Train hard, but train smart too!
With the New Year over a month underway many people are starting on fresh new workout programs and pushing forward towards their results at full speed ahead. After a month or two many people start seeing results which may inspire them to push even harder to greatly increase the rate at which their bodies are changing.
It is very common to gain momentum quickly when beginning a new fitness program. The initial excitement is a great thing, but it is very important to not go too far with the amount and volume of your workouts. Moderation is the key.
The main thing you want to be cautious of while on a fitness program is overtraining. Overtraining is not only hazardous to your results, but to your health as well.
The right amount of exercise is beneficial in so many ways: muscle growth, fat burning, increased energy, a stronger immune system, better sleep and elevated mood.
However, if the body is over trained then each of these benefits will suffer. Symptoms of overtraining are typically chronic fatigue, decreased immunity, depressed mood, lack of interest in exercise, prolonged recovery and insomnia. There is also a much greater risk of injury when the body is over trained.
When a person over trains the body releases the hormone cortisol. This is a hormone that can lead to muscle breakdown if levels build up too high.
Too much cortisol will not only push the body into a catabolic state (when the muscles are broken down), but also weaken the metabolism which will lead to more fat being stored.
Cortisol has its purpose in the human body, but too much of it can undo so much of a your hard work in and out of the gym to get in shape and be healthy.
It is imperative that the body is kept in an anabolic state (building and toning muscle) and a metabolic state (burning calories).
The ways to avoid overtraining are by working smarter, not necessarily harder and take the “less is more” approach to your fitness routine. “Less is more” yields the most desirable results.
Here are some tips on preventing overtraining:
Limit workouts to 45-60 minutes max for 3-5 days per week.
After a certain amount of time the hormone response of the body to exercise is complete and any extra activity is no longer effective in building and toning muscle. Professional bodybuilders workout 4-5 days per week for about 45 minutes per session. They make every minute count when they train, but they are totally finished with their workout routine in a relatively short amount of time.
Get plenty of rest.
Try your best to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. If you did not get adequate sleep, then try to fit a nap into your schedule at some point. Your body will reward you with plenty of energy, alertness and an elevated mood for it.
Incorporate plenty of variety into your workout routine.
Not only will this help to “shock” the muscles via the muscle confusion approach, but it will also ensure that the exact same parts of each muscle group are not overworked each workout. Muscle balance is very important in avoiding injury and for overall symmetry of the body.
Eat enough carbohydrates and protein.
Carbs are fuel for energy, and protein is the building material for muscles. You need the right amounts of both to keep the body healthy. When you are working out hard each day, you need to replenish the nutrients that your body uses. Get plenty of carbs at breakfast and lunch and eat protein consistently throughout the day, especially immediately after your workout.
Having a battle-plan is one of the most crucial aspects of training. Make sure that your plan is balanced with enough rest days and the right amount of nutrition to give the body what it needs to grow and recover at a healthy rate.
Train hard, train smart, train effectively for life!