Don’t overdo it
Dec 12 2013
While we were talking I discovered that their fitness routines involved at least five intensive days of various workouts interspersed with intensive cardio sessions and few times a week of playing sports! They were pushing themselves too hard and were not giving their bodies enough time to recover. When I made this observation, they gave me whole lot of reasons why were they exercising the way they did, that their bodies needed that kind of push in order to keep on progressing, and if they stop training hard they would lose their fabulous physique. They even quoted that old saying: “No pain, no gain.”
Well, the only problem here was that there was no gain, just a vicious circle of pain. Even though our bodies can take a tremendous amount of strain and effort, they are not indestructible. If we are training, we should watch our nutrition, hydration, as well as give our body enough rest. That way our body will get stronger and will benefit from physical exercises. On the other hand, if we strain the body, at some point wear and tear will start showing.
The solution is in training smart, challenging the body adequately, but at the same time giving it enough recovery time and rest. For example, if on Monday you are doing an intensive training, Tuesday your workout should be at intermediate level, while on Wednesday you should do active resting, which means you should focus on stretching and recovery exercises. After that you will rotate the cycle again — Thursday will be intensive day, Friday intermediate and Saturday active rest day. Sunday should be your full resting day.
In case you want to add a cardiovascular activity, the rule of the thumb is to do a so called split workout, where you do your cardio in the morning for example and the other training in the evening. If that is not possible then you may try and do them during the same session, but they have to be different intensity levels. If your cardio is intensive then your training should be intermediate and vice versa, while active rest day remains the same regardless.
When I gave this concept to my friends, they at first thought it wouldn’t be enough for them, however once they started they really enjoyed themselves and they even managed to improve their performance. What’s more, they bid goodbye to aches and pains.
(The author is a wellness expert and runs a fitness centre in New Delhi)