What is overtraining and why you should be avoiding it at all cost

Does working more hours make you more money? Not necessarily. By doing so, you increase your risk of wasting time on useless things. While seemingly busy, you may be preventing yourself from focusing on priorities and the task at hand, and possibly be decreasing your productivity.

The same is true with training. You may be weight training 4 times a week, jogging 30 km a week, doing spin class 3 times a week and going to Pilates class on your “rest” day but still not seeing results. You are fatigued, your body is constantly aching, you don’t sleep well and your morning resting heart rate is through the roof. Your fatigue may be contributing to the sugar cravings just to push you through the day. When you train too hard for too long without sufficient rest, the body is no longer able to adapt and restore its balance, known as homeostsis.

Most people don’t understand that it is while you are resting that these sought-after adaptations occur. During training you are creating microtrauma, or “breaking” your muscles apart to create an endocrine response to promote tissue remodelling, fat burning and hypertrophy when you are at rest.

Signs that you are overtraining or under-recovering and what you can do:

    1. Your mood is changing. If you’re feeling angry, depressed, with a high resting heart rate in the morning, take a break or decrease the volume (see number 5).
    2. You’re getting weaker. If the weights you are using every subsequent workout are decreasing/ plateaued (i.e., no overload), you are most likely not recovering sufficiently.
    3. Get sufficient rest. Optimal sleep should be uninterrupted and you should wake up refreshed. If this is not the case, you might want to read this article.
    4. Use nutrition. Vitamin C, E, glutamine, BCAA, wholesome foods will help you with recovery. Consult a Biosignature Practitioner about the proper peri-training and the best nutritional practice towards your health goals.
    5. Deload. For every 3 weeks you train at a high volume, spend one week at a low volume by decreasing the number of sets performed. 

Overtraining does not make you more fit

Be honest. Can you explain why you’re doing what you’re doing? Or are you just blindly following what someone else does and while feeling like you’re getting nowhere fast? Just as working more hours doesn’t necessarily make you more money, training more does not necessarily make you any fitter. Our goal is to find the happy medium in which our clients can train the fewest days as possible that will provide them with the maximal result. Consult a KX Exercise Coach and get a proper program, prioritize, and enjoy your days off with friends and family.

 

Train smarter, not harder.

Steady state cardio can make you fat

For the general public, most of us exercise to improve our physical appearance or improve general health and prevent disease.

What does the general population do to get to their goal? We often hear: running, cycling, swimming, or any other moderate-intensity, prolonged, steady-state aerobic activity. You can easily spot this demographic walking into any commercial or residential gym. Those who continue to run, swim, and cycle further and more frequently are losing muscle; and as it continues to  decline they’re (1) storing fat, (2) losing strength and (3) reducing their resting metabolic rate.

1. Prolonged cardio leads to excess cortisol.

During exercise, cortisol, a stress hormone, is secreted as soon as a workout starts and continues to rise until completion. This stress response creates a catabolic, “muscle wasting” effect. To have a muscle building effect, we want a high testosterone to cortisol environment, generally found in high intensity, short bouts of stimulus.

2. Prolonged cardio leads to loss in muscle mass.

Another way aerobic or endurance exercise leads to muscle loss. Jogging may be accelerating the muscle loss, fiber shift, and fat storage that’s normally associated with aging.

3. Prolonged cardio leads to decline in resting metabolic rate (RMR).

Most people continue to believe obtaining a better physique requires consuming less calories, burning more calories, or a combination of the two. Unfortunately, the body is a beautiful machine and can adjust for the low intake during caloric restriction or a high caloric output during exercise, further hanging on to fat to store for future needs. You are essentially making your body less efficient at fat burning and more efficient at fat storing.

Exercise to build, not to burn.

Individuals that work on building muscle always look better than those that focus on burning calories. Not only because a toned muscular body is more aesthetically pleasing, but because muscle increases our resting metabolic rate. At KX Yorkville, we believe we need the right amount of stimulus to allow the body to shed fat and obtain optimal body composition. Overtraining and undertraining will both lead to fat storing, under or overeating will also lead to fat gain. That’s why we are here to work with you to find the balanced equation, specific to your body type. Book a consultation with our Exercise Coaches to get started.

 

Train smarter, not harder.

Why women should lift weights

You’ve heard all the horror stories: lifting heavy weights make women bulky, it’s dangerous and it’s bad for your joints. These lies feed into the stereotypes that are preventing many women from experiencing the benefits of resistance training. Rest assured, weight training will not do any of these awful things to you.

Contrary to popular belief, lifting weights do not make women bulky or turn into hulk overnight. However, it will help you improve your posture, gain lean muscle mass, improve metabolism and body composition.

