I've often been asked, "how often should I workout". Different people will give you different answers, but at the end of the day, the answer is not only goal centric, but a very individual one as well .
The answer to this question is often best answered by asking yourself the right questions instead of depending on others generalized opinions.
The following is an example of important questions to ask yourself:
1. Am I doing this just to be active, to achieve some personal goals, or to become competitive?
(if you want to be competitive, you would begin by studying the endeavour AND finding a mentor/coach......if you want to achieve some new personal goal, you would start studying the endearvour OR find a mentor/coach......if you want to be active, just start doing something, you can always progress in any and every other direction from there.). If you're looking for a mentor to get you on the right track, you can connect with Ben, one of our top trainers, by going to our PERSONAL TRAINING PAGE.
2. Am I just starting out without prior training/experience, or do I have some past/recent training behind me, or have I already been training for years?
(the more novice or green that you are, the less you should start with so that you can enjoy the most progress with the least effort and start with whatever is convenient and unburdensome, BUT, make sure you commit to a slow progression from there......if you have some past/recent experience, choose one specific focus that you want to improve and start there, then pay attention to your body and rotate that specific focus shortly after you start feeling your progress drag (plateauing, a developing irritation/injury, any developing physiological dysfunction that wasn't there when you started).....if you have been training for years and aren't sure how often you should train (usually because something about your results or well-being is unsatisfactory), you either did not spend adequate time studying your endeavour and yourself, and/or you need a mentor/coach to reassess your approach, or you need to run a series of tests to see if your health has changed - how - and what you need to address (for the latter, you need to seek the help of a professional* I recently completed an HPA Stress Profile from migraineprofessional.com who treats migraines but also a wide range of other health conditions).
3. The third question I would ask myself, or more so concern myself with, which I've touched on somewhat in the 2 former questions above is, have I developed a method for myself that has:
- an easing-in as a starting point,
- an intensification plan,
- and then a break for active re-evaluation and adjustment
Without an easing-in we cut short the benefits of our own progression. Without an intensification we fail to grow beyond our beginnings. Without a re-evaluation and adjustment, we fail to keep progressing in healthy equilibrium that supports further improvement.
The difference between this methodical and intermittent approach to training and someone that doesn't train at all is clear. But there is also a difference between being methodically intermittent and simply being thoughtlessly continuous. While consistency is a very important part of progress, often there is a level of confusion and false belief that leads people to think that being consistent/continuous means never taking a step back to recharge and re-evaluate, and worse, that consistency trumps method. This sort of false belief, builds fear of losing hard earned progress, leads to unhealthy addiction, and often leads to worse outcomes (injury, plateau, dysfunction) that actually set a person back much further than choosing to take that 1 methodical step back so that they can spring board further forward.
I hope this post helps you answer the question of "how much should I train", for yourself.
Until Next Blog - BE BETTER!
For those of us who are primarily focused on building muscle or losing fat we often taken on a macro focused approach with the foods, supplements, and activities that we choose in the hope that they will deliver our goals with hasty efficiency.
ex. 'if you want to build muscle you need to consume massive amounts of protein, so you eat tons of meat, lots of calories, hundreds of protein shakes, and numerous other supplements'......'but you also neglect the impact of all of this on your insides'.
Most often, this type of shotgun approach is met with a positive feedback loop where we do see positive results and which falsely lead us to believe that such an approach is the right approach. It is only after many months, years, or decades for some, that this approach shows it true failures and costs. In other words, such a narrowly focused approach neglects the health of our gut, in exchange for a more immediate affect on our external appearance. Such an approach has long term affects (negative-internal) that don't show up for a long time, whereas the short term affects (positive-external) show up in a relatively short time. This is akin to taking cocaine to improve how you function in social situations (external and immediate) without any regard for the brain damaging affects that come with its regular and repeated use (internal and delayed). Damage to your brain will affect your gut, and likewise, damage to your gut will affect your brain. Moreover, the gut, like the brain, and most organs in the body, is very resilient, and has a great capacity to recover, and this is the same reason it usually takes so much longer and so much damage on our part for the affects to start showing very loud external signs that a clearly visible and can no longer be ignored. Unfortunately, by the time the signs are loud an clear, unable to be ignored, and bring us to a point in our lives where we have no choice but to address them (IBS, Celiac, Chron's Colitis, Fungal Infections, etc), a serious amount of damage has been done. At best, and if caught early, this type of gut damage impairs your ability to pursue your once prized external goals and only interferes with normal daily life, but at worst, it completely compromises your ability to lead a normal life through a more serious and aggravated state of disease. The road to recovery, if at all available, is a long and painful one that one would not wish on their enemy, so don't impose it on yourself. Take a wholistic approach to your health and fitness goals. Find a wholistic mentor to guide you. Consider your inside health before your outside appearance. I highly recommend a CHEK Certified Holistic Health Coach (for my recovery protocols I have used Mark at www.migraineprofessional.com).
The goal should always be to do more with less, to take out before adding in. Be mindful of your health, respect your body, and show kindness to your insides....Until next blog.....Be Better!
Recovery is definitely tied for the most important factor affecting performance in the gym and out in the arena or on the field next to practice/training itself.