really excited about starting this program! Even just typing about it right now makes me want to go to the gym and try again. Even though I am still feeling lousy. So you see my predicament.
The sort of funny thing is I am always telling my clients to rest when they don’t feel well and I do occasionally take my own advice. Sunday just wasn’t one of those times.
As I started to warm up at the gym, nothing felt right. My energy was super low, my movements didn’t feel as powerful as normal, and I just fell off. As I started the exercises in the new program I had brought with me, I immediately recognized that this workout was an extremely tough one, even for someone who has a strong strength base, such as myself, this was not a program for a beginner.
I kept going anyway.
In fact at one point I even looked at my friend and said I might stop because “something was off”. But did I stop? Nope!
Did I even add in longer rest periods or pick up lighter weights? Nope!
Did I leave out any sets, or maybe just perform less reps than what was called for? Of course not!
By the time we left the gym, my legs were trembling so much that I had to walk very slowly down the stairs and hold the rail. My arms were trembling to the point that my water bottle felt heavy.
Now, under normal circumstances a little bit of a shaky feeling can be a good thing on occasion. It means you threw your body into metabolic disturbance and it is now responding by immediately trying to repair. That can be a really good thing if you aren’t feeling under the weather.
When I woke up the next morning my whole body was sore. My gums were sore as well, from the surgery I had and now the complications I was dealing with. Doubly fun!
Today is now day two of my recovery, and I actually feel worse instead of better. Today should have been my day back to the gym but at least I am being smart this time and allowing myself the recovery time. If your defenses are down, like mine were, and you physically push yourself too far, like I did, it can actually weaken your immune system even further. Going back to the gym in that sort of state can do no good. (Now I tell me!)
The thing is, I could have just introduced myself back with a light workout, left a couple reps in the tank for each exercise, and gradually progressed to full throttle in another week or two. (Week three, to be exact.)
That is actually what you are supposed to do when training with a new program. I actually know this!
But just like everyone else, I am human, and I can be overzealous.
Lesson learned. And I hope by sharing my lesson, it can help spare you a couple days of muscular misery.
No pain, no gain mentality usually just sidelines a person for longer than necessary. Incremental gains can give you better consistency and keep you healthy. Occasional muscle soreness, within reason, can be a normal part of good programming, but debilitating pain, and compromising your immune system is NEVER a good thing, nor is it “necessary”.
I’ll remember that once I am well enough to get back to the gym.
Now get out there!
For more from Jeannine head over to Real [Fit] Life!