Run around the same old town
Generalities, not specifics. There are guidelines when it comes to training and there are also rules. Just like a lot of things in life, guidelines are recommendations where as rules pertain to everyone. In the context of working out a rule would be not to lean forward when doing barbell squats and a guideline would be to rest a muscle group you just worked out for 48 or more hours. Make sense?
To a point, everyone is different. We are very similar but there are things that make us different and we need to be in tune with our body to understand how you as an individual is different. Sometimes we hear things or read things and think I’m going to do that, even though we don’t have all the important information. You’ll hear about successful people who only sleep maybe 5 hours a day. This is presented in such that you believe this is why they are successful. So what do you do? You start by feeling guilty that you are sleeping your life away instead of being productive and thus successful. And if you didn’t know that people who tend to do this without feeling like crap are able to because they don’t require more sleep then you are making a misinformed decision. They are able to do this without compromising their health. It’s a very small percentage of people who can do this and if you are not one of them you are setting yourself up for some serious health issues.
So let’s look at the 48 hour rule. A lot of thing influence how much rest you need between working muscle groups:
- Are you getting enough sleep? If you are burning the candle at both ends then you may actually need more than 48 hours to recover from that workout. How do you feel when you wake up? Groggy, miserable, disinterested in things? Are you hanging on by a thread throughout the day? Sometimes we can’t avoid not getting enough sleep but if you can change your routine to get the sleep you need then do it. A good way to know how much you need is to go to bed when you are tired, wake up without an alarm and see how long that period was. Our body is smart and can manage how much sleep we need. Normally when you naturally wake up without an aid like an alarm clock or an external disturbance you have had enough sleep. Then, use that as your guideline. If you have had a more than normal intense day be it due to a work out, or emotional stress then you may need more. Try to adjust for that.
- How intense was your workout? If your output is 100% and duration is more than an hour then you may need more than 48 hours to recover. If it’s a lighter then normal workout then you many only need 36 hours to recover. I can’t really tell you if you are working out intensely, you need to be the judge of that and for that I would recommend a personal trainer to monitor your workouts. Most people think they are working hard when really they aren’t. What some people perceive as intense usually is more in the moderate area.
- What is your goal? If your goal is to lose fat or to be healthier and you aren’t a competing athlete then it may not be a big deal if you don’t get the full recovery period once in a while. In the grand scheme of things if this happens once in a while, maybe once a month or two then don’t get worked up over it. If it happens too often then you may be increasing the risk of injury. We have to be flexible in our lives. I think it’s better to workout when this happens once in a while instead of missing that workout. If you are a competitor it may make more sense to forego working out that body part and try to work something else out knowing your schedule.
- Are you eating healthy? A lot of my posts touch on eating as it has a lot to do with our fitness and of course health. It’s probably the largest influence on our health. What we eat has about an 80% influence on our body weight and make up. If you are beating up your body day in and day out it needs the proper foods to recover and repair the body. We tend to forget that. If you have a pet you probably know or see that when they are fed foods that are of low quality containing junk or filler. If your body needs to repair itself and it has nothing to do it with because your eating choices are poor then you are increasing the length of time for full recovery. If you are eating foods that cause inflammation, causing disease, and not providing the nutrients you need but instead providing the opposite your recovery times will be much longer. Here’s what a former NFL lineman had to say:
- “It was hard for me to do bench press, it was hard for me to do push-ups,” Carter says. “Even lifting my body out of the bathtub, it felt like someone was taking a knife to my elbows and twisting that knife around and it was excruciating pain.” You can read more here about what he did to address this.
- Check this out too on why professional athletes are changing their definitions of healthy eating, or ‘clean’ eating. Clean eating may not be what you think it is.
It’s really based on how you know your body. Feedback. What is your body telling you? Figure it out and listen to it. Educate yourself too. Too many people invest time in things that do nothing for their health but then seem to have the time for when they become injured or sick. Be proactive instead of reactive. You’ll feel better, get positive results quicker and in the long term be a healthier person.
Yours in health,