This is a guest post by Kirry from The Healthy Nut.
Kirry – being a certified nutritionist who has been working consistently on her fitness for years – has some really great and helpful content on her fitness blog so go check it out and bookmark it for safe keeping!
“Working out 5 times a week, or even 6 times, is something that has become so common that we instantly accept this and everyone who has been trying to tone up, lose weight or gain muscle think this is a basic rule. But actually, it’s not. It’s nuts!!
I have discovered that working out for 5 days a week for years on end is draining your body and nervous system. Eventually your body is going to slow down it’s regeneration and your nervous/immune system is growing weak. Your body is getting tired and it will show in lack of motivation, lack of energy, stagnation in your progress, lower-back pains, more soreness and muscle-pain and eventually; injury and illness.
Like Tatianna (ex–professional figure skater and a certified personal trainer.) says in one of her posts: “Working out 5 days a week is way too much, especially when we train as intense as we do. (strength training) Only people who don’t train that hard or complete beginners can do 5 days a week, but they still have to supervised by a trainer when they do that, because a trainer can adjust the load. 5 days is very taxing, not only on our body, but our nervous system as well. You can only train 5 days for a short period of time. If we don’t take a break then our body will take it for us. Only professional athletes workout 5 to 6 times a week, but that’s only on high season. It’s all about the quality; if you put in good solid 3 or 4 days of quality training, that is all you need.”
I have been working out 5 times a week for 3 years now, doing strength training. The workouts I have been doing were intense and tough, and to be honest.. The last 2 months I have been feeling like I’m doing too much, but I didn’t know whether I was being demotivated, slacking or just feeling over-trained and tired. And the last 4 weeks it felt like I wasn’t having fun anymore. That’s a bad sign right? Like it became a task I needed to do. I couldn’t keep up with my training schedule and my body suffered. My muscles were sore and tired, I got sick and felt so guilty and crappy and from there my mental beat downs began.
So, two weeks ago I decided to listen to my body and started training 4 times a week, maybe even 3 times when I’m tired from my job that requires a lot of energy. I know this may sound like it’s not a big deal, but I think everyone who’s struggling with the same concept knows exactly how hard it is to give yourself a break, or when to take a step down while trying to tell yourself that it’s fine to do so and how this doesn’t mean you’re giving up. It means listening to your body to prevent a negative curve that will eventually blow up your progress.
Personally I needed a reality-check, which I got, but I definitely was afraid the guilt for not working out 5-6 times a week would create an obsessive and negative addiction. That’s insane, right and not healthy. So I ran into Tatianna telling me -as someone who knows her stuff- how it’s fine to lighten up a bit, and now I’m able to let this guilt go and focus on form & fun! It feels like a weight has been lifted… heh, that sounds ironic.”
As some of you may know, I’ve been struggling with this problem recently too.
I can really relate to the guilt she’s been feeling and the fear of an unhealthy addiction, but as I said in my recent post about focusing on wellbeing when working out a lot, we have to realise and respect our limitations to prevent counter-productive results such as burn out and injury.
We need to remember it’s not strictly true that the more we work out in a week, the faster we’ll get to our goals and it can actually be doing more harm than good in some cases.
Agreed, it might work short-term to really kick start you off on your fitness journey, or if you have a specific goal you’re working towards, but if you’re doing it for long periods of time, you have to be so careful.
If doing what you’re doing is working for you, that’s fantastic. If you’re feeling excessively tired, sore or just completely unenthusiastic about working out, take a step back and look at what’s going on in your nutrition, sleeping habits and work outs to pinpoint where you’re going wrong.
Kirry’s post really helped me realise that the guilt I was holding on to for not “working out enough” was only hindering my wellbeing. So I asked her if she would like to share this message on my blog to allow her to help other people come to terms with this on WordPress as well as via Tumblr.