Many who are serious about training can leave their beat downs behind. Beat downs are great for people who need to know that discomfort won't kill them. But I'm not talking about them.
Even Intensity, something I love, can take a back seat. In the new age, Progress is king. Now progress often demands much intensity, but not to the point that the days effort and intent interfere with a goal that's larger than any one workout.
P90X and Insanity and Muscle Pump, et. al are fine if you want a challenging alternative to running for establishing general fitness and improving body composition. But all of those are so 2005, and many want to do better than "Drop 10 pounds for swimsuit season."
You can only achieve so much in one training session, I don't care how epic. If you fail to allow your body to recover, all you received for your effort was one epic session. But if you find the sweet rhythm of hard work and rest and recovery, yesterdays epic session was a small but critical step in the process of achieving a whole new level of physical limits.
|a transmorgification in process|
Exercise never causes the body to magically transmorgify. It is a process of adaptation, remodeling, repairing, and in some instances laying down new tissue. That doesn't happen in a day.
Impact and heavy loading activities (especially those with an eccentric component as in lowering free weights) are rough on the body. So really, Respect Recovery!
Generally speaking, the more intensely you train, the greater the need for recovery. While it's true that young people recover better than older people, the crux of the matter lies more in how hard you push yourself.
A twenty eight year-old with 8 years of training experience has the capability to create major havoc on their system as compared to a 16 year-old newbie. Both may have had a challenging session, but the one will recover much faster, not because he's younger or because he's slacking, but because he hasn't developed the neural capacity to do as much damage.
So what do you want to get out of your training? For this day? For the year? Here are a few considerations:
Exercise is a poor way to achieve calorie balance. If you feel like you have to exercise every day to burn calories, then it would be easier to simply take in a few hundred less calories. Careful! All things on the diet and exercise sides of the equation can be easily taken to unhealthy extremes.
Exercise is good for mental health. But some days, the best thing you can do for your physical progress is recover. If you need to get moving, go outside for a walk, pick up a sport, or collect trash along the highway. Pray, do some yoga, write a letter to a friend, or nap.
If you're trying to achieve a certain sports performance or other fitness based goal, keep in mind that the body cannot adapt in two opposing directions at once.
Go ahead and try to "lose fat and gain muscles," and see how it feels to work so hard to get nowhere. Newbies can pull that off for a few months, but it's simply not happening for those who have been around the training block. Inadequate recovery with increased training intensity is one of the most common reasons why newbies quit making progress and transition to stagnant intermediate.
Quit training like it's 2005. Welcome to the new age...
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