In a training society where everyone is obsessed with “GAINZ” and making Kermit the Frog memes about them, something needs to be pointed out that is super important: Overtraining is real. Yeah I know, you wanna lift all the time, because it’s your drug and it makes you “feel all the feels” and other Generation Me things you see online, but knock it the F off. Seriously.
Rest days need to happen. Period. You’re causing a ton of micro tears and trauma in your body that need to be repaired and because you’re an organic being that requires rest to function properly, as that rest of any kind is important. Your hormones need it. Your neurotransmitters need it. Your immune system needs it. Even your gym shoes could use a day off to air out. You know those friends you never see? Your bed buddy? Your mom? Yeah, they kind of miss you too. And your floor needs vaccuming too.
The problem is you’re being fed from all angles that these big massive people who aren’t you or have your goals, or guys and gals that are training for 9 shows a year that talk about training twice a day for gains and fat burning and to look a certain way probably can get away with it for a short period of time because they don’t work normal jobs or a multitude of reasons. But the influence they have on a large group of people is very real. Some folks have insane genetics, but MOST don’t. You see people who look a certain way on social media and you want what they have, failing to realize a vast majority of the huge and large use growth hormones, steroids and a cornucopia of other drugs to sustain a certain look. But if you even talk to a large amount of them, they sleep as much as possible. They also eat twice as much you.
For the folks who don’t make a living as a bodybuilder or high profile fitness model, trying to train as they do and still balance everyday life can break someone down in a variety of ways. THIS IS WHY TAKING AT LEAST A DAY OFF A WEEK IS VITAL. Remember we do not grow in the gym while lifting, we grow at home, while sleeping 6-8 hours a night and by resting and eating well. We’re only in the gym 60 minutes a day five times a week.
So you want progress? Try rewiring your outlook and program as such:
1) Train 4-5 days a week.
NO MORE. By this I mean lifting heavy and kicking ass. The more ass you kick on the days you lift, the more rest you’ll need to bounce back.
2) Train no more than two days in a row.
If you train 10 days straight without a break it’s like you’re flipping of your body and immune system. Do you love your body? Then get in, kick ass, and give it a day off before your next two days of ass kicking.
3) Hit it hard but hit it FAST
If you’re in the gym for 2-3 hours you’re DOING IT WRONG. There is labcoat Helsinki evidence that after this period of time, that testosterone levels begin to drop and cortisol begins to rise like an erection. This will drag your body down by making it more difficult to achieve growth once the workout has ended. If you’re there longer than this, you’re being too social. Shut up and get to work.
4) Construct a program that uses free weight compound movements.
Machines have their place but ideally it’s all about the free weights. You wanna use them as much as you can to achieve growth and progress. The balance and focusis takes to lift free weights activates more muscles, more muscle fibers, and “excites” the nervous system more than machines do. Anyone who is big or developed will always preach about the basics: deadlifts, squats, military presses, bench presses, bent rows, curls and so on. For optimal progress, go the route of the free weights.
Training is a joy. It’s our release and how we get to our physical and asthetic goals. It feels good. But like anything that feels good, like having sex while on esctasy and skydiving all at the same time, too much of it can eventually break you down and kill you. No lie. So learn to pump the brakes a little bit and you can achieve the results you want without sacrificing your body and brain.