In general, people either like to work out or they don’t. I spend a lot of my time as a personal trainer either motivating clients to work out or holding back other clients from exercising too much. When you don’t like to work out it’s hard to understand how some people love to exercise and only feel they are training properly, if they consistently spend many hours per week doing long and hard workouts.
When I was in my twenties, I loved to train long and hard. I would train hard every day. Spending 60 minutes just training my chest and back was normal for me followed by a five mile hard run. I felt that the only way I could look how I wanted to look and be in top physical shape was to go all out on every workout every day. Recovering from a workout was not on my mind. Looking back now I think I was chronically sore for 10 years.
Unfortunately I see a lot of people still making the same over training mistakes I made over 20 years ago. I see people all the time take a 75 minute hard spinning class and then train 60 minutes with a personal trainer doing resistance work. If you like to train long and hard you have to start thinking about why you are doing it. Is it helping you achieve your health and fitness goals or do you think it’s the only way to stay lean and be in shape? If you’re an athletic you can read my article, Why Athletes Have to Over Train, but for everyone else going all out every workout is asking for trouble.
Here are some rules for How Hard and Long to Work-Out:
- Control your weight with your diet, not long hard workouts. Eighty percent of how lean you are depends on your diet.
- The older you are the more recovery time you need between workouts.
- If you’re training very hard it has to be short and infrequent. If you’re 40 or older, one hard 20 minute interval workout per week is enough.
- If you like to train long to release stress, try long easy workouts like walking or easy biking for 60 minutes. You will still get some aerobic benefit and you will not be overtaxing your body.
- Keep your strength workouts short. Full body workouts with warm-up and cool-down should be no longer than 45 minutes.
- One hard work set per exercise is all it takes to create a response and strengthen any muscle group.
- Vary how long, hard and often you workout. If you do a hard interval workout one day, follow it by an easy workout the next day. If you did a hard resistance workout and are sore the next day, take a day off and rest.
- If any movement or exercise hurts, don’t do it. Instead, modify it to a point where it does not hurt.
- Whenever you’re exercising you should always be building yourself up not breaking yourself down.
When you like to work out, I know how easy it is to think that more is better or the harder the better. You can easily get mentally addicted to long hard workouts and wind up breaking your body down thinking that you’re doing everything right. If you’re training long and hard all the time, take a step back and see if it really makes sense for your health and fitness goals.
How long and hard do you workout? Let me know if you think you are over training?
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Best – Mike Cola