You’re a busy person but you’re still determined to get into shape.
The good news is most of us don’t need to be training every day. Not 5 days a week. Not even 4! Training more than 3 or 4 times a week, assuming you’re not an elite athlete, means you’re either over-training (which can have detrimental effects and really set you back on your fitness goals), or you’re not training with enough quality. You can train hard or you can train long – you can’t do both.
Over-training, and not allowing your body sufficient rest/recovery periods:
You see, so many people have this misconception that you lose weight, build muscle and get fit while you’re at the gym. Let me tell you, that’s not how it works.
In the gym what happens (if you’re training effectively) is that you create a physiological stimulus to trigger weight loss, muscle growth, improved cardiovascular fitness etc. For example if you’re doing resistance/weight training (you should be if you want to lose fat and build/tone your muscles), you’re creating micro-tears in your muscles – controlled injury you could look at it as.
So once you’ve ‘injured’ your body in the gym, then your body will need time to ‘heal’, before it can rebuild.
Think of a workout as digging a large hole in the ground, complete recovery as filling the hole, and muscle growth (or improving your fitness in any other form) as building a block on top of the filled up hole. When you over-train you will be digging a hole that is too big for your body to fill, which means you will never have the opportunity to build a block on top! No extra block means no improvement!
I think a big problem is that in today’s media we see the professional models and athletes looking and performing amazingly well, and read how they train twice per day, six days per week, and do 20 or more sets per body part! People think, “If that’s how they got that good, the same principals must work for me”
What many fail to realise, however, is that because of steroids, growth hormones, and a plethora of other drugs, coupled with ideal genetics, and quite possibly no 9 to 5 job to worry about, and a whole team supporting them ranging from dieticians to physios, the pros are able to train far more than most without suffering any adverse effects.
This just isn’t realistic for the genetically average, drug free trainee, with a regular job and commitments.
You can achieve amazing fitness results by training 3-5 times a week, from 20-60 mins at a time max!
The other 3-4 days are still important though. In fact, how you use them can mean the difference between success and failure.
One or two of these days should include very little activity. Yes being lazy and really chilling out is what is required. You need to let your body ‘heal’ before it can grow.
However, on two of the rest days you should do what’s called ‘active rest’. This involves incorporating low intensity cardiovascular work to increase your heart rate and metabolic rate.
Active rest helps both your body and mind. Soreness is natural after a workout, but the rush of exercise makes you feel better mentally and doing a bit of light exercise that gets your blood circulating will actually help reduce the stiffness/soreness.
You won’t complain about how sore you are if you actively revive your muscles and your mind. Exercise reduces stress, and stress disrupts sleep and can increase cortisol levels which is not good.
This light activity shouldn’t be intense. It will involve low intensity activities such as taking the stairs instead of the lift/escalator, walking the dogs, a leisurely cycle ride. As a rule of thumb you should be able to hold a conversation whilst doing the activity.
The point isn’t to exert yourself on these active rest days, it’s to get you moving, burning a few calories and stretch the muscles you worked so hard earlier in the week.
The fitter you are the less rest you will need, as your recovery times will be quicker. Also after starting a new training routine or programme your body will need more rest until your body adapts.
Massages can also help speed recovery via increased circulation and reduced swelling/fatigue.
TIP – Another great trick, if you’re brave enough, is a hot/cold treatment, ideally to be done immediately after a training session.
The hot/cold treatment reduces swelling and improves healing of damaged muscle tissue. The application of cold causes a reduction of inflammation and a contraction of the blood vessels and tissues. The heat allows expansion of the vessels and tissues. The two combined creates a pumping mechanism allowing excess fluid and waste products from the swelling to be removed and fresh blood containing healing nutrients to flow through the area.
You can do a hot/cold treatment in just 6 minutes.
If you have a bath AND separate shower:
Fill the bath with cold water (the colder the better). Fully submerge yourself neck down for 1 min. It should take your breath away when you first get in.
After the minute, get out and stand under a hot shower (the hotter the better) for 1 minute.
Do the cycle 3 times.
You can still do a cold/hot treatment just using your shower.
The greater the extremes in temperature the more effective the treatment will be. It’s not for the faint-hearted but it really is worth it.
Rest is important. In the gym, you do NOT build muscle – you break it down. Later, after your workout your body will rebuild muscle when you rest and while you sleep so make sure you take the time to recover. Your body will thank you for it!
IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A LONG-TERM HEALTHY LIFESTYLE THAT WILL DRAMATICALLY IMPROVE HOW YOU FEEL AND LOOK YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT TRAINING.
I GUIDE YOU LITERALLY THROUGH EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO SUCCEED.
THIS ISN’T JUST A REGULAR PT SERVICE THAT IS JUST ABOUT DOING A FEW EXERCISE SESSIONS EACH WEEK – THIS LOOKS AT ADDRESSING ALL AREAS OF YOUR LIFE THAT ARE AFFECTING YOUR HEALTH AND HOW YOU CAN BUILD CONSISTENCY AND EVENTUALLY A ROUTINE THAT YOU WILL KEEP UP WITH, WITHOUT HAVING TO THINK!
I WILL GIVE YOU QUALITY TRAINING SESSIONS THAT GIVE YOUR BODY THE STIMULUS TO REBUILD STRONGER AND FITTER MONTH AFTER MONTH, PLUS GIVE YOU THE GUIDANCE ON WHAT YOU NEED TO BE DOING WHEN YOU’RE OUTSIDE OF THE GYM TO ALLOW YOUR BODY TO ‘HEAL’ WHICH IS KEY TO ACTUALLY STAYING INJURY-FREE, AND ON TRACK TO ACHIEVING YOUR FITNESS GOALS.