A reoccurring theme on this website, and in life for that matter, is moderation. You can have too much of a good thing or not enough to reap the benefits. But when you put the two extremes of over-satisfaction and under-satisfaction on opposite sites of our mental seesaw, it will create the perfect balance. We should strive to obtain this balance in every aspect of our life, including our training process. Think of baking a cake…I know, the thought of cake should never enter our fitness mentality, but hear me out. If a cake is removed from the oven early, it won’t fully develop, but if left in too long it will crisp. Our muscles can also burn, and the result is as useless as an inedible baked good. Therefore, we need to stay at the gym for the appropriate amount of time so our muscles will rise and fluff just right!
Let’s take a peek inside our body’s oven and observe when our muscles actually grow. I’m sure you’ve noticed that when you leave the gym you look the same as when you entered. But gradually over time, you notice change and discover results. This is because our muscles don’t advance in action, but rather during rest. Recovery is essential to strength progression, and in this state our bodies produce the protein needed for muscle development and repair. If you try to overwork a tired muscle, then…well…uh oh, I smell something burning. When this snoozing body part is awoken, it will snap back with complications like high blood pressure, sleep problems, and irritability. Overexertion is also a recipe for injury, a weakened immune system, and hormonal imbalances. It lowers testosterone levels, interfering with protein synthesis and eventually leading to muscle loss. You don’t want to feel like less of a man while lifting amongst the gym bros! In females, overtraining can lower estrogen levels to a point of an absent menstrual cycle. This can decrease their bone density, thus increasing their already high risk of developing osteoporosis. There’s another thing to keep in mind before aspiring to sweat profusely; if your work out series has taken a hiatus, don’t start the next season full force. Your cake will be able to bake at a lower temperature, and once your oven adjusts, rev up the heat!
Now let’s look at the opposite extreme of undertaining. Obviously you don’t want to sell your strength capability short or rob a muscle of potential. And we all know the dangers of inactivity like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and depression. The most important word in your fitness vocabulary should be consistency! Don’t be an inconsistent gym goer. You know the type; they make a resolution to frequently visit the gym, then after a few dedicated weeks or months…well…yeah. I’m sure we’ve all fallen victim to “New Years Syndrome” at one point in our life, but this disease offers a more dangerous diagnosis than just laziness. The condition damages built muscle tissue, strength and endurance progression, and self esteem. Like I previously mentioned, when you restart a work out regimen, you need to ease into it to prevent overexertion and injury. Look at it as starting over. What’s the point of spending all that time in the kitchen if your efforts aren’t going to result in a beautiful, delicious cake? Exactly!
Locate your balance, keep your oven at the right temperature, and never turn it off! Just think, with muscles burning fat at their maximum capacity, you can go ahead and indulge in a slice of that cake. Of course, as long as you eat it in…say it with me, moderation!
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