• Home  / 
  •  /  How Slowing Down Can Help Speed Up Your Fitness Goals

How Slowing Down Can Help Speed Up Your Fitness Goals

By Staff Curator / May 22, 2017
slow down and get stronger

By Meera Watts (Guest Conributor to TomHitchens.com)

Summer is the perfect season to get fired up for fitness — whether you’re bulking up for Tough Mudder or aiming to hit your personal best in an upcoming marathon.

With the fast growth in intense training regimes, the acronym AMRAP (as many reps as possible) has become increasingly popular. However, years of research and experience have brought about a new consensus among athletes, physical trainers and coaches and that is to slow down.

Trainers have known this trick forever. Most athletes and sportsmen are required to take a serious break following a season to allow their minds and bodies to recover.

Researchers have found potential markers of growing fatigue caused by overtraining, such as spikes in enzymes related to inflammation.

When you jump back into a workout without resting sufficiently, the fatigue that has built up overtime will most likely prevent you from performing at your peak potential. This explains why many NBA players visit beaches like Tenerife and Bora Bora every summer.

Everyone deserves a break

You don’t have to be a pro to take a nice, relaxing break. Each and every one of us can benefit from taking it slow, giving ourselves a break from working out and setting aside a proper schedule for training so that we can return stronger than ever.

Additionally, you can try something completely different during your next downtime. For example, you can try a new sport; reduce your workout period or simply skip the gym altogether when you’re not in the mood.

Do what you’ve been putting off the entire season, such as hiking with the family, skiing or cycling with a friend.

A stronger mind-body connection

Taking days off rekindles your love for exercise, helping you develop a stronger connection with your sport or training. In addition, it can help you form a deeper mind and body connection that can actually help you work the right muscles when you’re back in the gym.

So how important is this mind and body connection? In one study, researchers immobilized the hands and wrists of participants for four weeks and asked them to imagine exercising their hands and wrists five times a week.

The result: the hands and wrists of participants who had done the mental exercise were twice as strong as those who didn’t.

Make the most of your downtime

Taking a break is not equivalent to developing a romantic relationship with your couch. Remember, you don’t want to add pounds that you’ll want to train to shed afterwards.

However, be sure to stay away from anything that may resemble a training plan during your time off of exercise. Your primary sport or any grueling workout is a strict no-no.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be hungry for a good sport while you take a break. During this time, you’ll benefit from any sport that helps you develop a quality that is useful in your main sport, while keeping you in shape.

For example, if you’re training for an obstacle race, join a fun mixed-martial-arts class to achieve a full-body experience in a different style. If you’re a basketball player, try mountain biking or cycling to keep your heart pumping, while resting your joints.

Pulling yourself away from the sport or physical activity you love is a great way to reinforce your feelings towards it, thereby increasing your motivation to perform better. If you continue with the same exercise routine without mixing it up, chances are your training will soon feel like a chore.

3 ways to incorporate rest and recovery time in your fitness schedule

Rest and recovery are two words commonly overlooked by the general fitness culture. We now live in a time where there is no room for rest and relaxation and trainers are actually urging people to take it slow.

It’s an interesting paradox – but a scientifically proven one – that allows the body to recuperate and become stronger, more flexible, faster and fitter. Even if your relaxation period is over, it is important to incorporate the following steps into your daily schedule to ensure your body gets its daily dosage of required rest.

  1. Listen to your body

This is one of the most effective ways to recover faster, prevent injury and avoid mental fatigue. Listening to your body will help you acknowledge any sign of fatigue and determine whether resting is a better option.

Since everybody’s physiology is different, it’s important that you find out what works best for you by understanding how your body reacts to different training routines.

  1. Sleep

This is one of the most common issues in the modern world. Most adults nowadays do not even get the minimum 7 hours of shut-eye every night.

Adequate sleep is critical for recovery from mental and physical stress. During sleep, your body produces growth hormones which help in the repair and growth of muscles that were damaged during exercise.

Satsonice sleep banner ad

  1. Proper nutrition

Proper nutrition is not only about what you eat – but when you eat as well.

Nourishing your body with healthy, wholesome foods is imperative when you’re working out as lack of nutrients can hinder recovery and lead to mental fatigue. Be sure to grab a snack or have a small meal with carbohydrates 2-3 hours before exercise so that you have enough energy to perform optimally.


Author Bio: Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International.

Website: https://www.siddhiyoga.com/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/siddhiyogaacademy

Instagram: https://instagram.com/siddhiyogainternational

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/siddhiyogainter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/meerawatts

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/meerawatts

FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/siddhiyogateachertraining



The power of the mind: the cortex as a critical determinant of muscle strength/weakness. Journal of Neurophysiology Published 15 December 2014


Leave a comment: