Pushing Through Your Workouts: Overloading vs. Overtraining

21 09 2014

A couple weeks ago, I woke up with a bad headache, felt lousy, and my energy was very low. My wife wasn’t able to sleep all night so I was up a lot trying to help her fall back to sleep. I got through my day at work and the time came for my workout. I wasn’t looking forward to it since my energy level was still sluggish at that point. However, I felt that if I didn’t do something, I would start off my week down a day. So I warmed up the best I could and went to the weight stack to tackle my first set of squats. My muscles felt like they were fighting  against each other rather than working together on the first set. My body didn’t communicate with each muscle group making 20 pounds feel like 100 pounds. I struggled though the first set and re-racked the weights and sat down. I started to think what my game plan should be for the rest of the workout. “Suck it up, get pumped, and push through the fatigue,” I thought “or take the day off and reset so I can come back to it fresh tomorrow?” This choice doesn’t seem to be a hard decision to make, however, some gym goers and athletes feel that if they push harder, they will break though that fatigue.

To make improvements in your body, you must work your muscles just beyond the normal demands of your body. The stress of the work must be challenging for the body resulting in adaptation to the difficult task and thereby allowing the body to endure and eventually overcome the same stress the next time it is encountered.  This concept is referred to as the principle of overload. A couple reasons many gym goers don’t see results after two to three months of beginning a new exercise routine, which ultimately leads to quitting, is because they don’t want to push their bodies to this state of exertion, or are afraid because they don’t know how hard to push themselves.

Those afraid of pushing themselves too hard are smart and should not proceed without proper guidance from a certified personal trainer. There is always an outcomes spectrum of benefits and consequences with everything we do related to health and fitness. Too little done and the benefits diminish but too much of the stimulus can also lead to diminished results.Results

When the spectrum is applied to our workouts, as mentioned before, too little stress on our muscles results in our bodies staying stagnant and improvement stops. Too much stress on the body will also lead to diminished results which could have fatal consequences such as injury. This principle is known as overtraining. If our bodies are subjected to constant stress and breakdown of our muscles, more time is needed to repair that muscle. If the time needed for repair is not present and the exerciser continues to add more stress to the damaged site, the stress becomes too great and injury may occur. Consistent balance between workload stress and repair time must be provided to generate safe and timely improvements.

So coming back to my workout a couple weeks ago. I knew that my body needed more time to rest and even if I pushed through my workout, the demands imposed on my body might have been too great which would have left me with an injury and caused me to miss more than just that one day. I could have gone easy on the weighs but the improvements would have been minimal in my state. Knowing all this information gave me the answer I needed. I cleaned off the bench and went home.





5 Ways to Train Smarter with Your Smart Phone

26 05 2014

Looking at the past week, I must give credit to my phone for helping me stay on track with my workouts. There have also been other motivators like my wife and friends who have kept me on track. However, when the busy work week comes upon you, the excuse “I have no time to exercise” can be very real. With the help of my smart phone, I was able to keep my workouts and nutrition on track. Since it was able to help me, I wanted to share with you the 5 ways of how just keeping your phone nearby can keep you on track.

1. Use Your Calendar
This app can be very helpful to make sure that you find that time in your busy work life. We all have appointments, so why not make one for your workouts. I also set an alarm for my workouts to remind me that this is as important as my client’s training session.

Keep your own workout appointments!

Keep your own workout appointments!

2. Bring Along The Tunes
The fact that your phone is also your Walkman (anyone even know what those are anymore?) is enough reason to get pumped up and get moving. Everyone should have a go-to playlist or station that gets them revved up for a good walk, run, or lift. Streaming music sites like Pandora, iTunes Music, and Beats Music, allows listeners to choose a genre of music and the station will choose music that falls within that genre. This gives you an endless supply of tunes to keep you going strong. Check out my go-to Playlist below. Plug those earbuds in and start training.

Doug’s Go-To Playlist

  1. “Good Feeling” -Flo Rida
  2. “Timber” -Pitbull (ft. Ke$sha)
  3. “Sweat” -David Guetta & Snoop Dogg
  4. “Numb” -Linkin Park
  5. “Remember The Name” -Fort Minor
  6. “Not Afraid” -Eminem
  7. “I’m a Machine” -David Guetta (ft. Crystal Nicole & Tyrese Gibson
  8. “My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light Em Up)” -Fall Out Boy
  9. “Anxiety” -Black Eyed Peas

3. Track Your Progress
There are a myriad of nutrition apps nowadays out there for free or a small cost. These apps are great because they tell you if you’re getting the correct nutrients to meet your goals. The one that I have found to be useful is “Lose It” by FitNow Co. This app is easy to use and sets calorie recommendations based on your weight goal. I’m not trying to lose weight, the opposite in fact, and this app still keeps me inline with this goal. It allows for me to add in my exercise to calculate if I’m eating enough to see an increase in weight or under and thus my weight will continue to drop. The nice feature of this app is the barcode scanning function which allows you to take the product and scan it to get all the nutritional facts, rather than searching for the food.

Lose It App IMG_0815

4. Take A Video
This is not the time to take a selfie. Taking a look at your form is a good idea when you don’t have a friend or mirror close by. Placing your phone on a bench while you perform squats or a chest press allows you to see what you’re doing right or provides valuable feedback so you don’t wake up the next day with a strained muscle. Even placing it behind you while you’re on the treadmill can show if you’re walking or running gait is off. Professional athletes use video analysis all the time to keep their technique in check and progressing forward. Flip your camera on and use it to improve your results and not your status “likes.”

5. Post It
Telling your friends about your workouts on social media sites is a great way to stay motivated and accountable for your actions. My friend and I have agreed to keep each other motivated by sending each other weekly reminders of our goals. By sending him my progress through text messages and social media sites like FaceBook, I have another way of keeping true to my workouts. Post your goal on your status bar or text it to a friend. Then get them to keep you accountable by asking them to check in with you on a weekly basis. My clients will send me pics of them working out when they’re away to show me that they’ve held up their end of the deal. It’s an easy way to grow your support group and highlight the progress you’ve made.