It’s for certain everyone has their own personal goals in the gym. Some want to lose weight, become stronger, look good naked, get into better dieting and exercising habits, get better for sports; whatever it may be. These are all amazing goals to strive for and they are all things we want to have for ourselves extremely bad. However, with all that goes into our training, how much is too much? When should we push down the gas? When should we let off?
I’ll be 23 soon, and I am still playing 2 college sports – hockey and rugby. With being at school for the fall through spring and studying along with playing sports, I only get to do serious Crossfit training during the months of late May to the end of August. I want to get in the best possible shape I can for the upcoming season in the short time I have. In previous years, this has caused me to show up to the gym 2 or 3 times a day, 6 or 7 days a week, and try to “take advantage” of the time. The logic was: the longer and hard I work out, the faster I’ll grow and the stronger I’ll get. This method was very, very, very wrong.
My youthfulness allowed me to keep up with the pace for a couple weeks, but fatigue and injury came chasing after me. My shoulders and back would start to tweak much easier, and I had no energy throughout the day in any other activities I participated in. Even getting 8-9 hours of sleep a night, I could not continue running my days off of coffee and pre workout. Eventually, my tweaks became more serious injuries, and I found myself having to sit out for a couple weeks to recover.
Many people forget that your training does not only happen in the gym. Your training also happens outside the gym; consisting of things such as sleep, nutrition, and mobility. As the old saying goes – you cannot out exercise a bad diet. Taking care of your body outside the gym and making sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and stretching is just as important as the WODs you go through when you are present at the gym. One cannot exist without the other.
So how much is enough? It depends on the athlete and your ability to complete your responsibilities outside the gym as well. Some recommend training 4 or 5 days per week. Generally, don’t train more than 3 days consecutively or less than 2 days consecutively. Above all, listen to your body, but be aware that you must work through soreness and fatigue. However, never work through pain, especially acute pain. If you are a brand new or someone who needs to start with a much lighter schedule, that’s okay and a very normal thing. Showing up like the old me 2-3 times 6-7 days a week will also lead you to not performing the workouts with 100% effort, more like a 30% effort, and you will not get much done.
Remember: nobody came out of the womb with a weight vest on and ran a 30 minute Murph. We all start and build somewhere! With that guidance, check out the four simple examples below as an example.
There are of course other factors such as work, family, religion, school, sport, and whatever we have going on. We are humans, and our lives don’t need to revolve around the gym. Ryan practically sleeps at the gym and he actually does have life outside of it where he likes to enjoy other things.
The main message I am trying to preach is that as much as you want to achieve your goals here at the gym, you need to listen to your body and give the same effort to change yourself in the gym as you are outside of the gym with sleep, nutrition, and mobility. Have fun, and TRUST THE PROCESS!