We’ve been chatting a lot about our mindset around fitness. The persistent messaging from the industry that more is better. “Don’t ever miss a Monday.” “No pain, no gain.” “Sore today, strong tomorrow”. In my last post [Gained some eyebrows, lost some abs], I shared my personal experience with taking a break from my fitness routine. I applied my new-found philosophy “more chill”. Now, I want to drop some knowledge on you all. Listen up and take some notes. Your fitness routine may be the only thing that needs to slim down.
Living in the fitness world and this “do more” society, overtraining is something I see all time (in myself and others…Pot calling the kettle black here). I see many clients attending 2, 3, 4+ plus classes in ONE DAY…multiple days a week. It kills me a little inside. Why you ask?
- The law of diminishing returns. Our bodies need rest to see the benefits of the movements we do! More is not better. After a strength workout, it is recommended that you give that muscle group 72 hours of rest before your next training session using the same muscle group. Without proper rest, you won’t see results. (Deets from ACE Personal Training Manual, 2014)
- Overtraining WILL lead to injuries. Train for longevity. If you’re not an Olympian, professional athlete, or getting a big scholarship, don’t train to be impressive. Anyone that has had a serious injury knows that shit doesn’t go away. If you tear ligaments, tendons, muscles you’re going to live with the injury your entire life, no matter how healthy you are.
- Even athletes take breaks. Ever heard of the “off-season”. It’s important! We can’t be training at 100% all of the time. Most literature states that it’s not effective to have more than 3-4 high-intensity or very long training session (above an hour) per week. Athlete’s also follow periodization training models that are broken in macrocycles with mesocycles, and microcycles. Regardless, they build and have rest periods within the cycles and may even include mircocycles of easy to moderate movements only.
- It’s not just about what you do at the gym! Extensive travel, social or occupational stresses, and other daily stresses can add to your ability to effectively train and recover properly. If you’re chronically stressed with your sympathetic nervous system constantly working, you won’t be able to recover correctly. Want a new way to track this? Check out the Elite HRV app (this stuff is so freakin COOL!).
How do you know if you’re overtraining (without a fancy app)? Signs of overtraining are increased resting heart rate, disturbed sleep, or decreased hunger on multiple days (ACE Personal Training Manual, 2014). Women, lost your period? Thyroid issues? Hormonal imbalances (included hormonal ache). Your body will tell you if it needs more rest. Ever had a workout where you felt worn down or that you couldn’t give it your all? That’s your body telling you that you need more rest. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You just have to pay attention.
In a world that demands you to do more. Let me be the voice of reason. Let’s raise a glass to more chill, to missing a Monday workout, to less pain while still being able to gain, to a life without a chronic injury, and to being able to walk upstairs without falling over post-leg day (ya feel me?!?). Cheers!