Day 14 of the 100 day fitness challenge!! Only 86 days to go!! Eesh. I’ve managed to not miss a day so far…but what I’ve realized is how much my body needs recovery days. I’ve been doing mostly classes – spin classes at Saikel, Orange Theory Fitness (a mix of treadmill intervals and weights), as well as my favourite class — the fitual (, which combines barre-esque strengthening with cardio. The good news is, this 100 day challenge allows you to do something a little less intense such as yoga, as long as you’re getting your heart rate up for that half an hour of activity. I’m definitely going to have to mix in a couple of those because some days my legs are feeling extremely heavy. Most of these classes I attend track your performance and you can definitely see a dip in energy when I could have used a recovery day.

So I thought I’d just touch on why recovery days are important and more specifically, the development of Overtraining Syndrome. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely haven’t developed this myself, but it’s something we learned a lot about in my Sports and Exercise Medicine Fellowship and seems applicable when thinking about recovery days. To put it simply, overtraining syndrome is a condition that usually occurs in high performance athletes when they have been, well…overtraining. When you don’t take time to let your body recover, the following may occur:

  • performance decrements
  • decreased effort during workouts related to a lower lactate threshold
  • persistent fatigue
  • decreased maximal heart rate
  • increased resting catecholamine (ex. adrenalin) production and decreased excretion of these hormones
  • increased stress levels and sleep disturbances

However, if a person is “overreaching” and experiencing impaired performance, just taking some time to recover can result in the opposite. This is called “supercompensation”.  Supercompensation is exactly what it sounds like: the athlete will exhibit an enhanced performance compared to their baseline.

In summary, training too hard can often result in lower performance rather than higher. I plan to spend the next 86 days incorporating some lower intensity workouts to allow myself to recover to avoid this very thing!

But first, off to my Saturday morning “Fitual” class….

P.s. don’t be fooled by the picture (Winnipeg is anything, but a beach right now).

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