Do I Need to Periodize?
The main value of periodization for all trainees comes from the fact that you cannot optimally impro...
| July 18, 2021
By Trevor Mah
Read time: 4 min.
We continue to be constantly bombarded with information from countless sources on a daily basis. As I mentioned in part 1, this exposure is so rampant that it inevitably influences behavior. So to continue on with this series, here is some more common poor advice given or heard that you may have come across and what you can do about it.
1. You Need To Workout Everyday
Being so connected online with fitness influencers and gym addicts makes this one seem like you need to keep up to their level. Even celebrities who flaunt their bodies and showcase their hard work play into this. Unfortunately, this can cause a lot more harm than good for people who are new and just starting out as it sets unrealistic expectations. Even people who are consistent in their training suffer from “missing out” if they aren’t able to get one of their workouts in. An inherent fear of losing or diminishing gains can be quite the mental battle. The reality is, unless you are specifically training at a high level for a competition (such as the Olympics), most proper programs don’t dictate any requirements for training hard 7 days a week. In fact, proper training includes scheduled periods of rest and recovery in order to truly benefit from your hard work.
What can you learn from it?
Being addicted to the gym is fun for a lot of people and I understand the social aspect of it as well. Going everyday to train means you'd rarely ever get to recover, because that’s where results actually occur. While EPOC can be explained in another article, there are many aspects of your training that you can still train and work on without having to hit the iron. To break this down, here is a list of things you don’t have to do everyday and things that you can:
Not needed everyday:
Things you can do all the time:
Mobility (especially important if you do workout often)
Light activities (playing with kids, pick-up sports, going for a bike ride, etc.)
As you can see, filling in your gaps between lifting and high effort days with the right activities can still allow you to be active. If your program and diet is already optimal, you don’t need additional time and you can save it for something else. You certainly don’t need to be under the impression that you have to either get some barbell work done, spike your heart rate, or anything else that induces high stress on your body on a daily basis.
2. No Pain, No Gain
Another overused expression that is likely derived from early days of trying to sell people on the machismo of hard work. While it is important to put in the right amount of effort, simply working hard without any plan or sense of what is going on with your body is meaningless. More importantly, knowing the difference between “pain” such as a burning sensation from a muscle pump versus actual sharp, stinging pain is important to distinguish. The first one is fine as long as it’s what you’re actually trying to achieve, but true pain is your body’s indicator to stop what you are doing. Risking injuries or worse, actually getting hurt, will not help you in any sense at all.
What can you learn from it?
A better way to rephrase this is “no gain, with pain”. Because pain is an indicator of something going wrong, really listen to your body and putting your ego in check is important in the long run. In a perfect setting, you should never actually get hurt from training in the first place. So if you are performing exercises that flare up some issues in your joints, or just don’t feel right, stop and re-assess. This could be a problem with execution and form, or the movement just isn’t right for you. Consult with a professional if you are unsure to get to the root of the problem.
3. Workouts In The Morning Are Best For You
Admittedly, I am normally a morning person when it comes to my own training. Working out later on in the day, especially at night time just doesn’t seem to work well most of the time. This particular idea is more based on establishing habits than it is on actual science. Although there are numerous studies out there that do show facts such as peak hormones between the hours to 3-5PM, or how your hearty lunch fuels your after-work training, there is too much variability to definitely state an optimal training time.
This is even more obvious when you think about people whose lifestyle prevents them from working out early. Night shift workers and parents have other obligations, so they can’t simply be unfortunate to have to climb an uphill battle right?
What can you learn from it?
Back to the behavioral aspect, this idea is predicated around getting your training in early and out of the way. It is more for people who are new and just getting into the habit of training consistently, so by planning to do it bright and early, you set yourself up for the day having already accomplished an important task. Other daily things don’t get in the way because you would have already worked out, and probably feel a bit more energized too. At the end of the day, if you can generally stay consistent with whatever time you choose to train, that is the better way of ritualizing workouts as part of your life.
So these are three more poor pieces of information that continue to float around in the world of fitness. There’s definitely more, so stay tuned for the next instalment.
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