Is One Workout Per Day ‘Enough’? Well, Are You a Big Monkey or a Little Monkey
Is one workout per day enough?
It is not necessary to train every single muscle group in your body everyday. If you do so, it will become very difficult to maintain your current level of fitness and strength. You need to have some flexibility when it comes to training. When you are training too much, your muscles get tired and they don’t grow anymore. Your joints start hurting because you are constantly twisting them all the time. A good way to avoid overtraining is to vary your workouts. For example, if you want to build up your chest, you might perform two sets of five reps with dumbbell presses. If you want to increase your leg development, you might perform three sets of ten reps with squats.
If you are looking for a simple yet effective program that will give results in no time at all, then I suggest checking out my free online workout planner! It includes a variety of exercises that you can use to build your own routine.
You’ll see how easy it is to create your own personal plan using my templates.
Overtraining Myth #1: Too Much Training = Over Training Syndrome (OTS)
The first thing that needs to be understood about OTS is that it’s not really a disease; rather, it’s just a term used to describe what happens when you train too much. Personally, I think this term has been given too much emphasis and value when in reality it’s just an over trained state that can be easily reversed if you back off a bit then go on a roll again.
In terms of your body, there’s really no such thing as overtraining, what you’re experiencing is a lack of rest and poor overall nutrition. If you’re overtraining then it means you have no passion for the sport anymore and your desire to become better has diminished.
It usually happens when a competitor is on a losing streak and they feel like they are just going through the motions.
If you ever find yourself in this situation don’t worry because this is completely normal, all you need to do is take some time off and engage in some other physical activity during your time off. This might sound silly, but go play a sport that requires little to no training at all, I’m talking about something like soccer, street basketball or even ping pong.
You could also take up a different hobby such as wood working or painting. The main goal here is to do something that requires a little bit of physical ability while also keeping your mind focused on something else.
What I usually suggest to people is that they take a week off from training the day after a fight. Some can do 2-3 days while others might require a week.
It really depends on the person and how much effort they put into training. The main thing is to not go overboard with the time off. You don’t want all your muscle memory to disappear because you took off too much time.
If you’ve taken off too much time then no worries, just get back to training and start fresh. Learning how much time off you really need is a skill that’s developed with time and experience.
Overtraining Myth #2: You Need To Train Through The Pain
This myth has been around for quite a while and quite frankly it’s completely wrong! I rarely ever had any injuries and if I did they were usually minor ones such as skinned knees or a stubbed toe.
When I did have more serious injuries such as a broken bone or an injury that required surgery I always took the proper time off to let my body heal.
Now this doesn’t mean you should be taking weeks off for small things like blisters or bruises, what it does mean is that you shouldn’t be training through more serious injuries or illness. Training through the pain only serves to make the injury worse and can even cause permanent damage.
If you find yourself constantly training through injuries and never giving your body time to heal, this can actually lead to a condition known as “Overtraining Syndrome” (OTS) which is a topic that will be discussed later on in this guide.
Don’t be stubborn, if you get injured take time off and rest, the same advice applies if you’re sick!
Overtraining Myth #3: You Need To Restrict Your Calories To Lose Weight
If you take anything away from this guide, I hope it’s this; there is no need to restrict your food intake in order to lose weight! In fact doing so can have negative consequences on your health and physical abilities.
This myth probably came about from the idea that if you performed a “fast” of some kind then you would lose weight. Some of these methods included the abuse of laxatives, fasting, or even drinking enormous amounts of water in order to flush out your system.
While this may work to some degree it’s not something I ever recommend and could lead to serious complications.
While it’s certainly true that by restricting your calories you will lose weight, this isn’t something you want to undertake unless your life is in immediate danger from not eating. If you’re trying to lose a few pounds in the short term then a temporary fast or reduction of food intake should do the trick.
It’s when you begin to abuse this method that problems can start to arise.
You see when your body doesn’t have enough nutrients or calories to sustain itself it goes into “starvation mode” in an attempt to conserve every bit of energy that it can. This is why those who suffer from anorexia nervosa (self-induced starvation) are able to maintain a low body weight.
Their bodies have adjusted to not needing as much food in order to function properly.
As I mentioned above, because your body thinks it is in danger of starving, it will try to adjust to a lower calorie intake. This means that even after you start eating enough food to prevent yourself from “fasting”, your body will STILL not store those extra calories thus making it very difficult to gain weight.
