You might be wondering if it is okay for you to do the same exercises every single day for your exercise regimen. There is nothing inherently wrong with spending a portion of every day in the gym. After all, the whole purpose of BFR training is to build and maintain muscle, while minimizing overtraining. However, there is a fine line between sound training and self-destruction.
A Healthy Workout Routine vs. Overtraining
You may be wondering what the difference is between a rigorous workout routine and overtraining. If you have ever done the same workout or trained the same muscle group for more than two days in a row, chances are that one of your workout buddies has told you that you are overtraining. Is overtraining even possible? If you want to build a stronger upper body, for example, doesn’t it make sense for you to bench press and perform pull-ups every day? If you want to develop your quads and your glutes, why shouldn’t you perform squats every day? What takes place within your body when you train the same area over and over again?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the desire to improve and get better at performing your routine. As an athlete, it is important to set goals for improvement. While it is true that any goal worth something can only be achieved through hard work, a problem will crop up if an athlete decides that the best way to attain peak strength is to perform intense exercises with the same muscle group every day.
How Overtraining Occurs
Occlusion training and traditional strength training create micro muscle tears to occur within the fibers of the muscles you are training. These tears are normal and are part of the strengthening process. When you’ve completed your workout, your body will send “satellite cells” to the muscles you worked out for repair. The satellite cells make use of the amino acids found in proteins to build new muscle fibers where the tears occurred. If you have enough protein in your diet, your body will replace the torn fibers with thicker and stronger fibers than before. This is how you gain strength and size with your workouts.
This process will be negatively affected if you overtrain. If you do not give your muscles a chance to rest and recover after you have pushed them to their limits, the new muscle fibers will become destroyed before they have a chance to fully repair. If you fail to let your body recover, you will not reap the full benefits of your BFR training routines. High-intensity exercises performed on the same muscle groups on consecutive days will be a waste of your time in terms of muscle growth and strength building.
Signs and Symptoms of Overtraining
Each time you train, you cause a small amount of trauma to the muscle tissues of your body. The repair process your body follows to rebuild and strengthen your system takes anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, depending on the intensity of the exercise and the vitality of the trainer. If you hit the same muscle groups every day, you will be causing additional damage without giving the previous damage a chance to fully heal. Over time, you will see fewer and fewer results as the symptoms of overtraining kick in.
Once you’ve pushed your body beyond the point where it can recover before being asked to work again, you will find yourself experiencing the following symptoms:
- Loss of endurance
- Unusual aches and pains
- Difficulty sleeping
- Soreness that does not resolve
- Decreased ability to follow through on your workout routines
Overtraining can also open the door to increased risk of injury. Repeating taxing exercises such as heavy bench presses or squats is the number one cause for fitness-induced injuries. Your body does not have enough time to recover from the stress placed on an isolated body part and may become weakened as a result. Remember that overtraining is essentially pushing your body beyond its personal limit and making yourself weaker in the process. There is no good thing to be gained from overtraining.
What to Do if You’ve Overdone Your Occlusion Training
Many people experience some form of overtraining on their journey to physical fitness and well-being. If you find yourself suffering from the negative effects of overtraining, there are several things you can do to help your body recover and return to its full vitality.
If you are aware of having overtrained, take a break for two consecutive days. Some people take an entire week off from fitness training on a regular basis to revive their spirits and give themselves a break from the routine. When they return to the gym, they are reinvigorated and ready to enjoy training again. If your training consists of progressively heavier weight, week after week, it isn’t a bad idea to undulate your periodization – which is a fancy way of saying take a an active recovery week once every 8 weeks or so.
Deep tissue massage differs from other massage techniques in that it reaches the deeper layers of muscle and directly affects the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds your muscles from your head to your feet. This type of massage has been proven to be effective for chronic pain and to relieve muscle tightness. Deep tissue massage can also help break up scar tissue and remove muscle knots. If you don’t have time or inclination to go to a massage therapist, you can perform self-massage. Consider investing in tools such as a foam roller and lacrosse ball to increase the effectiveness of your treatment.
When you overtrain, your body can become depleted in certain areas. To help yourself recover quickly from overtraining, consume an adequate amount of carbs (the average sedentary person even needs 60 carbs per day or more), proteins (ideally from high quality animal sources such as grass fed beef) and healthy fats (such as coconut oil, grass fed butter, etc). You should also consider taking a complete multivitamin as an additional source of nutrition. I’m also a big fan of trace minerals and ZMA. They are great for replenishing the adrenals while also helping restore proper cellular fluid balance. The product I use is called Trace Minerals TMRFIT Series Liquid Zinc Magnesium Aspartate.
While dedication and the willingness to put in long hours at the gym to build your body are the trademarks of great athletes, it is important to maintain a healthy balance between work and rest (most of the growth happens during rest). If you work too much, your body will rebel. If you slack off, your body will lose muscle. You can certainly work hard, but you also need to work smart if you expect to achieve your fitness goals. By splitting your exercise routines between the major muscle groups and allowing at least one day of rest between each intense workout, you are more likely to see improvement in your physical fitness levels.