This story is from a YLB reader, Mike who has a huge fitness enthusiast. Mike has written for us a few times. A while ago he wrote a post on personal goal setting. Mike wanted to share his personal thoughts on working out too much. Some reader stories contain general advice about health and personal development. Others can be examples of how a YLB reader achieved success or failure. Want to submit your own reader story? Send us an email

Do You Workout Too Much?

I enjoy going to the gym. I see the same people I have seen for several years, wave, smile and then on to my work out. I like preforming certain exercises more than others. Naturally I gravitate to the routines I am more comfortable with.

Are You In A Comfort Zone?

One of my friends does the same exercises week after week. No variation, no changes, like clockwork. He goes twice a day, everyday. Good for him to be so consistent! He does complain that he never can put on weight or grow. I wonder why?

The bottom line here is that we get in a comfort zone.  I guess you could call it the no change zone. In order to grow and to make a difference in what you look like and how your body functions, you need to step out of the comfort zone and change things up.

Working out too much can have the same effect as never changing your routine. You never seem to move to the next level of fitness. Changes in your muscles occur when you work out. Your muscle tissue breaks down, you’re stored up energy gets used up, and you lose fluids (sweat!).

Recovery Time

I like to work my chest. I have no idea why, but I just like the idea of a well-developed chest. If I could, I would work some part of my chest every time I hit the gym. I don’t do this because of one thing, recovery time.

Recovery time is the time necessary for the body to rebuild itself from all the tearing down you did the last time you worked that muscle. Tiny tears in the muscle fibers occur when you work these muscles. The body needs time to repair these fibers and build new blood vessels to the stressed area.

If you keep working out the same body part over and over without giving it time to recover then your body will continue to breakdown from the stress of the exercise.

Do you work out too much? Probably the best overall guide is how you’re body feels.

Recovery is the key. You have to not only let your body rebuild itself but you have to actively give your body the necessary things to help the rebuilding process.

Essentials

-Water, fluids (remember how much you sweated out during the exercise period?)

-Protein – you body needs protein to rebuild muscle (See Matt’s article “How Much Protein Do You Need”)

-Sleep – Your body rebuilds and repairs when you snooze.

Every (body) is different. What works for one person not always works for someone else. Some people can recover quicker than others. You are the most important person best qualified to determine if you are working out too much, or have the perfect balance of exercise and recovery.

Reminder: This is a story from one of your fellow readers. Please be respectful!. It can be a bit nerve-wrecking to put your story out for others to read for the first time. Keep in mind that this guest isn’t a professional writer; just a person with a passion for healthy living like you. Negative comments on reader stories will be removed.
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Sources:

Spiegel, Leproult and Van Cauter, Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function. The Lancet (www.thelancet.com) (1999;354:1435-1439).

Lamberg, L., Sleep May Be Athletes’ Best Performance Booster, Psychiatric News August 19, 2005, Volume 40 Number 16

Mujika, I. and Padilla. Scientific basis for precompetition tapering strategies. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 35: 1182-11187, 2003.