One of the most common issues I see in my amazing, athletic-minded clients is not lack of throttle, but lack of clutch.
Our body-conscious minds continually tell us that we must work out as much as possible to look our best. While everyone has a different standard for what their personal best is, I think we all hope to have the muscular strength that allows us to feel our most capable, and a body composition that keeps our hearts, organs, joints and body systems functioning at their best.
Don’t allow your internal dialogue to dictate that if you don’t work out every single day you’re going to look different or lose ground. We are all our own worst critic. Before you get hard on yourself, know the facts.
- FACT: Muscle is NOT growing while you’re working out. During a workout, your muscle fibers are actually going through a tear down, and your body is using the nutrients you’ve consumed to provide you with energy for your workout.
- FACT: Muscle building occurs when you stop working out, rest, and allow your body to enter protein synthesis: utilizing the nutrients you’ve consumed to repair and build new muscle.
Listen to your body.
Aside from fatigue, a sure sign of overtraining is hitting a plateau; or not seeing significant gains.
Everyone has different rest requirements, based on a variety of factors not in the least of which is energy expenditure.
So pay attention to your progress, and be sure to cycle through each part of your body when planning your exercise routine for the week to maximize the benefit of recovery time.
Don’t compare yourself to other people’s training program.
The gym is an amazing place, and we all get inspired by the people around us. But those same people are all telling themselves to do a variety of things, that may or may not be right for YOU.
If someone talks about how many calories they’ve burned that day or how many classes they’ve taken, don’t assume that you need to do the same thing. They may be overtrained and not realize it.
Many people are overtrained and may maintain their level of fitness – for a while. But they will crash eventually, and worse their system is constantly under stress.
The healthiest way to maintain your weight and continuously build and sustain muscle is to maintain a steady program that alternates high energy workouts with strength training and REST DAYS.
Engaging your mind and body in an enjoyable activity where the focus isn’t on burning calories is the best thing you can do for yourself on your days off.
Work out for quality, not quantity.
Plan your workout strategy at the beginning of every week, with an overview of your monthly goals.
Give your workouts 100% and think of your rest time as an opportunity to strengthen the internal processes that support your goals, like learning new recipes and making time to prepare meals in advance.
Remember that the protein synthesis that has to occur to repair and grow muscle depends on your intake of appropriately balanced meals. So make your meal planning as important a part of your week as your workout schedule.