Intensity is the key to muscle growth, right? If you can’t find ways to push your body to new limits it has never seen before, then you’re probably not going to be able to grow new muscle. It’s important to enter the gym, and leave the place knowing that you did everything you could to stimulate some growth during that training session. Unfortunately, that can lead to situations where you train too hard – and end up making less progress than you would be seeing by training a bit with a bit less intensity. Here are some warning signs that you may be going too hard on yourself in the gym.
You can’t add any more weight on the scale
If you can’t get bigger – no matter how much food you are eating – there’s a pretty good sign you’re not recovering well enough. Recovery doesn’t just involve individual muscle groups. You also have to allow your body time for your central nervous system (CNS) to rest. It is only when your CNS is recovered that your brain tells the rest of the body it is okay to begin the growth process.
You aren’t getting any stronger
Even if it is only by small increments of 2 to 5 pounds, you should be able to see some improvements on how much weight you are moving, as the weeks and months pass. If it’s been several months and you have been unable to add any weight to the bar on movements such as bench press, deadlifts, or squats, you may need to scale back the total number of sets.
You get tired faster
Both inside and outside the gym, you’re wearing out way sooner than you used to. This is a classic sign of your body telling you that the demands you are placing upon it are just too much at the moment. Cut back any unnecessary extracurricular activities and shave 4 to 5 sets off of your typical visit to the gym. Your other sets will mean much more, and your lungs just might return!
Your sleep is disrupted
If you’re tossing and turning at night, or falling asleep at red lights in traffic only to lie awake at night, then you’re in a situation where your system if over-taxed. Use zinc/magnesium/calcium supplement before bed, drink more water, and reduce your training by one day weekly to see if this helps to correct the sleeping situation.
You become sick more often
The final sign you are training too much is that you will be the less-than-proud owner of a depressed immune system. Cut back the weight and the sets, and kiss the flu goodbye!
Your appetite is slipping
A strong, healthy appetite is a sign of a man that hits a lot of iron and needs nutrients to recover! If you are eating less at each meal, you need to be doing less in the gym each day.
The bottom line is that you should never take it easy on yourself fin the gym. Instead, you should find ways to minimize the actual amount of time that you are at that peak performance level. If you’re using 8 or 10 failure sets every workout, you are placing too much stress upon your body. It might feel good today, but are you going to be able to maintain that level of intensity for the next twenty years? Probably not. Develop a long-term training strategy that will allow you to train hard within reason, and muscle and strength gains will continue to arrive for years to come!