If you want to know more about why this happens I’d suggest reading this guide.
So if restricting your food intake is bad, and eating as much as you can is bad, what should you do?
As I’ve mentioned before the best way to increase your energy levels and metabolism is through aerobic exercise. Through this method you’re burning off calories as you exercise and for a short time afterwards. Not only are you burning off excess calories but your body is working to keep up with the increased demand for energy which keeps your metabolism higher even when you’re not exercising.
For those who don’t want to go through the trouble of setting up a grueling exercise program (I’ll discuss this in greater detail later) then there is another solution.
There are a few different hormones that can give your body the extra “boost” that it needs to both shed excess weight and maintain a higher metabolism. While it won’t be as effective as proper exercise it will definitely help and if used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise plan can yield amazing results.
Overtraining Myth #4: You Should Drink Lots Of Water During Your Workouts To Prevent Dehydration
While it’s true that you need to keep hydrated while you exercise, all this myth does is make people go to the bathroom in the middle of their workout and waste time.
This is something you definitely want to AVOID doing for a few different reasons. First of all, if you need to go to the bathroom then you should’ve gone before you started working out.
Second of all, every time you get up to go the bathroom you’re breaking your concentration and focus which can lead to a serious injury if you drop a weight on your foot or slip off a bench while you’re benching.
Now in regards to why you shouldn’t be drinking lots of water during your workouts, there actually is some truth to this one. You don’t want to drink too much water before you begin your workout since your body will have to adjust to the extra fluids which will mean you won’t be working out at peak capacity until this process is over.
Also, drinking too much water during your workout can actually have a negative effect on your ability to build muscle. Here’s why.
When you drink a lot of water during your workout, your muscles will actually retain the water instead of shedding it (as is their natural tendency) and this can cause them to become over-stretched. The overall effect of this is that your muscles will not be able to grow as large as they otherwise would.
So while drinking water during your workout isn’t a bad idea it really isn’t necessary either and shouldn’t be done in excess. The best approach is to drink a normal amount of water in the morning and right after you finish your workout and nothing more.
While I’m on the topic of over-hydration I need to address another myth.
Overtraining Myth #5: You Should Drink A Lot Of Fluids After Your Workout To Replenish What You Lost
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The amount of fluid your body loses during a properly performed workout is insignificant enough that you’d never even notice it if you weren’t specifically measuring it. As long as you’re urinating normally and not restricting the amount that you drink outside of your workouts then you’re getting enough water.
Drinking more than that is simply a waste of time and can cause bloating.
Overtraining Myth #6: You Should Drink A Lot Of Coffee, Coke, And Other Soft Drinks During Your Workout To Increase Performance
This one isn’t quite as harmful as the last one but it’s still not a good idea. It’s pretty obvious that drinking lots of coffee or cola during your workout isn’t exactly going to help you relax.
There is some logic to this myth though since caffeine does help to improve your performance somewhat. This can be handy when weight loss is a primary concern (since you’ll be performing the workout anyway it only makes sense to try and maximizing your results as much as possible).
In these cases the main problem isn’t with the actual caffeine but the calories that these drinks contain. For this reason, it would actually be more beneficial to drink low-calorie or no-calorie drinks during your workout rather than full-calorie ones.
Another potential issue with drinking something like a can of Coke during your workout is that you could end up getting diarrhea from all the sugar in it. Obviously this wouldn’t be a problem if you drank a diet version instead.
My personal favorite drink to consume during my workouts is coffee without any cream or sugar in it. It provides me with the same benefits as something like Coca-Cola without causing any of the side effects and it has the added benefit of providing a mild diuretic effect since it’s a natural stimulant.
Overtraining Myth #7: You Should Eat A Lot Of Carbs And Protein Before Your Workout To Provide Additional Energy
I’m sure you’ve heard some version of this one before: “You should eat a banana or a bagel before your cardio workout because it will provide you with the energy that you need to get through it.”
This is just completely wrong for a few reasons.
The first and foremost reason is that eating food before a workout will make you feel uncomfortably full during the actual workout. Even if you don’t feel full you’re going to find yourself having to go to the bathroom and that will take away from your workout time.
The second reason is that your body doesn’t actually need any additional fuel to perform your cardio workout. As long as you’re following a proper weight loss plan and getting enough rest, your body has all of the energy that it needs to perform your workout.
