Thursday, 5 November 2009

Fitness and the Fallacy of Overtraining

Hi all,

I've spent a good deal of effort emphasizing the fact that you need to maintain a baseline level of physical fitness if you want to enjoy:

- Superior health (since health depends partly on fitness)
- Peak performance (since energy level and focus depend on it to)
- Self-confidence (since fitness goes a long way towards providing that)

As you know from experience, everybody's stiff and sore after starting a new exercise program or even a single new exercise. I know, for example, that if I go a week without doing any squats, I'll pay for it when I start up again.

Then there are the inevitable minor aches and pains of training. Yes, they're inevitable and no, they're not going to go away. On the other hand, they're a testimony to the fact you're actually doing something!

Unfortunately, though, the first thing that seems to pass through our minds when we feel a twinge here or an ache there is, "Oh, I must be over-training. I should take a few days off!"

Indeed, the myth of overtraining has been so drilled into us that it's become part of our mentality. Why's it a myth? Only because most of the people who think they're overtraining are NOWHERE NEAR overtraining and probably haven't overtrained a single day in the last twenty years.

Now don't get me wrong; real overtraining DOES exist. You'll find it among professional body builders, for example, who have actually damaged their muscles and created large amounts of scar tissue in the process. You'll find distance runners who have damaged knees and shins through repetitively pounding the pavement. But all this is much different from the minor aches and pains of ordinary training.

You see, the vast majority of people UNDER-TRAIN. They may only do 2 or 3 days a week, they don't push themselves or they're none too regular about what they do.

If you want your fitness program to give you the results I mentioned above - superior health, peak performance and enhanced self-confidence - then you absolutely need to train seriously at least 3 times a week and do a lighter workout at least twice a week. Anything less won't get you anywhere. In a future article I'll talk more about WHY this is. For now, though, I'll simply ask you to trust me on this one.

Remember that, if you're serious about becoming a more RESILIENT person, you need to train the BIG 3 - strength, flexibility and endurance - in a balanced way. This means thinking of overall health and fitness as you train, and not just focusing on your immediate goal of toning your derriere, building your biceps or running the 10K in X number of minutes.

Of course, if you have any kind of pre-existing injury or medical condition, you need to take that into account. But if not, your fears of "overtraining" are probably unfounded. And when you stop undertraining, you'll discover a whole new level of fitness (and therefore health, performance and confidence) that can be yours.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

1 comment:

  1. I agree with this. Same with all the performance chemicals; I've long assumed that you REALLY have to be into exercising to even be able to allow that stuff to take effect. It's all written for a different audience!