It's no mystery, the fitness industry can be pretty extreme.
Meanwhile, thousands of people across the nation struggle with unhealthy relationships with food and excessive exercise only to have their habits encouraged by “fitspo” featuring ever so deep quotes such as “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, thanks for that one Kate Moss.
One concept in particular that I want to touch on is the notion of “no days off” training. Sometimes I feel that these social media celebrities take the truth- do a 180 and then promote THAT thing. Taking not one day off in the midst of intense training is not only ineffective but counterproductive to making progress. I’ll tell you why.
What we are doing during intense bouts of exercise essentially is damaging muscle tissue. The repair of this tissue is what causes gains. In order to allow this tissue to repair you must REST. Again, it is during REST that your body is able to experience gains. I’m so sorry to burst your bubble “no days off” promoters- but you’re just simply wrong. Now- having days where your exercise intensity is much lower than normal can still allow for the body to recover, but nothing in comparison like a day of total rest.
There’s something else too- Hormonal implications of the stress we place on our bodies through exercise and just daily life prompts the release of cortisol (this is what is released during your fight or flight response). Stimulant based products trick your body into thinking it’s under attack thus releasing cortisol. This is the surge of energy you feel after you’ve downed a pre-workout or energy drink. It all seems great until you get the memo that the adrenal glands are the size of walnuts and eventually they run out of cortisol to release for your emergency workout stash. Another reason REST is super important. And here we are again at the “no days off” concept just being another method for people to spoon feed you insane philosophies that have no backing of science.
I would dare to say the overtraining is the most common diagnosis within our industry today. But before you think all of this is a PMS inflicted rant- let me prove it. Once cortisol is tapped out in your system you experience what’s called “adrenal fatigue”. This can be described as having “depression like” symptoms. You feel lethargic, unmotivated and extremely tired. In most cases like this- one may double up on their pre-workout, but there will be no adrenaline or cortisol left to release for energy. If this is left unattended what you may have on your hands is permanent metabolic damage, irreversible weight gain, and many other health complications. So before you go and jump on the “no days off” bandwagon- consider that your body is sort of a one time thing and you have to preserve it so its with you for the long haul. Not to mention, want results?? Then rest is required.
I love the truth. I hope you do too. Thank you so much for allowing me to share it with you.