As ambitious athletes we push our bodies to the limit and our common sense off the road. We easily reach the point of diminishing returns by ignoring nature's warning signals. So here's the Too Much of a Good Thing top ten count down that only makes sense to experienced athletes. No Pain - No Injury.
Training the same muscles too frequently will logically not allow proper recovery between training sessions. But what about professional athletes that train for their specific sport six days a week? A professional soccer player will surely overtrain their quads, right? Probably not. If a bodybuilder is training solely quads for an hour, then a daily pounding would be counterproductive. The question is really how hard we train and if our bodies are accustomed to frequent light training.
If we train extremely hard, we can still train the next day. The trick is then to use machines to isolate a different muscle and to avoid compound movements that might unnecessarily stress the sore muscle.
Surprising your small joints with torque defying weights will wreck havoc on the limbs of any gym rat. There is a simple reason experienced gym goers have elbow, knee and shoulder problems. It is the overuse of the best exercises and the endless quest for heavier weights.
If we use separate exercises for the warm-up, we might be able to put less strain on the joints and actually strengthen supporting muscles that might be overlooked in the training session. For instance, for a running workout we can warm-up with a bike and for a bench press workout, we can warm up with cable flyes.
Muscles and joints are easy to take into consideration. But what about the central nervous system (CNS)? Even if you rotate the muscles you use in your training to avoid muscle exhaustion, and you rotate the exercises to avoid joint overload, you still have not taken into account the CNS.
All exercises do not tax the nervous system to the same degree. Especially Explosive Mode training is very demanding due to the heavy weights and plyometric components involved. One way to avoid stressing the CNS, and actually help it recover, is to do a low impact exercise (such taking your dog for a long walk in the forrest) once a week.
But wait! That's not it. There's more. We took into account the muscles, the joints, the CNS... but what about our spine? On a quest to brake down muscle tissue, progressively, by adding weight, progressively, we also add strain on our spine, progressively. At some point more gains equal more pain. The abuse of Olympic lifts and plyometric training will haunt you. It is usually the joints or the spine that will kill the lifter's obsession to load plates on the bar.
So what is a motivated lifter to do? One way to tackle this issue, is to alternate the training equipment. A compulsive squater could for instance do one leg day only with machines that do not put pressure on the spine. You know the comfy machines in the gym where you can read in a reclined seat while moving some machine parts a bit back and forth.
A retired competitive Olympic lifter without back problems is as rare as a tall gymnast. Overloading the spine will have irreversible consequences.
We are not talking about stomach acid but the acidity in the body's fluids and tissues. The lack of alkaline-forming foods (read: vegetables) will result in a low Ph (Potential of hydrogen) factor. The body will borrow calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium from inner organs and bones in this case, just to neutralize the acid. For elderly, this might be the actual cause for bone loss. For athletes, this might be the most commonly undetected cause for decrease of performance.
It's not easy to know which foods to eat or to avoid to maintain healhty acidity levels. Confusingly, a food's acidity does not correspond to the acidity it will produce in the body. Even though lemons are acidic, they are alkaline-forming in the body. But the bottom line is really to eat more vegetables. Also, for a calorie conscious eater it means using stevia (high alkaline) instead of aspartame (high acid) to satisfy their sweet tooth. Consult this chart for easy reference.
How do you know if this concerns you? Buy Ph test strips and take action if your urine Ph is below 6.5.
Water is the only pre-workout, intra-workout and post-workout supplement that suits everyone.
How do you know if you drink enough? Your urine will be clear.
But it is not enough to restore lost sweat with water. Valuable minerals are excreted along with toxins and waste products when we sweat.
It's not easy to refuel the potassium and trace metals that we loose with sweat. One way to do it is to eat more mushrooms.
Protein is paramount for stimulating muscle synthesis and excess protein consumption will unlikely make you fat. However, overworking your liver and putting a greater strain on the kidneys could become an issue. Similarly to the over acidity issue mentioned above, increased calcium excretion increases risk for osteoporosis and kidney stones. If it's enough to consume 4g of leucine after working out, no one should consume more than 40g of any protein source after working out. The popularity and convenience of protein shakes can easily cause over consumption.
You have probably heard about the comparison between a marathon runner and a sprinter. Marathon runners are seldom muscular and therefore people draw the conclusion that long distance running and aerobic training in general is counterproductive for building muscle. Few people realize that sprinters also do long distance running and different types of endurance training. You have to build up the capacity and the speed/strength endurance for regular weight training as well. Skipping cardio slows down recovery and is detrimental for the hart and general blood flow.
If nothing else, jog for 45 minutes once a week. Simple.
Are you disguising your overtraining symptoms and possible adrenal insufficiency with energy drinks? Only feeling awake the hour after a pre-workout supplement? Sleeping rocks. Unfortunately it does not always tranquilize ambition.