This used to be my philosophy a long time ago. I would rock up at the gym, 15 days a 2 week thinking it was the best strategy for gaining muscle and burning body fat. Deep down inside, I was afraid to take a day off in case it would ruin my game plan.
As I build up my goal setting correctly, I sat down and got honest with myself. I knew that what I was currently doing, didn’t make any changes to awards a better body composition. I was working hard for the sake of just working hard. It was the definition of insanity really. Why would anyone bother to work their backsides off and not get anything for it?
This is when things started to change.
Slowly I cut down the excessive work - for me that was far too much cardio than I wanted, and added one rest day (that was my bravery threshold then). As time went on, and I noticed I was actually looking a lot better! After I was comfortable with one day, it formed into 2, spaced out evenly for the best rate of recovery.
Things started to move towards the beneficial end - both body composition-wise, and I felt less exhausted during the day.
One thing we need to be aware of is the detrimental effects of cortisol. This plays out in many peoples lives daily. Come to think of it, we are all facing different stressors, and we react in a particular way when it falls into our lap. Adding the stress of prolonged cardio, and lack of rest days further magnifies the presence of cortisol. That means, no gains, or muscle being used as fuel. Another disadvantage is the accumulation of fat cells, and more apparent along the belly.
Another aspect of cortisol is consistent inflammation. For me, this was always apparent as gut issues, for others, it could be in the form of headaches or muscular pain. These are signs we need to pay close attention to, as our bodies are reacting negatively in order to stop the damage.
Weight training should be carefully thought through as well. When you constantly push your body to the limit on a regular basis, the key hormones that foster weight loss and muscle gain are thrown out of whack. Again, this causes a catabolic state. Our immune system is compromised to make us more susceptible to catching a cold or virus. Lack of sleep, extreme exhaustion and a drop in libido will all show their faces.
Please do allocate enough rest days within your week, to aid in recovery and muscular growth. It’s when you rest that the magic of hypertrophy happens. This should be your primary goal, as muscle mass it the main ingredient that will help us sustain an elevated metabolic rate. This will prevent us from gaining weight over the course of the years, and aid us in keeping many health risks at bay.