Exercise is one of the best wellness tools available and should be a part of your everyday routine. However, sometimes we overdo exercise so much that it can be counterproductive.
Let’s review some common offenders…
1. Relying Too Much on Jogging
Running offers a great way to increase endurance and cardiovascular health. However, if you’re not including high-intensity intervals like rowing, hill sprinting, and even hiking, you’re missing out on other benefits. These include increases in resting energy expenditure that can keep you burning more calories all day. High-intensity interval training can also help you achieve a superior lactate threshold helping your muscles endure exercise longer. Additionally, by neglecting resistance training you’ll lose out on boosting metabolically active muscle tissue and strengthening connective tissue and bone mass. Resistance training offers a way for runners to address muscular imbalances and improve the biomechanics of running, but it important to vary a running routine to reap these benefits.
2. Making Workouts Too Long
If you’re in the gym for hours, you’re likely doing too much. Excessive exercise can led to a state of overtraining which, in the long run, will hinder your progress and certainly increase your susceptibility to injury. Muscles need a certain amount of stimulus to cause positive adaption. While the exact number of exercises and sets vary by factors like experience, age, and gender, there is a point where you can cause negative responses to training and blunt muscle protein synthesis. For most people 60 minutes at the gym is plenty.
3. Using Poor Form to Increase Weight or Number of Reps
Poor form can not only lead to muscle strains and chronic injuries, but also make your workouts less effective. Poor form decreases range of motion and reduces the efficiency of the muscles you’re trying to work. If you are unable to lift a weight without using improper form, you should probably be using lighter weights.
4. Losing Sleep Over Workouts
Muscle and training adaptations occur while you sleep. Many try to cram in early morning training or late-night fitness classes to add more to their program; however, in doing so they often tap into their sleep time. But it’s sleep that will actually help determine whether your workout is successful or not in improving your body composition. Poor sleep increases levels of stress hormones that can inhibit muscle and tissue repair. So remember: Sleep is just as important as proper nutrition and exercise.
5. In Search of the Perfect Program
Many people jump from program to program and change routines in a matter of weeks. Not only does this reduce the ability for your body to adapt to the new stimulus and make progress, but it also robs you of the chance to figure out what really works for you. There will never be a perfect program because your body is constantly changing. Find something that you can do and enjoy sticking with for several months before considering other workout programs.
6. Fitness That’s Too Functional
Functional fitness regimens are all the rage these days. These employ often functional movements intended to train muscles to work together. However, some can become far too extreme, use low weights, and/or encourage poor form. Usually this is in an effort to exert maximal effort for burning fat. But while the workouts may “feel” intense, they are doing little to build and tone muscle. When trying to lose weight, focus on building solid muscle instead. Muscle tissue helps boost your metabolism. Including regular resistance training a few times a week isn’t going to halt progress or make you overly muscular, but it is scientifically sound for better weight loss.
Though it is great to stay motivated to stick to a workout routine, people often become overzealous and burn out from doing too much. Choosing a manageable, consistent exercise goal will provide results because of its sustainability.