Hey guys, Mitko here.

I got sick these last few days and it got me thinking about the natural cycles of life and how they apply to health and fitness.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “listen to your body” on different fitness-related blogs or YouTube channels you follow.

But what does listening to your body even mean?

And how do you learn to listen to your body better?

2 Types Of Stress

eustress vs distress

Listening to your body (as it regards to your performance in the gym) means monitoring the levels of stress that you’re experiencing and adjusting the intensity of your training so that you maintain a healthy amount of stress on yourself.

Maybe you’ve heard about the distinction between eustress and distress.

Eustress signifies the type of stress that is beneficial to you and your body.

As you know, some level of stress is necessary in order to stimulate your muscles to grow.

If there was no demand placed upon them, why would they ever grow?

This stress is known as eustress and it is not only desirable but mandatory for progress in the gym.

Distress, on the other hand, is bad. It arises when the good stress becomes too much to bear.

So… too little stress is bad.

But so is too much stress.

In other words, optimal training requires you to stay in balance by providing just the right amount of stress to your body at all times.

How much is too much or too little stress?

individuality

That depends on the individual’s current body composition, training experience, age, recovery ability, etc.

Those are all factors that are highly specific to the individual so it’s your job to monitor how you feel inside your body and gauge the levels of stress you’re undergoing.

In fact what provoked me to write this blog post was my being reminded of how important this stuff really is.

What happened was, I was already observing some symptoms of the flu (sore throat, coughing,runny nose), yet when I went to the gym I foolishly decided to push myself and I went through a gruelling leg session.

Of course, the next day I got sick.

What I should have realised is that although by itself a challenging leg session is something good (eustress), stacking it on top of the stress that my body had to endure while fighting the flu turned it all into distress.

What I should have done instead is, I should have chilled back a bit.

This doesn’t mean not going to the gym, by the way.

It just means taking it a bit easier – maybe doing a deload and focusing on lifting technique.

Instead, I went ahead and pushed myself into distress territory and as a result I got sick for a week and now when I go back to the gym I’ll have to build back up.

So because I didn’t chill back for one workout, I’m set back by a week.

This is just one example that illustrates what happens when you don’t listen to your body.

What often happens is this:

Guy lifts with poor technique and because of that soon he starts feeling discomfort and even some pain.

But because he doesn’t listen to his body and continues doing what he’s doing, soon he injures himself and is set back by months.

If only he had stopped to reconsider his lifting technique, in the long run he’d be way ahead of where he is now.

In conclusion:

Don’t make my and many other guys’ mistake.

Learn to listen to your body and in the long run you’re going to get much farther – and injury-free!

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