Let’s face it. Fitness is addictive. For those of you who go to the gym regularly and eat as clean as possible, health and wellness become a lifestyle. And sometimes when you plateau, you naturally do more of whatever brought good results before. Working harder and eating less should make everything better, but it doesn’t. In fact, the opposite may be what you need. If you are overtraining and undereating, you are most likely getting farther from your goals every day.
No one is saying to stop working out. Or to hit the nearest drive-thru for the mother of all cheat days. The point is to achieve a balance between diet and exercise that produces the best results over the long haul and leaves you with enough energy to enjoy the fruits of your labor. If your reaction to missing your goals is to immediately double the workout and eat less, it is time to think about the relationship between exercise, nutrition, and rest and make some adjustments.
Overtraining Is Never the Solution
If four sets of triceps extensions made your arms toned, eight should make them even more shredded. Not so, say the sports medicine experts. Training only brings benefits if you give your body a chance to recover. Once you are past this point, you can expect diminishing returns and eventually failure. Overtraining without rest will eventually lead to physical problems such as an elevated heart rate, chronic nagging injuries, and even weight gain. Mentally you can expect the signs of burnout to include depression, irritability, and a lack of concentration.
Rest is just as important to your workout program as the weights and reps you write down in your notebook. Scheduling yourself appropriately to allow your body to recover will bring more gains than any amount of double workouts ever will. Continue to overreach. Challenging yourself is critical to increasing performance. Just make sure you are giving your body a fair chance at success through rest and recovery.
Undereating Means Less Fuel
To continue a successful exercise regimen, your body requires fuel. There is no other way around it. Reacting to minimal weight loss or even weight gain by stopping your caloric intake will not improve your training results. It will only leave you depleted. Undereating is never the answer. Eating smarter, however, is an excellent approach to take.
Evaluate your diet and get rid of everything you know should not be going in your mouth. Eating cleaner is the first step to realizing your potential, not eating less. The average person does not need a special diet full of supplements to achieve fitness results. They simply need to be more disciplined.
When You Eat Is Important
If you are keeping a healthy diet and are still not getting the pounds to come off or building the muscle mass you desire, start thinking about when you are eating. Experts recommend eating a sensible meal 1-2 hours before a workout and 1-2 hours after. You can enjoy snacks throughout the day as long as they are healthy.
Portion control and balancing your diet will net you results far greater than undereating. By fueling your body with a proper mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats before and after training, you will allow your muscles a chance to be tested and to rebuild without robbing vital nutrients from other places.
Fitness should not cost you your health. It is supposed to be a positive part of your life.Overtraining and undereating are never the answer. The next time you hit a plateau, take a break and let your muscles recover. Think about what you are eating and when. Then, come back to the gym with a new plan of attack. Odds are your results will take off.
Ready to train smarter?