Overtraining is a real risk in the fitness industry. It’s important to pay attention to all parts of fitness: training, nutrition and recovery! Without all three parts, you increase the risk of injury or failing to achieve your results.
There are plenty of articles out there that detail how actors or athletes might spend four or more hours training per day. They’re not super human or born with lucky genes, but they do have a team of professionals making sure they are training to their peak.
Everyone is different and everyone can handle different levels of training so it’s important you train appropriately without risking injury.
Just because the actors of 300 were training 10–12 hours a day, does not mean that you should be training for the same duration. They certainly didn’t start off with high intensity exercises immediately but would have gradually increased their training regime over time, under the close supervision of experts who monitored their health, nutrition and well-being during that time.
“we had a massage therapist on-site every day and a kinesiologist visited twice per week to treat anyone ailing”
Mark Twight, http://www.gymjones.com/knowledge/article/300/
During high intensity exercise, your body can be put under a lot of strain, causing micro tears to your muscles. This is normal, expected and beneficial (for increasing your lean muscle mass), but you have to give your body time to recover and repair your muscles.
Recovery involves multiple factors:
Our bodies are the result of thousands of years of evolution and are quite good at repairing themselves. For the most part, simply resting our muscles give them a chance to repair and recover (assuming they have ideal nutrition).
Resting does not mean that you have to lie in bed and never move, but you should give yourself time off from high intensity training. On your rest days, you could do some low impact exercises such as swimming, walking or simply stretching.
As mentioned, our bodies will repair themselves, but in order to repair sore (damaged) muscles, we need to consume healthy food. A healthy diet should consist of good quality carbs, protein and healthy fats — all of these macronutrients play important roles in the recovery process.
If you’re unsure what you should be eating, our personal trainers can discuss a healthy eating plan with you and put you on the right track. I majored in Nutrition at university and know how to get your eating and weight-loss back on track.
It can be tempting to eat too little when your main goal is weight loss, but this can be detrimental. While you do need to be eating reduced calories to achieve weight loss, you must make sure you don’t starve yourself of vital nutrients, required for a healthy body and fast recovery from exercise.
The actors on 300 had unlimited access to a massage therapist to aid in their recovery process, which most of us do not have access to. If you can afford to get regular massages, they can help greatly with the recovery process, but for most of us, it’s simply too expensive.
Instead of paying someone for regular massages, get into the habit of having a good stretching and foam rolling routine. The combination of these two things can do wonders when it comes to aiding in your recovery process.
Train Harder, More Often and Safer
It can be tempting to think of the end of your workout as being “enough training” for the day. While it might be the end of the exercise for the day, make sure you don’t forget to recovery properly:
- Cool down properly
- Eat a healthy snack/meal post-workout that includes good quality carbs and protein
- Rest your body
Listen to your body and pay attention to the warning signs of fatigue and potential injury. It can be tempting to ignore those warning signs so you can reach your goals quicker, but by doing so you risk stalled progress and injuries.
If you’re ever in doubt, talk to our personal trainers and they’ll be able to analyse your current training and recovery routines and point out potential improvements.