The third reason is that even if you do feel slightly energized from eating food before your workout it’s really just a placebo effect and not anything substantial.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, when you eat food (or drink anything for that matter), the energy that your body doesn’t immediately need is stored as fat. So unless you really need the energy (and most of us don’t) then it’s just going to get stored as fat anyway.
The bottom line is this: you don’t need to eat anything before your workout and you’ll get better results if you don’t.
Overtraining Myth #8: Lifting Weights Will Bulk You Up
This one amuses me because it’s just so ridiculous. I mean the fact that many women still believe this one makes me laugh since it’s impossible for them to ‘bulk up’ no matter how hard they tried!
If this myth were true then all women would have big muscles and be masculine looking. Clearly this isn’t the case.
This myth is believed by some because lifting weights can cause temporary muscle swelling. This swelling is a short term effect though and is completely gone once you stop lifting.
It causes the muscles to look larger temporarily but it doesn’t actually cause any long term muscle growth.
Another reason that this myth exists is due to the fact that when people first start lifting weights they can gain some strength and size. This is mainly due to them being out of shape and weak to begin with.
Once they get in better shape their muscles never become very big because they’re already as big as they’re going to get.
The final reason that some people believe this myth is due to the fact that professional bodybuilders can eat a TON of food and still not gain any weight. This causes the muscles to grow due to being fed properly, but since they’re dieting so heavily they don’t actually gain any size.
If you’re a woman and you still don’t believe me then ask your boyfriend or husband to perform a few bicep curls or shoulder presses. Then ask him to flex his arm muscles.
Unless he’s been hitting the roids pretty hard there’s no way those little muscles are ever going to be any bigger than they already are.
The fact is resistance training (weight training) is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. It not only allows you to live a longer and more fulfilling life but it also helps prevent osteoporosis as you get older.
Overtraining Myth #7: You Need To Eat Immediately After Your Workout
It is true that your body does need essential nutrients and minerals which can only really be acquired by eating the right foods. It is also true that your muscles do need to be ‘fed’ after a hard workout in order for them to grow.
This is why many people think that they need to eat something immediately after their workout in order for their muscles to ‘grow’.
The Truth: You Can Wait Up To Three Hours Before Eating After Your Workout
As I’ve already mentioned your body has remarkable abilities to store nutrients and minerals even when you’re not eating. As long as you’re eating enough healthy food every day your muscles will be able to grow properly.
This means that it’s not absolutely necessary to eat immediately after your workout, although it certainly won’t hurt anything.
There’s also no need to immediately ‘replace’ everything that you’ve lost during your workout either. Contrary to popular belief your body doesn’t burn away a certain amount of muscle every day, it only does so when you’re in a state of starvation.
As long as you’re eating enough healthy food your muscles will grow. You don’t need to eat protein shakes or other muscle building supplements. You also don’t need to take expensive and potentially dangerous anabolic steroids in order to grow your muscles.
The only time you’d really ‘need’ to eat something post workout is if you were doing a weight loss workout. This usually involves doing a lot of repetitions with a lighter weight in order to ‘burn up’ more calories than you take in.
In this case a high carbohydrate meal would help you keep your energy levels up during your workout and speed up your recovery afterwards.
So there you have it, seven weight training myths dispelled in under 500 words. I hope that some of you found this helpful because I spent a lot of time on it.
You can read some of my other fitness articles here .
Remember to always look after your body, because it’s the only place you have to live!
Sources & references used in this article:
- Social deprivation in monkeys (HF Harlow, MK Harlow – Scientific american, 1962 – JSTOR)
- Basal forebrain lesions in monkeys disrupt attention but not learning and memory [published erratum appears in J Neurosci 1995 Mar; 15 (3): following table of … (ML Voytko, DS Olton, RT Richardson… – Journal of …, 1994 – Soc Neuroscience)
- Ketamine anesthesia during the first week of life can cause long-lasting cognitive deficits in rhesus monkeys (MG Paule, M Li, RR Allen, F Liu, X Zou… – Neurotoxicology and …, 2011 – Elsevier)
- An experimental study of representative factors in monkeys. (OL Tinklepaugh – Journal of Comparative Psychology, 1928 – psycnet.apa.org)
- Shape representation in the inferior temporal cortex of monkeys (NK Logothetis, J Pauls, T Poggio – Current biology, 1995 – Elsevier)