A wise college professor once told me that there is no such thing as over-training.
You hear it all over in the fitness industry and especially in athletics.
As soon as you start to hit it hard in the gym once or twice a day and you begin to feel symptoms like fatigue, persistent muscle soreness, joint pain, plateaus and/or lowered immunity...people are quick to tell you you're over-training.
If there is anything I have learned from being a collegiate athlete and now trainer, its that the human body is capable of AMAZING things when it's put to the test. It's capable of training at high intensity, high volume and high frequency when it's taken care of properly.
So the question, does over-training exist?
In short...... NO.
Under-recovering on the other hand, does exist.
How you recover is critical for training to get better, stronger, and overall more fit. No matter your goals!
Three key components of your recovery: Nutrition, Sleep & Stretch.
This should be a no-brainer. If you aren't fueling your body with proper nutrients it NEEDS to function, how can you expect it to operate at its best?
You can't and don't expect it to.
By dialing in your nutrition, you're giving your body the best chance it has to recover properly. When you factor in the true demands of your training, you'll be surprised at how much your training can improve by simply eating MORE of the right kinds of foods.
Here are a few nutrition tips to recover properly
1. Eat more protein
Protein acts as a building block for your muscles. When you increase your intakem your muscles are able to repair and recover quicker.
2. Drink more water and eliminate all soda drinks
Its always temping to go for a milkshake or soda instead of plain ol' water. But water is the best thing you can drink to immediately recover from exercise and aids in your long term muscle and tissue health.
3. Keep your carbs complex
Did you know that carbs post workout are just as important for recovery post-workout as protein? They play a major role in replenishing your glycogen storage within your muscle and liver. Stick to complex carbs that are low in the glycemic index chart like whole grains.
4. Increase the quality of your fuel
What happens when you give a car bad fuel? It doesn't run at optimal levels. Well, the same applies to your body. If you fill it up with junk, it won't run at its best. Aim to eat high quality, REAL produce foods every 2-3 hours during the day.
5. Optimize your post-workout routine
A good post-workout routine is essential! Especially when you get it done within 30 minutes of completing your workout. Finding a high quality protein shake is a good idea if you want to start your recovery process off right and pairing it with a carbohydrate is an even better idea!
Note: the Chocolate Mint Cookie flavor is THE BEST post-workout snack I've ever had!
There is no escaping the power of sleep for recovery. 5-6 hours just doesn't cut it when you're training for performance and expecting high quality workouts out of your body.
If you want to see what your body is truly capable of, aim to log 8-10 hours of sleep each night.
If you have trouble getting to sleep at night and unwinding, try 1stPhorm Core-21.
If you are ready to take your recovery seriously, take time to stretch and cool down. After a hard sweat session in the gym...don't just call it quits, drink your protein shake and call it quits.
To get the most out of your workout and really jump start your recovery process, take 5-10 minutes and get a good cool down and stretching session in. Your 10 minutes doesn't have to be a static (holding ) stretch. Other post workout cool down methods include: ice baths and my all time favorite - foam rolling!
That all being said...
If you aren't taking the proper steps to recover your body from your gym workouts, don't expect your body to perform at it's best.
And please, now that you know how optimize your recovery, don't tell people you're over-trained.