Fitness: It’s okay to quit while you’re ahead

In fitness, many people do too much: too many reps, too many miles, too much weight, too many sprints, etc.

Now don’t get me wrong, it is very important to supply a training stress to the body. When we recover from that stress and adapt, we then get stronger, faster and better.

But as we build fitness and improve performance, we’ll need to find ways to supply new stress to the body without overcooking the system.

This is a tough concept to figure out. If we are continually putting too much stress on the system without adequate recovery, this will lead down a negative path.

Overtraining is real: mental fatigue, lack of motivation, physical breakdown, pain and injury, inadequate sleep, decreased libido, decreased performance, always tired, and more. These are symptoms of overtraining.

For the beginner who is just starting a fitness journey, it is important to knock out quite a few low-to-moderate-level training sessions. This is how to build a solid foundation. However, this person should not jumpstart a high-intensity training regimen… not just yet.

Slow things down, do more quality reps in the gym, perform low-intensity aerobic work, and be patient and take the time to build a foundation. You will not get fit overnight; it takes time but killing yourself in every workout is not the recipe for success.

For an advanced individual, that someone who is looking to achieve some big goals, it is important to build a smart and progressive plan. This means a balanced approach that has a mix of low, moderate, and high-intensity training sessions. This person is training four to seven days per week so going hard every workout is not smart and will lead to a negative outcome.

I would say for this person approximately 25% of their workouts should be higher intensity/harder sessions, 50% can be moderate level sessions, and 25% will be easier/less intense/focused more on movement and recovery sessions. Knowing when to vary which workout consistently leads to a successful outcome.

Moral of the story — more is not better. Building a smarter plan is the best approach. Be wise in your training. Excessive soreness, throwing up, passing out, becoming lightheaded, or other ailments are not positive signs.

Sometimes, we just need to quit the workout while we are ahead and while we still feel strong. This means we can come back the next day with a realistic goal still in sight.

This understanding is how you become more productive in your training and can truly maximize fitness and performance over a long period of time.

Justin Levine is the owner of California Fitness Academy. If you are interested in learning more about a fitness program, please check out the CFA website.

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