Slow Progress? You Might Be Working Out Too Much
We live in a culture obsessed with MORE. This message has found its way into our workouts.
It’s not enough to just workout. We want “intense” workouts. Workouts that burn 1,000 calories. Workouts that make us want to puke. Workouts that leave us so sore we want to scream every time we walk up the stairs.
The crazy thing is the people doing these workouts rarely get the results they want. So they slave on as long as they can until they can’t stand it anymore. Then they quit.
Sad isn’t it?
But what’s the solution? If we aren’t getting good results do we have to workout even harder???
Nope. In fact, the opposite is true.
Most people in gyms are working out too much. When it comes to exercise, some is good but more is not better.
(Photo Credit: Melissa Dooley Photography)
Here are 2 reasons working out too much is a real problem and what you should do instead:
1) Doing Too Much Drastically Slows Down Your Progress
Working out is a stress. Stress causes us to adapt. Those adaptations are what give us the results we want: A leaner, stronger, and healthier body.
So stress = progress…. To a point.
If you have too much stress (you’re working out too much) you can’t recover from your workouts. And when you don’t recover, you don’t adapt. And when you don’t adapt, you’re left with no results.
There’s a sweet spot as far as getting the best results. Don’t workout at all and you’ll get no results, but if you workout too much you’ll still get little to no results. You want to settle somewhere in the middle. (I’ll tell you how to find this sweet spot at the end of this post.)
2) Training Too Much Leads To Burnout
Training too much sets you up for burnout in 2 ways:
1. Physical Burnout
This goes along with point #1. When you can’t recover from your workouts, your body starts to get run down. When you do this long enough your body starts begging for rest. Actually, it’s less like begging and more like forcing you to rest. Signs of physical burnout are being tired all the time, feeling unmotivated, low sex drive, and either having a much higher or lower appetite than normal.
2. Psychological Burnout
Your mind gets tired too. And sure, on occasion it’s important to do the work even when you don’t feel like it. But if you find yourself constantly dreading your workouts, something isn’t right.
It’s not uncommon for people to burnout psychologically from workouts that leave you exhausted all the time. Also, if you’re working out 4,5,6+ days per week the time commitment can start to feel like a heavy burden.
With the exception of an occasional day where you feel off physically or mentally, you should always be ready to workout! You should have the energy and the motivation to do it. If you don’t, you’ve probably burnt out.
Here’s a quick checklist to see if you’ve been working out too much:
-Tired All The Time
-Low Sex Drive
-Dreading Working Out When It Was Once Fun
-Very Low Or Very High Appetite
-Slow Or Non-Existent Fat Loss Despite Sticking To A Solid Nutrition Plan
-Not Getting Stronger Or Performing Better In The Gym
If some or most of those items describe you, you may be overdoing it.
What’s the solution?
If you’re super exhausted, take a few weeks off from the gym. Focus on eating plenty of healthy foods and sleeping as much as possible. Walk for exercise but nothing else.
Next, choose a workout plan or program that focuses on methodically increasing your performance over time. Choose a plan centered around getting you results, not one that focuses on exhausting you or making you sore.
3 Strength Training workouts per week that last about 45 minutes is a great starting place. In fact, 99% of the population can easily achieve their fitness goals without ever doing more than 3 workouts per week.
Skeptical? I get it. The Fitness Industry has been telling you MORE MORE MORE your whole life. But at Steel Strength Training, our clients seem to be progressing just fine :)
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