If working out a few times per week is good for you, then working out EVERY day is even better! Right? Maybe not.
As the New Year’s Resolutions roll in and many of us are looking to shed a few pounds- summer is coming!- we start to see people increasing their workout days by sometimes double. The more=better mindset makes us think that working out more means burning more calories which means leaning out and being healthier.
Then in February and March we start to see burnout, nagging injuries, fatigue, maybe even body composition going in the complete opposite direction of what we intended! So how can we maximize results (improve body composition, increase fitness level) but minimize these nagging pains and fatigue that end up interrupting our fitness time?
What is your goal?
First off, you have to actually define your goal. “I want to be healthier,” Well, how do you define health? By body composition? The ability to run a certain distance? Chasing your kiddos without sucking wind?
If you want to gain muscle and be stronger, your fitness plan will look different than someone who is looking to run their first half marathon. These two goals have different needed frequencies, intensities and types of training. Most of these plans will allow 2-3 rest days.
Use resources, get help
Your resources and help might need to first be a physical therapist. Say you are trying to train for a half marathon but you keep experiencing foot pain. A PT can work with you to address the pain and make a plan to get you back on track. If you’re trying to get yoked (add strength) but you know that every time you press overhead your shoulder hurts for days. Stop, find a PT, then proceed with said gains once your shoulder dysfunction has been addressed.
Now that your body is feeling better, where to start?
If running is your goal, there are many reputable running plans for building mileage for different distance rances. Also for strength, there are certain programs you can follow based on the type of lifting you enjoy. Following a program like these is helpful for a few reasons: One- most of us do better when someone just tells us what to do. We don’t have to come up with ideas on our own. Two- there is a thoughtfulness behind these programs. It is not exercises thrown together willy nilly. There is periodization, programmed rest days and differences in intensity. Three- having a drawn out plan for 12-16 weeks helps you keep your eye on the prize!
THIS is where you start to maximize gains and decrease pain/injury. Have a plan, but one written by someone who is an expert in the field. It might sound daunting, but most of these can be found easily online and purchased then downloaded.
It’s not ALL about fitness
Many folks are interested in changing their body composition. Whether they want to “lose weight” (which we will say lose fat) or increase muscle, a VERY important factor is nutrition. When it comes to these goals, we cannot simply workout enough to offset an inadequate diet.
It’s like trying to build a house without the proper tools. You can toil all day hammering and cutting but if you don’t have the tools to build the house, this project goes nowhere.
More on nutrition another time, but don’t think you can exercise yourself towards your goals without a solid foundation of nutrition!
More does not always equal better when it comes to fitness and training.
First, define your goal. What is “healthy” to you?
Find a movement specialist (PT like me!) to address nagging pains and then a reputable training expert to acquire a training plan to work towards your goals.
Check your nutrition- is this holding you back?
Have questions about how to address your nagging pain and find a program that works for you? Send an email to info@SpectrumPerformance.fit and let’s schedule some time to chat about your goals!
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Jackie, DPT