April 30, 2013 posted by

When Your Get After It Is Gone

When Your <em>Get After It</em> Is Gone

Bringin’ it is just a part of the fitness equation. Sometimes you just don’t have it and, sometimes, that’s okay. Sometimes your body is shot, rundown, and doesn’t want to get up. And, sometimes, you should listen. Forcing yourself to workout when you don’t want to is a critical step to getting fit. But once you’re there, it’s just as important that you learn when to stop.

I saw this being spammed around Facebook the other day. I, while I understand the passion behind it, I raised my hand amongst the fervor—-not unlike Captain Kirk asking God why he needed a starship—-and thought “excuse me. I have.”

I can’t begin to count the days I’ve thought “Uh-oh. I probably shouldn’t have done that.” Yes, it’s my job to push boundaries, even if just in order to find out where those boundaries are, but I was doing it long before I was getting paid. And I’m not alone. Working out when you shouldn’t is a lot more common than it’s given credit for.

“You people are all triathletes,” said a physiologist at an event I was attending. “That means 99% of you are overtrained right now.” And while he was trying to get our attention he also probably wasn’t far off. Weekend athletes are even more likely to overstep their limits than professionals. It trickles down to inside athletes as well. The amount of times my advice is to back off for you Insanity/Xer/hybrid types is catching up to how much I need to push someone along.

So, how do you tell?

Your body will tell you. Just make sure you’re listening. For example, since returning from Nepal I been doing opposite of getting’ after it, which I’m trying to embrace for as long as I can. It actually feels good, for me, not to have a goal or agenda or an ache to go pound myself daily. I realize that I’m on the extreme end of things but, at some level, it applies to every one of you. After a period of doing Insanity you need to dial it back, even if your name is Shaun Thompson.

After Nepal I was mental still psyched to train. My race fitness was higher than it had been in years. My body, however, wasn’t up for it. I had some sort of stomach bug and a lingering cough (making the decision easier), but I also could feel an affect of being overtrained (or at least having over-reached, the first symptom of chronic overtraining, for too long). I was tired, lethargic, not sleeping well and the ‘ol body wasn’t responding to being pushed in a positive way. The only rational decision was to shut things down.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise. You should always do something unless you can’t due to injury or illness. But it means you shouldn’t have an agenda, force yourself to bring it, and certainly not try and keep up with Shaun T during Vertical Plyo. Instead, do things you find fun, maybe soothing, and don’t try to tax your body. Focus on feeling stronger after each workout rather than thrashed.

For me it means easy rides, runs, and hikes with the dogs. A touch of weight training, and restorative yoga. I’ll elaborate more about what to do in a post next week but, mainly, my only goal has been to milk this stage of recovery until my body tells me it’s time to start getting’ after it again. Something it always does eventually.


  • Great article. Once you get over that fear of not keeping to your schedule, injuries and overtraining can actually be quite refreshing. It enables you to stand back and look at the bigger picture. It also forces you to try some other low impact exercises that will give you greater benefit. Only problem is quieting that part of your psyche that wants to become addicted to your new passion.

  • So you’re telling me our 47 mile, 4.500 foot elevation ride on Saturday was a recovery ride? You’re a beast!

  • Ha! Not exactly. I’m moving out of this phase now. Still playing, but picking up the pace again and a new program is on the horizon.

  • I’m currently trying to get back into good enough shape to worry about overtraining 🙂

    Since you dropped Shaun T’s name in this post a couple of times, how involved were you in the development of Asylum Vol. 2. I know you really liked the first one, but haven’t noticed any commentary on the next one. Wondering what you think of it.

  • Hey Matt,

    I’m involved in everything we make. Some more than others, for sure, but I need to approve everything we release. Thanks for the reminder though. I need to blog on Vol 2, and T25. I was kind of waiting for a media push on Vol 1, which we haven’t really done, to get to this but I think the T25 push should be enough. Look for individual reviews over the next month. There’s an interesting technique at work in V2 that Shaun kind of made up after training a bit at P3 in Santa Barbara. We were initially nervous about it but results have been off-the-charts. You’ll hear more about this later…

    • Can’t wait to read your reviews, and that bit about Shaun making up his own thing is quite a tease. Looking forward to hearing all about it. I’m in Week 3 of Vol. 2 right now and really love the program. I think that Upper Elite is probably the most challenging Beachbody workout I’ve ever encountered; and I’ve done P90X, Insanity, and Asylum Vol. 1. T25 looks very appealing for obvious reasons. Curious how it will play with the hardcore adherents.

  • Thanks for the reminder. I’m always pumped for my morning workout at 5:15am (week 7 of Combat just now), but I’m beat by 8pm. After this program, I may just do a good recovery cycle of easy swimming and running. Love these programs – how about designing one for swimmers?

  • You mean in the pool? That’s a little out of our scope but programs like X2 and Asylum are very sports oriented and would be great for swimmers. Not that the other programs aren’t, too, but those programs were designed by working with elite athletes–aided by Dr.Marcus Elliott at P3 (only trains high-level athletes, mainly professional) and many of the workouts, especially in the latter phases, are exactly what professional athletes do.

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