Busting the Myths about Overtraining and Recovery
Last week on Instagram, we profiled a member @aliciaerrero who came to Accelerate one month ago. At that time, she had been consistently taking classes at Orange Theory Fitness 6-7 times per week. Orange Theory is promoted as a high intensity interval training workout that lasts 60 minutes. After one month of reducing her exercise output to 3x/week and adding weight training, Alicia is already seeing results.
Was Alicia overtraining? That depends on how you define the word. Overtraining has become somewhat of a buzz word, something that can deter athletes from pushing themselves to become better. The important thing to understand is that overtraining is relative to one’s capability. Olympic athletes can train every day for 2-3 hours per day at a high intensity. Someone brand new to fitness would never benefit from that workload.
The other thing to remember is that those Olympic elite athletes are recovering, sleeping and feeding their bodies. And the programming of their workouts is designed to avoid overtraining by planning their workouts to avoid too much stress and strain on one area of the body.
Most of the members at Accelerate are not full-time athletes, many are parents, executives, office workers and people who have other things to do than hit the gym. And that’s where Alicia’s story gets really good. She cut her workout time in half and is getting better results. Good programming, careful planning and focused full-body training that includes lifting, conditioning and agility work has given her a better result in fewer minutes per week. She is incorporating recovery, sleep and good nutrition for improved overall health.
Many members that I observe struggle with workout anxiety, meaning, they feel that one workout per day is not enough. At Accelerate we want to challenge our members to become workout efficient, because in the long run it promotes strength, endurance and incorporates enough recovery to go hard again while avoiding injury. Here are some tips to get through the “I need to workout more” mental game.
Remember that muscles rebuild while you rest.
After lifting, muscles are broken down and need time to rebuild. Sleep is a crucial component to efficient gains in fitness capacity. You must give your body time to recover for muscle fibers to rebuild and gain strength.
Once a day: go hard!
Tell yourself you will do one thing per day and you will do it well. Maybe that’s one of our bootcamps or a lifting session at the gym. If it’s a HIIT class, make that your workout for the day. If you can do multiple sessions, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. Leave it all out on the table.
Fuel your body with the energy it needs pre and post workout. Carbs are a great thing to get in just before and just after an intense workout and they help to build lean muscle. If you workout early in the morning, have a protein shake afterwards. Remember, it’s about working out smarter and more efficiently for maximum results.