One of the biggest questions people ask when they first approach weight training is what is overtraining how long they should rest between workouts.
Answers can vary, depending on your reasons and goals, but most fitness trainers will put the number at around 48 hours.
The main emphasis, of course, should be that rest is extremely important. Unless your muscles are given enough time to recover from the stress of working and lifting, you won’t see very good results and you run the risk of setting yourself up for injury.
Whether you need exactly 48 hours between workout sessions is debatable. By focusing on different muscle groups every day, you can work out 5 or 6 days a week and still give your muscles enough time to recover.
What is Overtraining, and What Does it Have to do With Resting?
If you’re planning to work out nearly every day, it’s important to remember that without a proper training schedule you risk overtraining.
Many people think what overtraining means is working out too much, which isn’t necessarily true. Bodybuilders and competitive lifters work out for several hours each day, but most of them are able to avoid overtraining completely. The amount of time you spend lifting weights isn’t really the issue.
The real cause of overtraining is overworking a specific muscle group and not allowing sufficient rest time for the muscles in that group to recover. If you don’t take the time to rest, your muscles will get over-stressed. This can lead to pain, injury and at the very least, you simply won’t get the results you want – you won’t see or feel any improvement.
Quality of Rest is More Important Than Quantity
While the 48 hour mark is important to keep in mind, you should also be aware that when it comes to resting muscle, quality is more important than quantity. Even if you avoid working those muscles for the full 48 hours, you’re not necessarily avoiding overtraining and giving your muscles the “rest” they need.
This is especially true if you’re eating junk food or sitting around all day with terrible posture. This is because an absence of proper nutrients and healthy movement will negatively impact any efforts you make to strengthen and build muscle.
On the other hand, when you eat healthy lean proteins and use fruit and vegetables to provide carbohydrate fuel, you’re feeding your muscles the nutrients they need to regenerate and grow stronger. You should also get a full night’s sleep and practice good posture, stretching and regular cardio exercises to help with joints and muscle tightness.
There are many ways to work out practically every day and still avoiding overtraining and get the rest your body needs to make the strength and endurance changes you expect to see. The best way to do this is to develop a workout schedule that varies from day to day. Try to break up your schedule into alternating upper body, lower body and cardio days. Abdominal exercises can be split between the three provided you are isolating different core muscles for each day.
Do not work the same muscle groups two days in a row. Depending on the form of cardio you choose to do, it’s not always a good idea to follow a lower body weight workout with a running or fast walking day. Learn to isolate specific muscle groups so that you will know how to avoid over working them. Don’t just perform an exercise because you’re familiar with how to do it, learn exactly what effect each exercise has on specific muscles.
Always Make Time for Resting
Always take at least one full rest day and be sure to do some light stretching, light walking/moving and healthy eating that day.
Not everybody wants to look like a bodybuilder. Some people just want to maintain the muscle they already have. But no matter what your fitness goals are, you should always include time for quality rest.
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