Fit and 40 was my mantra a few years ago, but now I am finding fault with 42 due to a newly acquired over-use injury. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, exercise is one of the best medicines for the body, but too much can be harmful.
‘No pain, no gain’ is really counterproductive in the scheme of things. So what are the overt offenders that men might present with if weight training too much? A good rule of thumb is to approach training slowly and steadily and be wary of exercising too intensely. Younger individuals may feel impervious to injury early on, but as we age we are relegated to longer healing times. According to Sarah Sheppard, an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Manager at the University of Richmond, a culmination of factors can lead to overtraining.
1. Lack of progression and/or repetitiveness
Doing the exact same exercises every single time you lift weights or lifting the same weight every time tends to negate progress. “Realistically, you should be progressing through heavier weights every 3-4 weeks, with some rest weeks mixed in,” says Sheppard. If it’s been a year and progress seems to be stalled with regard to resistance training goals, then it might be wise to look for possible tell-tale signs of overtraining.
2. Good Pain & Bad Pain
While some discomfort is part of a weight training regimen, knowing how to discern more deleterious pain is important. Sheppard is quick to point out that if something hurts for more than two days or if sharp pain is felt, this should be a red flag. It’s normal to be sore the day or two after lifting, which is often the result of a condition called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Your body is screaming for a rest day, your legs feel like bricks, you’re not getting enough sleep; you can’t lift your arms over your head. The body needs rest and recovery to repair the muscles you’re targeting. Allowing each specific muscle group at least 48-hours of rest before working it again is a good habit to adopt. “Making sure you’re getting solid nutrition after a workout to help with muscle repair is essential,” said Sheppard.
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