When new trainees get excited about training, they want to workout everyday! So many people glamourise “no days off” “training 7 days a week” ” training twice a day” that others think that’s what you need to do to get results.
Well newsflash: that is not the way to get results. In fact, this will delay results. This will fatigue you and make you burn out and give up. And if you push through the fatigue, you’ll be training at 50% intensity of what you could actually do if you rested. Training more is not better! Training smart is better!
The high intensity “no days off” method works for ELITE athletes who have worked over many years to get to this level. It does not work if you just started training this week, month or year. You are not an elite athlete and training all the time is NOT ideal no matter what your favourite social media fitness pro says!
What happens when you train all the time?
Intense training activates your sympathetic nervous system. This is your fight or flight response. When you are in the gym stimulating your muscles, you are ripping the muscle fibres. You are also using up the energy (glycogen) stored in your muscles. It is not ideal that you go back to the gym and rip the already ripped muscles. You also need to refill the energy (glycogen) in your muscles before you use them again.
When you train while fatigued, you won’t be able to give 100%. If you’re not able to give 100% you won’t get to your goal any faster than if you had taken a day off.
Training all the time also effects your Central Nervous System. If your CNS is fatigued, your whole body will feel fatigued, exhausted, uncoordinated- workouts that used to feel easy would feel difficult. However, your CNS is not just effected by training. It is effected by stress- a stressful job, a bad break up, hectic schedule- anything that causes you stress.
So what should you do?!
Think in terms of Yin and Yang. High intensity followed by low intensity. To rest and recover, you have to activate your body’s parasympathetic nervous system. This can be achieved by relaxing activities such as walking in nature, relaxing yoga/stretching, tai chi, hot bath, deep diaphragmatic breathing, muscle relaxation, slow swimming, playing with children or animals, meditation, and overall having a positive mental attitude.
Also important are regular health check ups by your doctor, physiotherapists and massage therapists. If you have a nagging injury or pain, get it checked, don’t keep training and hope it goes away!!
Remember: your body is not actually a machine. You want it to perform at full capacity, you have to give it something to perform with. Everyone needs down time! You won’t be less of a beast if you took some time off. Lions sleep 18 hours a day and tigers sleep 15 hours! 🙂