Crossfit-style and functional training can be intense, especially for beginners. It’s perfectly normal to feel tired, ‘not as sharp and energetic as you’d like’, after a week of workouts. It’s also perfectly normal to take one or two day break to recover from that nasty squat-row-pullups-snatch session.
However, it is not uncommon to still feel sluggish after resting. That’s why it’s so important to distinguish between two types of fatigue:
- Real fatigue, when your mind-body system is truly tired
- Fake fatigue, when your mind-body system is tricking you into feeling tired because you’re in a rut
It’s crucial to understand which ‘fatigue’ we’re experiencing as each type requires a very different response. While the real fatigue asks for resting and recharging your batteries, the fake fatigue calls for acting or better reacting to the exhaustion in a dynamic way.
DIFFERENTIATE ‘REAL’ FROM ‘FAKE’ FATIGUE
Physical fatigue may be the easier of the two sensations to discern. Very sore muscles, increased heart rate, decreased speed in your running or lifting are all signs of physical fatigue. Psychological fatigue, however, may be more complicated to assess.
One useful signal that you’ve been pushing too hard through real fatigue for too long is the feeling of burnout, which can sometimes take several months to recover from.
To avoid burnout the safest and easiest bet is to treat your exhaustion as it were real fatigue. Take one or two days off. Sleep more. Walk in nature and do something different, relaxing for yourself. Change your routine slightly to avoid too much pressure on your body and mind.
If all of this does not work after some weeks and you are still feeling tired and void of energy, then you are probably experiencing fake fatigue and this requires real action.
Exhaustion from depression is an extreme example of “fake” fatigue. Your brain is tricking you into staying in bed all day, causing a sense of paralysis and dullness. What you feel, however, is not caused by lack of sleep, expenditure of physiological resources or something wrong with your body. Otherwise, taking action (getting up from bed and working your way out of it) would only aggravate the situation.
“FAKE” FATIGUE IS REAL
Fake fatigue can happen on a smaller scale to everyone. You might feel stuck in your progress at the gym, thus experiencing some kind of exhaustion and frustration because you are not improving as you wish you’d do. You might be putting off a big project at work as you feel “tired” and deprived of motivation.
There is no a go-to solution for everybody as everyone is different. As you get more and more conscious of your feelings, a good practice is to pay attention to how you feel and what works best for you in that particular occasion. With time you’ll become better at differentiating between real and fake fatigue and will also find approaches to overcome both kind of fatigue.
If you need help figuring out how to progress or get into action and beat your fatigue, come chat with one of your Andfit coaches today!