For those of us who are serious about our workouts, overtraining can become a concern. Joint pain, lack of motivation, insomnia, lack of progress, difficulty with digestion, higher pulse rate, general fatigue, etc, can all be signs of an overtrained state. For anyone thinking about beginning an exercise program this can be de-motivating and yet another excuse to remain a couch potato. For the affected person, this can lead to injury or a regression in physical condition.
Part of the problem is the AFCWAF program that many trainers use. This is the acronym for “Any Fool Can Workout Another Fool.” Just because you can crush someone with your “blood and guts workout ” doesn’t mean that you should be ordained as a training guru. I believe that the problem of “over-training” is actually one of “under-recovery.”
You can’t push to failure in your workouts every day or even a few days a week. If you want to work hard you need to have your nutrition dialed in (including fish oil and vitamin D), get your eight hours of sleep, meditate or take a short nap, and pay attention to everyday stressors. Even doing these things, I’d like to make the case for a more rational training routine.
This is not a concern for the majority of the population. Just look at the health and obesity statistics in this country and it becomes evident. But if you are one of the tribe who sometimes pushes the envelope, give yourself a break and watch your fitness rebirth.
Training four days per week should be the goal. If you want to fit in an extra couple of days of walking -great. Otherwise the cycle should be:
- Day One – this is an easy day consisting of joint mobility exercises or an easy yoga flow
- Day Two- this a low intensity day that could include about thirty minutes of something like Ashtanga yoga, Pilates, or a short walk (1/2 hour) that would include some hills
- Day Three – a moderate intensity day that would include bodyweight circuits or barbell/dumbbell complexes with light weight for about twenty minutes; you could also do some intervals interspersed with things like pushups
- Day Four – this is your intense day and would include a hard weight workout or weights and plyometrics or hard sprinting
This sequence could be done four days in a row or you could place a day in between. On every intense day you want to increase weight, lower rest time, or increase the volume.
You’ll get stronger, faster, fitter without the nagging injuries, chronic pain, or lack of motivation. Let me knw if you have any questions!