If a little is good, more must be better. Right?
This may be true, but sometimes we get carried away and the more turns into A LOT more. This can be bad, especially when it comes to exercise.
Exercise is a stress to the body, and at the right amount it is a very good stress to the body. Overdo it and you might find yourself in an exercise science textbook under the heading OVER TRAINING SYNDROME. Nobody wants to be a syndrome!
Overtraining is a physical, behavioral and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of exercise exceeds recovery capacity. Some of the symptoms include: persistent muscle soreness, persistent fatigue, increased incidence of injury, irritability, frequent colds, and decrease in muscle strength … to name just a few.
This can happen if you’re working yourself into the ground by training too frequently and intensely.
We see this on social media frequently. The person who brags in a post about vomiting after a workout or is proud of the fact that he was really rundown with a cold but “worked through it.”
There’s nothing wrong with working hard as long as you train smart.
Training adds stress to our body. We need to manage that stress along with all the other stressors in our everyday life. If you’re run down with a cold, your body has to fight it off so adding the stress of a workout might not be a good idea. Yes, sometimes a little movement when we don’t feel 100% is helpful, but not always. It’s a case by case issue.
Sweat and soreness is not the benchmark of an effective training program. Working up a sweat and feeling a bit sore after a workout is a nice reminder that you’re not a couch potato, but it’s not an effective way of measuring the benefits of your workout.
At Commit Fitness we’re a fan of using the training guideline of “the minimum effective dose.” This means 3- 5 hours of quality training per week; 2-3 days of a strength based training program; 1-2 days of moderately intense cardio for 30 minutes. Round this out with movement such as a brisk walk or a yoga class.
Improvements in your strength and overall fitness occur only during the rest period following hard training. This rest period takes 12-24 hours to complete. If sufficient rest is not available, complete regeneration will not occur.
Trying to lose fat?
Along with training smart, adequate recovery, managing stress, proper nutrition and enough sleep round out the top 5 keys to success.
Remember, you can’t out train a bad diet. Eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods, in the right amounts without overeating. When it comes to fat loss, the only thing you’ll get out of really intense and frequent workouts is a very big appetite. It’s important to fuel your training properly, but if your training turns you into an eating machine, try backing down on the frequency of your intense training. And don’t forget: get between 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.
Putting this all together …
Train smart by 1) using the minimum effective dose guideline; 2) give your body the recovery time it needs; 3) manage your stress by not exercising on days that you’re sick, or have too much stress at work or home; 4) fuel your body with a wide variety of nutrient rich foods in the right amounts; 5) and get quality sleep in the right amount most nights.
Follow these guidelines and you will be successful in reducing body fat. If you'd like more information on Commit Fitness, visit our website at www.commitfitness-ma.com or phone 978-751-8042.