You’re an achiever, a man/woman of action, and you work out because you want results! But, did you know that taking that extra workout during the week could actually be jeopardizing the results that you want? In fact, working out six or seven days a week won’t necessarily give your body enough time to recuperate. Rest and recovery are one of fitness’ most crucial elements. You know what they say: too much of something is never a good thing.
According to Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center[ , healthy adults are recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week coupled with some strength training at least twice per week in order to fully target the different muscle groups.
For those people who are in the routine of exercising regularly or those training for athletic events may be able to go beyond these recommendations without any adverse effects. However, for those of you who have just started, it’s highly encouraged for you to start small and slowly increase the intensity of your workouts in order to prevent injury and burnout.
Am I Working Out Too Much?
Are you putting pressure on yourself by trying to hit certain days regardless of circumstance? Are you still getting enough rest in between your workouts, your job, and life in general?
Setting unrealistic goals for your own attendance can be a critical mistake in building a positive habit with your training. If your body is feeling tired and you need a chance to rest don’t feel guilty for taking the time you need. Rest up, and get back into it the next day.
Now, I’m not suggesting you get flaky about getting into the gym. We all know you need to push yourself to ‘just get to the gym’ even when you don’t feel like it. But there is a limit. And there are times that your body simply needs the extra rest.
Ask yourself: does my workout constantly leave me exhausted and fatigued? Are my muscles perpetually sore? Have I hit a plateau or even a decrease in my performance? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, you could be overtraining and you might need to do something about your routine.
How do you strike the balance between training a rest?
Remember, the “best workout schedule” is one where YOU are experiencing two things:
- You’re having loads of fun.
If either of those things goes missing then something needs to be changed to make sure you can enjoy this healthy lifestyle you are living long term. Fitness is a journey after all. So how do you strike the balance between training consistently and avoiding the mental excuses not to train, and overtraining?
Well, here’s a good guide. 2 days on, 1 day off.
For example, I could train Monday and Tuesday, then take Wednesday off. Then train Thursday and Friday and take Saturday off.
The next week, I could continue on with that pattern by training Sunday and Monday and taking Tuesday off or I could change up the routine.
Either way, if I am consistently getting into the gym 3-4 times a week, getting 8 hours plus a night sleep and not feeling guilty about my days off I am going to get great results.
There’s Nothing Wrong With A Well Deserved R&R
Giving your body the time to recuperate after a rigorous workout will help your muscles repair the damage it sustained during exercise and prepare for the next workout. The truth is, strength and endurance gains can’t happen in the gym alone but also require recovery. So taking at least one day off from the gym will give your body that much needed rest.
Even though taking regular day offs from the gym may feel somewhat counter-intuitive. You might find that one or two days off from the gym each week is more beneficial than going to the gym every single day. Just think about how you feel about not getting enough sleep at night: your brain and overall cognitive skills are fuzzy and your body falls into a breaking down state which can also increase stress levels, decrease muscle strength, and make you feel extremely moody. This same fatigue happens when your body is not given enough time to recover from a high-intensity workout. Rest days benefit your mind. We all know how willpower and mindset is an essential part in keeping up with your daily workout so a well-rested mind will help get you hyped to jumping back into your program.