How much exercise is too much?
Do you often feel exhausted after training?
Do you get sick easily or get down and moody more than you used to? What about sleep – are you sleeping far more or far less?
If you answered yes to any of these and you’re a fanatical trainer, chances are you’re training too much.
Believe it or not, you can get too much of a good thing and there comes a point where your body rebels like a teenager. Exercise is addictive and, like any addiction, there is a point where you overdose.
Workout and watch out
No joke, your body does try to talk to you and give you cues as to whether it’s too soon to train again or not. As a general rule, if you’re doing high intensity interval training more than three times a week, your body will start to disown you.
You can be as fit and diet-conscious as you like, intense training still traumatizes your body. Limbs and muscles are, effectively, in a state of shock and they need time to get their act together again. That takes two days, not eight hours.
If, on the other hand, you’re doing low intensity exercise, you can halve the recovery time. Either way, pay attention to your body. If you feel fine the next day or the day after that, you’re probably not overdoing it. If you’re sloping around the house with a short temper and even shorter sleeping patterns, you probably are.
Go high and low
One of the big attractions of high intensity interval training is that you can achieve an awful lot in a short space of time. Obviously this has appeal if you’re cramming exercise into a strict lunch break or you get bored easily. Trouble is your body isn’t a robot; it wants variety and if you keep bashing away at the same helter skelter routine, something will ultimately give.
For best long term results, mix it up. Do your high intensity anaerobic thing once or twice a week. Then add in a more leisurely hour of pure strength training. And for even greater variety, one session of yoga per week will please your body no end – it’s passive and quietly stretches out all those tired muscles to aid recovery.
The key is balance. If you go at it like a bat out of hell every time you train, even Red Bull won’t give you wings. For the good of your health and to ensure you reach your fitness goals without bodily rebellion, you need a well-rounded fitness program.
Seek professional help
Not a doctor unless you’ve already overdone it; a gym instructor or personal trainer. Tell them you want to optimize your training with a varied program to avoid burn out. And make sure you adapt and evolve your training as your fitness level grows.
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