This is a very real thing, and maybe, just maybe, you’re in need of an intervention
I’m going to make a confession here: I freakin’ love working out; sooo damn much!
You could say it’s my drug of choice, and when put in this context you can understand how over-training can easily become a big issue.
A Systemic Intervention:
Some time ago, I decided to push my level of cardiovascular fitness. I also wanted to build muscular endurance. So, I devised a killer-circuit based on a popular mode of Crossfit training; principally AMRAP – As Many Rounds As Possible using a circuit of exercises within a given time.
The idea was sound, but the fitter I got, the more obsessed I became with seeing just how far I could go. This stuff was clearly working, so what’s the problem?
The problem came after achieving what I guess you could call my ‘peak’. I’d pretty much hit my limit in terms of Maximum Natural Potential, and there is only so long you can sustain this. However, me being me, I ignored the warning signs and kept grinding.
Inevitably, my enthusiasm and failure to take adequate rest, caused massive stress to my nervous-system; which subsequently crashed. My immune system became compromised, I lost my voice for almost two weeks, and I suffered a whole array of infections that knocked me sideways for almost two months.
To Be Your Best: Rest!
The point is: all that could have been avoided by acknowledging the necessity to get adequate rest, and not ignoring the feedback that my body was giving me.
There’s a temptation when you first embark on a new training regime to think that more is better; that increased frequency will get you to your goals more quickly. Unfortunately, this logic isn’t sound and can exact a heavy cost:
- Strength goes down.
- Recovery takes longer.
- Levels of the stress hormone Cortisol become elevated.
- Nutrients aren’t effectively partitioned.
- Extended feelings of tiredness.
- Illness and infections.
- Compromised Immune System.
Just to name a few!
Any well-structured exercise program will be accompanied by recommendations regarding intensity and frequency. And although it can be frustrating on those rest days where you’re dying to get back at it; time spent recovering is just, if not more important than the actual workouts.
Even now, I sometimes find it difficult to take a rest day. Other times, I’m glad not to lift anything heavier than a coffee-cup. These are the days that remind me that I still have a potential to push too far if I don’t listen to my body.
That’s not to say that plenty of low-level, non-taxing movement is off the table. On the contrary: it’s essential to good health and acts as active recovery.
As a rough guide: once a muscle-group has been trained, it’s advisable not to train it directly again for at least 48 hours. This is a minimum. If the intensity has been really high, then more rest is definitely required.
Dream Big, Train Smart:
Personal ambition is the most amazing and inspiring phenomenon. I always get chills when I see people smashing their fitness goals or embarking on a new journey towards health and fitness.
The point is: while ambition and drive is brilliant; learn to listen to your body and resist the urge to rush the process.
I promise you that results will come. It’s all a question of consistency, patience and training intelligently.
Read More: 5 Simple Tips to Maximise Your Workouts