 

Five reasons why women should lift weights:

  1. Improve posture. By simply improving posture, you will look leaner and more confident. Pull your shoulders back and lengthen your spine.
  2. Burn more calories. The more muscle one has, the more calorie they burn at rest. Do you love food? We sure do.
  3. Bone and joint health. Resistance training is an excellent way to combat the loss of bone mass with age and lower the risk of osteoporosis. By activating and strengthening the muscles around your knee joint will prevent pain from walking up or down the stairs.
  4. Better shape. As you build muscle, your body begins to take shape.  You may lose fat and muscle tissue with endurance activities, but lifting weights will help you burn fat and gain or maintain lean mass for better body composition.
  5. Being independently strong. Lifting those grocery bags? Holding a toddler in each hand? No problem.

Where do you start from here?

Now that we’ve cleared the air about weight training, it’s up to you to make the decision to engage in a more beneficial form of fitness and take your body to the next level. Find an Exercise Coach to create a customized workout program for you. This will help you get rid of any imbalances causing aches and pains in joints and soft tissue, target areas you want to tone and build muscle and prevent injuries. Having an exercise coach will help you reach your goals sooner. Get started with our 12-Week Challenge to summer.

How to overcome a training plateau

You’ve been hitting the gym 3-4 times a week, training the same muscle groups on the same schedule, using the same weights. Perhaps you go to the gym and you train whatever you feel like doing that day without a program, but some days you can’t figure it out so you hop on the elliptical and ride for an hour. You’ve noticed your gains are diminishing. You’re not getting stronger, leaner, bigger or wiser. What should you do?

Here are our 5 steps to avoid training plateau:

  1. Alternate between volume and intensity. Volume is how much work is performed and intensity is how hard the work is. Volume causes burnout, not intensity.
  2. Change your routine after at least 4-6 workouts. The more advanced you are, the more frequently you need to change as athletes adapt to routines faster and novices require longer.
  3. Do not change your routine sooner than 4 workouts. You will not see results or adapt.
  4. Record your weights and follow the 2% rule. Add 2% more weight to the weight every set. Muscles require overload to adapt. You will be surprised how much faster you will start seeing results.
  5. Hire a trainer. Find someone knowledgeable to hold you accountable.

At KX Yorkville, we screen you for imbalances before we create your customized training program, as you are only as strong as your weakest link. Our trainers ensure the movements are executed safely, under the appropriate time under tension and pre-determined rest period, to ensure you see endless gains. Workouts are changed every 4-6 sessions for best results. Book a consultation today to learn how you can be our next transformation story.

 

How to get weaker with exercise machines

Most clients have logged hours exercising on a conventional gym machine (ab crunch machines, tricep extension, shoulder presses, knee extension, abduction/ adduction machine). Looks like they get a great “pump”, but what are they really working?

 

Muscle recruitment on exercise machines

Your nervous system only activates the muscles in direct relation to demand. The machine only challenges the outer units, which are the bigger muscles designed to move your limbs, with very little activation of your stabilizer muscles.

 

Consequences of exercise machines

You will strengthen your outer units while your stabilizers remain dormant. This leads to undertrained stabilizers, and when you decide to do real life tasks, such as lifting up a box or picking up your squirming toddler, your structurally imbalanced body will fail, risking injuries.

 

Need help creating a workout program? Take advantage of our 12-Week Transformation Program promotion here.

 

Train smarter.

How to build strength and muscle fast: eccentric vs. concentric training

Many people do not focus on the tempo of each repetition. They lower the weight as fast as they pick the weight up and fail to understand that muscles must be stimulated under a specific time under tension to elicit muscle hypertrophy.

There are three types of muscle contractions in a movement:

1. Eccentric contraction is lengthening of a muscle, also known as “breaking” or lowering the weight.
2. Isometric contraction is when the muscle develops tension while its length remains unchanged.
3. Concentric contraction is shortening of the muscle, also known as lifting the weight.

For example, in a squat, when you descend, you are producing force eccentrically, when you’re at the bottom, you hold (may) it isometrically, and you would ascend concentrically.

Between these three contractions, eccentric loading causes more muscle soreness and gain in muscle mass. During the concentric movement, there is more friction due to overlap in muscle fibres. In eccentric movement, your muscle fibres tries to hang on to decelerate, resulting microtrauma in the muscle.

How to incorporate eccentric training

Studies suggest that protein synthesis is greatest after eccentric-enhanced lifting. For example, a simple way to build more muscle is to use a longer tempo for the eccentric motion (4 to 6 seconds) with an explosive or 1-second concentric motion. For example, in a squat, you would descend for 4 seconds, no pause at the bottom and ascend for 1 second for a 4010 tempo. Eccentric-enhanced phase (such as one with longer time under tension) will cause the most muscle damage.

If you would like to gain muscle mass and strength, defy gravity. You should always lower the weight in a controlled fashion and follow a prescribed tempo (a specific number of seconds to lift and lower the weight).

If you don’t change anything in your weight training program besides the eccentric loading, you will see gains. Need help creating an effective training program? Get a free consultation here.

 

Stay strong,

The Kx Team

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