The intentions of this article are to help us tune in to our bodies and do what’s best for our overall health not just for today, tomorrow, next week, or next month but for a long time to come. The big hitters being proper recovery from our daily routines and injuries.
Let’s start with recovery time. When we work out, we are putting our muscles to work and creating tiny micro-tears in our muscles. When the workout is complete, our body begins to recover. That soreness we feel the next day? That’s our
body telling us our muscles are still recovering and rebuilding. With proper rest and nutrition, those tiny micro-tears will repair and rebuild with more or stronger muscle fibers.
So why is this important?
Often times it’s due to good intentions that people feel the need to work out more than once a day. That or they’ll do the same routine day after day after day. They mean well. They want to be better and are taking action. But the truth is, it is possible to take too much action and are hindering their progress. It IS possible to work out or to repeat the same routine too much.
Let’s back up a bit. We’ve already established that when we workout, our muscles are breaking down. Muscle soreness is our
body’s way of telling us those muscles are still broken down and need more time to repair and rebuild so they can continue to come back stronger. If we go back and beat up on those same muscles that are still sore, they’ll have never gotten a chance to rebuild or come back stronger. What’s more, is we run the risk of breaking down more muscle in that workout, putting our body on a detour from burning fat the way we desire. In such cases, in regards to our weight, the number on the scale may change but our body fat percentage may remain the same or even increase…. And our body looks the same as it did when it
started. As you can imagine, this is an extremely frustrating experience.
It’s important to recover. I can’t stress this enough, so I’ll say it again. It’s important to recover. Every human body is the same. Recovery has to happen. Rest and recovery is what allows our bodies to progress and come back stronger every workout. On
average, the human body needs a minimum of a solid sleep cycle and 24 hours to recover. Depending on the intensity
of the workout, it could take two days. Soreness in the same muscle group for more than two days may be pointing
to overtraining or a lack of nutrition.
Here is a list of overtraining symptoms to look out for:
1) Regression. Your stamina and strength feel as if they’re at a lesser state than you’ve recently achieved or where you
2) Plateau. Assuming you’re truly pushing yourself, your stamina and strength never improve.
3) You’re exercising often and intensely and body fat isn’t changing or worse, is increasing while nutrition is in tact.
4) You train with 100% intensity every day. Not even the best athletes can handle such a routine. There should always be at least one recovery day in the week and even a light day just to get the heart rate up and blood pumping.
5) You feel sluggish and fatigued to the point that the workout feels pointless or you feel worthless (from start to finish).
6) Your joints are always in pain. This could be form or nutrition or a number of other things, but it can also be a case of putting too much stress on the body too often as well as your body compensating for other areas that can’t handle the stress.
7) You don’t recover from a workout and always feel drained/fatigued.
How often should one look to train?
Below average to average condition (beginner) – Start at 3 days a week for a couple/few weeks at low intensity and allow for ample recovery time. This will allow the body to ensure it comes back stronger and adjusts to the new routine you’re putting it
through. Starting with too much too fast has a high risk rate of injury or frustration that all of this new hard work isn’t seeing fast enough results.
Average condition (intermediate) – Train 3-5 days a week.
Above average condition (elite) – Train 4-6 days a week.
Regardless of the condition you are in, it’s ideal to dial it back every fourth week and give yourself a light week. Still work out, but give your body a chance to enhance its ability to recover and move by lowering your intensity level, yet still getting the blood
pumping and working up a sweat. Adding more focus on mobility and balance is a great way to utilize this week in addition to the regular workouts with lighter intensity.
Also, working out is just like anything else. No matter how much you love it, it’s just as likely you can burn yourself
out and fall out of love with it or just feel “blah” about it. Don’t let this happen. Every 3-4 months, give yourself one full week away from working out and just focus on nutrition. This week will allow your body to get a full recovery period and get completely
fresh. As long as your nutrition stays in tact, you will not lose any of your hard gained progress. You’ll feel better and refreshed and your body will thank you.
Stay tuned…. Part 2 discussing overtraining and injuries coming soon!