Monday, March 9, 2015

Are You OVER-Training ?

You are working out with intensity, pushing yourself to the limits, to the brink of exhaustion EVERY workout yet it seems that you are not really reaping the benefits of it? Programs like hTe Biggest Loser, Insanity, P90x, Jillian Michaels DVDs, and other exercise programs advocate going 110% during your training. They advertise this perception that if you don’t walk away after your workout saying “that workout kicked my butt” then you didn’t train hard enough, you phoned it in, and you aren’t going to get results.
For some reason there is a mental correlation between working out to exhaustion and that being "satisfying". As humans we think MORE is MORE when actually more might stalling your results !
I am not saying that training hard and giving your all is a bad thing, far from that as I advocate training hard. But there’s a difference with training hard and literally kicking your butt to the ground every session. And I am going to tell you why.
Training to failure EVERY session can become counterproductive.
Here’s what you need to know about training to failure:
-Training to failure is a tool, it’s a useful tool but you have to be careful to not over use it
-Training to failure has to be cycled and volume needs to be cut down a bit
-Constantly training to failure will have counterproductive effects, but if you train to sub maximal sets you will be able to make better gains
-If you’re constantly training to failure, your energy for your central nervous system drive will eventually crash, your neuromuscular system will have nothing left to put out and your strength will start to regress
-Constantly training to failure will induce a lot of muscle damage, which leads to excessive soreness, and when you are constantly sore you can’t train at an optimal level.
In theory, there is a such thing as "over-training"
-The National Strength and Conditioning Associations standard text books states:
“Overtraining which is typically caused by extreme levels of training frequency, volume, intensity, or a combination of these variables without sufficient rest or recovery.”
But there is also a concept of over-reaching that is often confused with over-training.Overreaching consists of performance going down, losing a bit of strength,and losing a little endurance. Hormonal profiles might be out of whack, and you might end up losing drive to train. Research shows if you give yourself time to recover after an overreaching period, your body has a snap back effect where you get a lot of gains.
The catch is not your muscles but your mind that need the break! What you need to know about overtraining is you can overtrain your neuromuscular system, but as far as overtraining your muscles, there has never been any evidence that shows a muscle has been so overtrained to become catabolic. You will literally lose the will, the drive, and the mental focus before you ever overtrain a muscle.
To avoid overtraining your neuromuscular system, you need to use proper periodization when programming your training which includes strategically manipulating training frequency, volume, and intensity.
Kicking your butt every single workout will only lead to these issues:
-Training to failure too often can be counterproductive
-Excessive muscle damage leads to too much soreness and can be counterproductive
-Kicking your butt every workout will lead to mental burnout
Remember to train HARD but also SMART! Use periodization and find a training program that’s going to fire you up every day to ensure consistency and adherence which will thus lead to results.
Make sure you give yourself a mental break every now and then. Change up your workouts often and take it outside every once in a while. Switch things up, try new classes and most of all be EXCITED to hit the gym !!!
1. Fry et al. Impaired Performances with Excessive High-Intensity Free Weight Training. 2000
2. Heavens et al. The Effects of High Intensity Short Resistance Exercise on Muscle Damage Markers in Men and Women. 2014
3. Essentials of strength training and conditioning. NSCA. Baechle and Earle. 2008. Third edition. Pg. 137

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