Ever dragged yourself to the gym only to pedal slowly on the bike or cruise on the elliptical?
Or maybe you’ve finished work on time knowing you need to exercise but with absolutely no clue what style of training you should commit to?
Most of us have been there, and while some days are just ‘hard days’ where training is a struggle, often we simply aren’t matching our workouts to fit our schedule or current state.
If you’re someone with even a slightly demanding job, you know that on some days, you have to work overtime, which cuts into your sleep. After a hectic day at work, followed by a night of very little or poor sleep, all you can think about the next day is finishing work as quickly as possible, having dinner and going to bed.
Yet, many of us fitness enthusiasts choose to keep punishing our bodies with heavy exercise even when our lives are filled with enough stress as it is.
When life gets in the way, leaving you drained without enough time to recharge, is that the time to up the intensity of your workouts?
No, that’s the time to find ways to work out smarter.
The basic idea is fairly simple – train, eat, sleep, repeat – but for some reason, it’s often easier said than done for many of us.
That’s why I did myself (and you guys, of course) a favor and tested the Polar Ignite fitness watch to find out how to tap into my sleep and recovery and make the best use of on-demand workouts to ensure I’m limitless in my training.
Here’s what I learned about working out smarter.
Polar Ignite fitness watch told me so… But I didn’t Listen
I must admit: I’m the queen of taking on one million projects, working late and getting up early for arduous exercise, but then burning out and wondering what went wrong. However, I kid you not when I say that the Polar Ignite has taught me something seriously valuable.
The morning after I had completed a half-marathon and enjoyed a late dinner with friends, I felt low. My calves hurt, my eyes were heavy and my motivation to train was almost non-existent.
“Well, nothing a hard run can’t fix” I said to myself as I ignored my watch’s suggestion to do a ‘supportive’ exercise with a low HR.
I’d slept with my Polar Ignite over a couple of weeks by this point and was addicted to the Nightly Recharge feature that tells you how deep your sleep is and the number of interruptions you experience through the night. That day my Ignite told me loud and clear I was in the red ‘Compromised’ zone.
Having made the mental commitment to go for a hard run, I then engaged in my regular pre-workout routine. I downed a strong coffee, put on motivating upbeat music in my house and got changed into my run kit.
As I left the house I remember that fleeting moment of guilt – my coach, a.k.a. Polar Ignite, had given me a workout to do, and I’d decided instead to “do my own thing”.
I started out on my run and sure enough, after about 4km my shins began to call for help. I’ve had stress fractures in my shins before so I know shin splints when they surface, and this was a sensation that felt all too familiar. “Keep going-it’ll pass” I told myself. Long story short: it didn’t.
I ended up spending the next 4 days icing, stretching and waiting for my calves to calm down simply because I hadn’t listened to my body or the plan Polar Ignite had recommended for me.
I’m not trying to scare you with this story. My aim is to pay homage to how far technology has come. I’m in awe that a fitness watch, like the Polar Ignite, now has the ability to analyze your sleep, workouts and fitness level, and then provide you with an on-demand workout that fits your current state.
You’ve heard it before, ‘technology is the future’, and I am a firm believer in understanding our health and wellness pitfalls (e.g. not getting enough sleep) will consequently allow us to become stronger athletes and more balanced competitors. It’s strong food for thought if you’re someone who is constantly riddled with injury and need guidance on how to maintain a consistent and progressive exercise regime.
a personal trainer with you 24/7 – MOtivating YOu To Push YOur Potential
Having mentioned the time when my Polar Ignite recommended low-intensity exercise because I’d been consistently exerting myself on low sleep, the opposite has also occurred.
As I touched on above, I am constantly juggling training, work and coaching, however there have been times when my job seems to have trumped it all, and I’ve been glued to a desk chair for hours on end.
I despise these times, but it’s natural that sometimes life throws you a curveball and you need to sacrifice what you want to do, for what you seemingly need to do.
When that happens and I’m forced to sit, and sit, and sit, my Polar Ignite buzzes when I’ve been sitting for too long, recommends high-intensity workouts (provided I’ve had enough sleep) or even suggests longer low-intensity workouts if I’ve been inactive but achieving a green ‘Good’ or ‘Very Good’ Nightly Recharge status.
Polar Ignite takes the guess-work out of planning and thinking through the type of workout that would benefit my current state and makes me feel like I have a permanent coach glued to my wrist.
Is there anything better than having pro guidance with you at all times?
Before Polar Ignite, I genuinely missed having professional guidance. I missed my track and field days in the university, when I had a dedicated speed coach, strength trainer, nutritionist, massage therapist and sports doctor. If I wasn’t performing on the track, I had at least 5 people I could lean on to tell me why that could be.
I also had a progressive program that accounted for my current fitness level and was designed to make me better, stronger and faster each year. Unfortunately, these are privileges that usually remain reserved for pro athletes – but don’t have to.
The Polar Ignite offers exactly the kind of smart connected guidance that we need to improve our fitness – combining sleep tracking, recovery measurement and personalized workout tips.
Different levels of athletes and exercisers obviously have different goals, but one thing applies to us all: Smart, consistent training that prioritizes recovery is the foundation we all need to build on. From there, anything is possible.
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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.