Why Doing More Exercise Isn’t Always Better For You. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from James Staring, Lead Trainer at Fit to Last. James will explore why doing more exercise isn’t always better for you. We’ve all been told that exercise is healthy for us. So that should mean that if we want to become healthy, we should keep doing more and more exercise, yes?
Why Doing More Exercise Isn’t Always Better For You
Can you exercise too much? Yes. Adding too much exercise to your fitness plans can lead to overtraining and potential injury. Here are four reasons why more is not always better when it comes to exercise, along with solutions to help avoid problems associated with overtraining.
You’ll Lose Motivation
Consistency is an essential cornerstone of achieving results through exercise. One of the most common side effects of too much exercise is you get too tired to want to continue. When you work out too much, one of the potential negatives is your sleep is affected. It may seem counter-intuitive, as you’d think you’d sleep like a baby through more activity.
But too much exercise can make it difficult for your body to wind down at the end of the day. This can lead to disturbed sleep, meaning you’ll miss the get up and go you need to work out next time. The key is to listen to your body. Sometimes, we force ourselves to ‘soldier on’ when our body tries to tell us otherwise.
If you wake up tired and lethargic, instead of pushing yourself through a heavy workout, dial back the workout planned or go for an active recovery option. You’ll feel better about it and return to a motivated headspace faster.
You Can Get Injured
A common belief is that results happen during a workout but between workouts, not during them. Exercise is a stimulus that challenges your body. With good nutrition and rest, your body recovers and adapts to become more capable of handling challenges (i.e. exercise) the next time you do it.
When you exercise too frequently, your body lacks time to recover and adapt. By repeating this process of exercising without sufficient recovery, parts of your body may eventually break down from overuse, leading to injury.
We commonly overtrain because we aren’t ‘doing enough’ if we aren’t sufficiently active. So, instead of completing more workouts of the same intensity, break up your workouts with active recovery. This can be anything from foam rolling to brisk walking to stretching. The point is to continue being active in ways that support your goals through encouraging recovery, as opposed to activity that leads to overuse.
You Won’t Progress As Quickly
One of the most common methods to achieve results through resistance training is progressive overload. This means that you’ll increase your weight based on time and perceived intensity (i.e., how challenging it feels) to achieve the desired results. Your ability to increase the weight will depend on how well you’ve rested and recovered from your previous workouts.
Think of this process like building a house. As you complete workouts and recover between them, you build a foundation to increase the intensity of your workouts with heavier weights. This is because your body will build lean muscle, and your brain will become better at instructing your body to complete the exercises more efficiently.
When you exercise too frequently, you limit your body’s ability to build foundations for progress. Also, you limit your body’s ability to learn efficiency by not allowing your body to adapt through rest.
The key to consistent progression is to increase your intensity for 3-4 weeks, then proactively reduce that intensity for a week. This is referred to as ‘deloading’, and it’s an effective way to keep progressing. Deloading encourages both physical and mental recovery. When you relentlessly push yourself without respite, your body will stop responding to the stimulus you’re putting in front of it.
Keep track of your workouts and the weights you’re lifting, and proactively add in deload weeks to allow your body and mind to recover, rebuild, and prepare for the next challenge.
Your Results May Start To Regress
You’d think that by exercising more, your results would come faster. But if your goal is to decrease body fat, over-exercising can lead to the opposite.
Exercise is stress on the body. Your body’s response to stress is to release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is our ‘fight or flight’ hormone, releasing additional sugar into our bloodstream to help us either evade harm or fight through it. Excess exercise leads to excess cortisol release. Excess cortisol release often results in excess body fat carriage around the waistline.
So, by over-exercising, you risk sabotaging your results and making your goal even more challenging.
I hope you enjoyed that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James Staring is the founder and lead fitness coach at Fit to Last Personal Trainers, which offers a high-end, all-inclusive fitness solution for those who’ve tried everything in the past: crash diets, exercise fads, regular gyms, etc., all with little to no success or results. Fit Last works with you to create a personalised programme of exercise, nutrition (no calorie counting or weighing) and small, simple lifestyle changes to keep you on track to your goals, injury-free and bursting with energy. See: www.fittolast.co.uk