Monday, February 1, 2021

The Perils of Over Training — Why Exercising Once or Twice a Week is Enough!

Allowing your body to recover properly after exercise is crucial to reaping the benefits of working out.

More is always better — right? Well, when it comes to exercising effectively, that is simply not the case. 

One of the most misguided and potentially harmful recommendations you see all over the fitness industry is that you can’t exercise enough. If you’re working out three days a week, you should be doing four. If you’re doing four, why not five? Heck, if you aren’t dripping sweat 24/7, why even bother?

This cycle of thinking that more is better is not only preventing millions of people from achieving the benefits of exercise in the first place, it’s setting them up for guilt, self-sabotage and ultimately injury from over training.

In the past few blogs we’ve covered what effective exercise should look like in the form of progressive resistance training, why that training should be performed safely, and why the intensity of effort should remain high in order to get the most results in the most time-efficient way.

At Efficient Fitness, because we exercise in an intense but safe manner, the intensity not only necessitates brevity (workouts only lasting 20-30 minutes) but also necessitates infrequency. 

Only Once or Twice a week?

Here’s one of my favorite analogies. Imagine exercise is like digging a hole. You dig a small hole in the ground (the act of exercise), and then over the next three or four days, you scoop a little dirt back in the hole (the act of recovering). After a few days, you realize you’ve not only filled up the hole completely, but you’ve actually added a little extra dirt, making a small mound where the hole was (your strength gains). 

Every time you recover, you’re filling the hole left by exercise back in, and are rewarded with new and stronger muscle tissue. If you exercise intensely day in and day out, you just continue to dig the hole deeper, and never allow yourself to fill the hole back in (or let your body recover). This is called over training!

So in an over-trained state, you’ll not only have zero results to show for your hard work, but you’ll spend your entire week below baseline, in a continuous state of feeling weak and frail. You will not have enough energy to workout, you won’t feel good and eventually you will become frustrated and quit exercising altogether.

The Solution

So how often should we exercise? If you're performing progressive resistance training in a supervised environment with a high intensity of effort, the vast majority of people can get the most benefit from working out once or twice a week. This allows the trainee to deliver a meaningful exercise stimulus to their muscles, and recover in plenty of time for their next session.

At Efficient Fitness, we want our clients to be spending more time ABOVE baseline than BELOW it. You should feel fatigued after your workout, but after 24 hours, you should feel back to normal, and after that, you should feel even better than before you worked out!

Everyone is different and recovers at different rates, but a general suggested recovery time of 3-7 days works for the vast majority of people under a standard distribution bell curve.

If you want to learn more about how working out just once or twice a week can bring you tremendous health benefits, call 425-214-2251 or email to book your complimentary session today.