All the shit you don't think about when starting a new fitness plan


Without going super gym bro on you, this is a reminder to treat rest as important as your actual workout when you start your new fitness regime this coming Friday.

Here's a few quick reminders for getting your new-year-new-you bod in 2021.


No workout regime is created the same so saying you should work out 3 days and rest 4 is counterproductive. Instead, understand that working out the same muscles too often and overtraining can actually lead to a loss of muscle.

There's a few ways your body tells you if you're overtraining.

First, some emotional signs to be aware of such as:

  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Loss of desire to train (or do other things formerly enjoyed)

Second, when you overtrain you can see an increase in the body's cortisol levels and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA and cortisol are the body's long-acting stress hormones and are antagonistic to each other to some degree.

Elevated levels of cortisol can:

  • Cause you to crave carbohydrates excessively especially in the evening
  • Make you feel fatigued and exhausted
  • Increase cholesterol and triglyceride production
  • Decrease serotonin levels in your brain which can trigger depression.
  • Deplete vital vitamins and minerals the body needs for proper function such as the B (aka, stress vitamins), calcium and magnesium


The team at Nerd Fitness nicely reframed off days as recovery days. Their secret is to make recovery days have the same level of focus on your body as training days to keep fitness momentum going. An easy way to do this is to use your recovery day to plan meals. More importantly here, don't binge eat or let your diet go to shit on recovery days. You're recovering, not destroying.

As far as nutrition itself, you need to eat. Without enough calories, your body enters a caloric deficit. This means it has fewer calories than it needs to support physiological function — including protein synthesis — and physical activity.

To get the energy it needs, your body will tap into your fat stores first. This is OK in the short term if you are trying to lose fat and not trying to build muscle, but if muscle gain is your goal, you will be running on empty. This forces your body into a survival state in which building muscle mass isn't a top priority and resources are allocated to supporting other more important physiological functions.


According to a study published in the Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions in 2017, poor sleep quality and short sleep duration are associated with an increased risk for muscle mass reduction. Thus, they may also influence muscle strength.

After adjusting for confounding factors, a positive association between sleep quality and muscle strength was observed in both male and female students. Moreover, men with shorter sleep duration (<6 hours) had poorer muscle strength than that of men who slept for 7-8 hours and over 8 hours in the final adjusted model. There was no significant difference in the association of sleep duration and muscle strength between men who slept 7-8 hours and those who slept for more than 8 hours. No significant association was observed between sleep duration and muscle strength in female students.

On top of that , there have been several other studies showing that GH (growth hormone) levels are highest when we get sleep. Like your workout regime, try actually planning out your sleeping windows. Write it down, tell your partner, tell the dog, make everyone know what your schedule looks like so you actually stick to it.

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