Myth: You need to kill your muscles with many exercises and not rest more than one day a week in order to see good results!
False! I always hear this myth a lot whether in the gym, from my clients, potential clients, and friends. I see them doing exercises for each individual muscle and staying more than two hours on the weight training alone! Some also join more than 3 exercise classes a day in addition to their weight training. They don’t rest much during the week, and prefer to take two days off maximum a week. In this article I will discuss the risks involved in over training, their negative effects, and what is the right way to plan your exercise program.
The fact is, if you don’t give your body enough rest, you will stop getting results, get inured, and/or get sick due to over training! After all, we are human beings and not robots. Let’s discuss these possible outcomes of over training in more detail.
Firstly, injury is a common consequence of over training I see in many people I encounter. Common injuries I’ve seen are knee problems, aching joints, and shoulder injuries. Whenever you train, your muscle fibers are being ripped and destroyed which is natural, and then they are repaired to be even stronger than before as an immune system response so they can handle the weight and intensity of your previous workout (that’s how you get bigger and see more results). So what happens when you don’t rest the muscle enough, your body doesn’t have time to rebuild the muscle fibers that you destroyed in your workout! Mind you this doesn’t only apply to weight training, it also applies to people doing other forms of exercise such as running, dancing, etc.
Usually when people come to me for advice, they tell me that they train so hard, but reached a plateau and stopped getting any more results, if not started losing results. This too is a result of the over training which I mentioned in the previous paragraph. If your muscle fibers are not getting a chance to rebuild themselves and recover, how do you expect to see results? Sometimes when you stop training for a week or two, you notice that your body has improved, and after coming back to train, your performance has improved (happened with a lot of my clients). This is because you gave your body a chance to recover and rebuild itself.
Finally, I noticed many people starting to feel lethargic, exhausted, and sometimes sick all the time. This is because over training can harm your immune system, and overload your blood with an enzyme called CK (they usually have it in your blood test results). CK is a potentially harmful enzyme produced by your cells when they are damaged. Bumping your foot or hand can produce that enzyme, which is natural and your body cleans it up. However, when you don’t rest enough, your body doesn’t have enough time or resources to clean up your blood from this enzyme. I have seen people hospitalized due to an increase of this enzyme in their blood stream.
In conclusion, all these effects of over training is the reason why it is so crucial to get enough rest to give your body time to recover. Studies show that as little of 3 days of training per week are enough for you to see good results and be healthy. If you are doing weight training, you must rest each muscle AT LEAST 48 hours before you train it again. In my opinion, you need more than that (around 72 hours). If you are working out a big muscle group (chest, legs, back), 4 exercises are enough for you to give it a good workout! For smaller muscle groups (biceps and triceps), 2 to 3 max are enough. Don’t forget that whenever you work your chest, the secondary muscles used are front shoulders and triceps. When working your back, the secondary muscles used are back shoulders and biceps.
Remember, to avoid over training, give each muscle group enough time to recover, get good uninterrupted sleep, and have a good nutritional program to give your body the resources to recover!
To read more about over training, click [here].
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About the Guest Writer:
Suheil Al-Tayea is a qualified personal trainer and sports nutritionist and a graduate from Heriot-Watt University. Suheil posts a lot of health tips on his instagram (trainerq8) if anyone’s interested. He will be posting a lot of healthy related posts and tackling myth fitness routines.