I've recently been perplexed by the training that takes place in our world today. The common thing I hear from athletes today is that they either are not provided any rest between reps, not provided any low intensity days, not provided any off-days, or some combination of the three. When it comes to general/sports training and performance, the common idea is that the more you work hard, the more gains you will make. This is true, to an extent. The misconception is that if you go into the gym every single day and try to increase your max or work until you can't work anymore, that you will in turn maximize the gains you get as a whole. The belief is that this is how you get bigger, this is how you get better, and this is the only way to get stronger both physically and mentally. When looking at the bigger picture, when you think about all of that work you're putting in, when does your body have time to adapt to the work loads you're putting on it? In other words, if all you are doing is working hard all the time, when are you taking time to allow your body to rest and recover from each session? From each week? From each month??
The answer is, these people aren't allowing time for adaptation and recovery. Even within their own individual workouts they aren't allowing enough rest between sets to keep each rep high quality and each rep meaningful. As you deprive yourself of proper rest, you accrue an energy debt that will allow fatigue to set in quicker than if you had taken longer rest. The sets and reps that follow will both suffer in quality reps performed and ability to continue working at a higher intensity. Eventually your body WILL run out of energy and it WILL fail you because YOU FAILED IT.
The Risks This will result in one of a handful of outcomes. 1. Burnout - Training nonstop will lead to a loss of interest in working out. You will lose your passion to continue pushing forward and likely suffer extreme boredom while working out, loss of interest in the potential gains you're making, or quit altogether. 2. Plateau - The more you deprive your body the means to adapt and recover, the more likely it is you will stop making gains altogether and potentially even start to back slide in the gains you've made. 3. Injury - Along the same lines of adaptation, the higher frequency and work load you impose on your body without allowing the tissues time to recover, the higher chance that damage will occur. Eventually your body is stuck trying to recover from something that happened weeks or months ago. This compounds the stresses on the tissue over time and eventually, something has to give. 4. Other - Everybody's body chemistry is different and the damages that take place over time may vary from person to person. They include, but aren't limited to: mental changes, emotional changes, physical changes, and/or metabolic changes. Chronic fatigue and inflammation as your body is in panic mode to restore order is common in the "other" category.
The Solution Allow for rest that is comparable to the work load you're putting your body through. If you go very hard on Monday with a lot of heavy, intense work, be sure to: A. Take longer rest to in between the sets to maintain quality throughout the workout. Keeping the body well rested ensures that you're attacking each rep with as much energy as possible, and minimizing potential fatigue and compounded stresses throughout the workout. B. Turn Tuesday into a lower intensity day to flush the metabolic waste products out of the muscle from the day before and better prepare you from a potential harder workout on Wednesday. This will help get rid of some of the soreness, stiffness, and tightness you feel throughout your body from Monday. This will aid in adaptation to the work from both days and allow you to take more energy, mobility, and potential quality into Wednesday.
The Takeaway Be smart with your training routine. Treat your body the way you want it to treat you. It depends on YOU and YOUR actions. If it can't depend on you to allow it proper time to adapt to the stress, you can't depend on it to continue allowing you to grow and prosper from the intense training days you put it through.
I appreciate all comments and feedback! Whether it is regarding my page or it is regarding my posts. I also would like to know other potential blog topics you'd like me to write about. I love everything about the training process and would love to give my insight anyway I can. Whether it is to educate regarding a topic, debate a topic, or simply provide my opinion about different things related to health, wellness, fitness and performance.