Are You Working Out Too Much?

skeleton-exerciseLately I’ve noticed a trend. Many people I know seem to be working out two and three times a day. They do their Body Beast workout and then do Insanity. They do that day’s  P90X workout and then go for a run. I love the ambition and the energy, but I can’t help feeling like it’s overkill.

I  workout once a day. But when I see these people posting about their multi-workout days, for a moment, I actually feel a little guilty. Am I slacking off with my mere single workout each day? I start thinking,  maybe I should be working out multiple times a day too. Then I come to my senses!

I’m a trainer and I know better. I remember…there’s no reason to workout more than once a day. Actually if you’re working out once a day, you’re doing really well already. There are plenty of people who workout only sporadically, in periodic bursts (think January at the gym) or not at all.

It’s true that there are programs which have a few weeks of doubles in the schedule. I think for relatively short periods it’s OK to do two workouts a day two or three days a week. Also, for serious athletes…pros…Olympians, multiple daily workouts may be part of the training program. But for the average person who just wants to be fit and maybe drop some body fat it’s just not necessary. In fact, it can end up doing more harm than good.

Over training is one potential risk. Some signs of over training are persistent muscle soreness, loss of motivation for your workouts, insomnia, and increased tendency to get sick or injured. It’s OK to workout hard. When it’s time to workout, go for it. Bring your intensity and focus. Use intensity to your advantage. Sweat. Breathe hard. Give it all you’ve got…

And then…make sure you schedule in some rest and take it just as seriously as your workouts. I see way too many people who seem proud of their excessive workout schedules and their refusal to rest. They’re not doing themselves any favors. Eventually, I see these people paying for it with downtime that’s forced on them when they get injured or sick. It’s important to schedule adequate rest and when it’s time to rest, do it. Respect the rest.

Another way it’s detrimental has to do with sustainability. A workout schedule that you can live with long term is critical to success. Again, it’s fine to go through periods of increased training, but they should be limited in their duration. Trying to keep up with a doubles workout schedule indefinitely will lead to burn out and not just physically.

Potentially more damaging than a strained muscle or a touch of tendinitis is mental burnout. It can throw you off track in in a way that can be much harder to recover from than the usual physical injury . Especially if you have the false belief that you need to workout more than once a day to get results. The underlying all or nothing attitude will keep you from jumping back into your workouts with a more moderate schedule.

You can get results working out just once a day. You can get GREAT results even when some of your workouts are only 10 to 15 minutes long. You can lose fat, build muscle, gain strength, etc. If you bring the intensity to your workout sessions and, the thing that really makes the difference, EAT RIGHT that will be enough.

The bottom line is there’s no need to workout more than once a day and after the first workout it’s your diet that will make all the difference in your results.

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