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Overtraining: LESS can be MORE.

Posted Jul 15 2009 6:04pm

I’m a newbie at the mizfit blog, but I must say i’m definitely a fan.

I’m a 21 yr old female (5′4 and around 140lbs). I’m aware that I’m nowhere near being fat and that I’m healthy as it is, specially since I have a larger bone structure and a decent amount of muscle.

here’s the issue. I’ve always been a regular at exercising and I currently workout 3-5 times a week 2 hours at a time… 1 hour cardio and 1 hour arms or legs or whatever the day is. I dont really lift anything but dumbells but I’m not afraid of the weights still what I’m really trying to do is reduce fat and I can’t seem to do that.

Even while running/jogging 1 or 2 hours and eating healthy every day and counting calories and its driving me TOTALLY insane.

I regularly eat well although I do admit that I could be better during the weekends and I even stopped drinking beer first and now every single liquid that has more than 1 calorie.

I still have strong yet chubby arms and a bit of a pudge in my stomach that I want/need to get rid of.

How do you get those strong arms? Do I need to do more? workout more? Thank you.

Uh oh, People.

Ive preached consistency.

Ive nagged you to GET OUT THERE AND WALK!

Yet today Im compelled to remind you that sometimes, many times, doing LESS is more.

A great deal more.

The first thing I thought when I read this email is GIRLFRIEND, YOU ARE SO NOT ALONE.

Ive been there.

I have a number of real world friends who have been there (I know it’s shocking but yes I do log off upon occasion.).

And Ill bet a whole buncha members of the Bumbling Band have been there as well.

It is almost the American way.

If a little is good ( waves to a small sprite as purchased at a movie theater concession stand circa 2000 ) then more must be better ( jaw drops at the new small sprite size. The almost the size of my daughter’s head “small.”).

We do this with everything from self tanner to botox to exercise (Id love for you international folks to chime in here. am I wrong? is this not uniquely American?).

And, in my opinion, with 99.99 percent of these things less is really more.

When I first started lifting weights (three days a week. full body. plenty of rest.) I grew like the proverbial weed. I was smitten with the iron and found that I couldnt *wait* to return to the gym!

So wait I didnt.

I started lifting weights every day. And, much to my chagrin, my muscles started SHRINKING.

By the time Id been lifting daily for a month or so I had pretty much lifted myself back to square one —-definitely not my plan.

Not knowing all the details of your workout/foodplan this sentence still gave me the AH HA! moment I look for when reading emails:

Even while running/jogging 1 hour and sometimes even 2 and eating healthy every day and counting calories and its driving me insane.

Jogging an hour everyday? Too much for me as Id immediately be over-training.

Jogging two hours a day? Too much for everyone. (yada yada yada insert unless competitive athlete/training for marathon here)

That amount of exercise coupled with restricted eating & even the most resilient of bodies would cling to any available fat out of fear it wouldnt be on the receiving end of any for a while.

You mention this: I currently workout 3-5 times a week 2 hours at a time.

Could you, perhaps, workout less time per session and still not increase the number of training sessions per week?

Maybe try adding in interval training where you work *harder* but for a shorter period of time?

I have to say that, while the tone of your email was frustrated & slipping toward hopeless, your answer is a simple one to execute.

I know that it can be scary to do less as I oft had clients stick with the pain they knew ( overtraining. no results. ) versus the pain they didnt ( cutting back. ) for that very reason.

Yet I still urge you to give it a try.

Ponder trimming your workouts to an hour to start (30 minutes of HIT and 30 for weights) and see what you find.

See what changes you notice in a six week period (lower body fat? more energy in general? increased excitement about working out across the board? an overall sense of well-being?).

You can always go back to the old way ( wink ) if you find you truly don’t like the new you.

It’s tough to answer a question like this without knowing specifics or providing too many specifics which can be misinterpreted as a ‘prescription.’

You commenters, however, are free to say whatever you like sans any liability.

So git to it.


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