Hitting the gym 7 days a week.

  • JohnDallas

    Posts: 87

    May 11, 2008 9:33 PM GMT
    I'm just curious how many of you guys go to the gym 7 days a week. I use to have my rest days but lately I seem to feel restless and off balance if I don't hit the gym everyday. So I have found myself adding cardio days to my routine. I guess I'm officially the gym rat as my friends have often referred to me as.
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    May 11, 2008 9:39 PM GMT
    JohnDallas said lately I seem to feel restless and off balance if I don't hit the gym everyday. So I have found myself adding cardio days to my routine.


    To me, it sounds like you should be doing the opposite. If your body is that wired, it probably needs a week off.
  • JohnDallas

    Posts: 87

    May 11, 2008 9:47 PM GMT
    I have to admit I have never taken time off from the gym. The few exceptions being sick or overloaded at work forcing me to take time off.

    So when you guys take time off from the gym. Do you do lite workouts or cardio during this week or nothing at all?

    Recommendations.....
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    May 11, 2008 10:08 PM GMT
    I hate to admit that I do, because I recommend to others not to do the seven days a week thing. However, I do go seven days a week at times, not for weeks and weeks on end but for a couple weeks at a time on occasion. However, I am very, very sure that at least one of those days involves no lifting and just light cardio. I also have my diet down to a near perfect science, knowing exactly how much of every major vitamin and nutrient that I am getting, being very mindful of nutrient timing, being sure that I get a protein shake in immediately after the workout.

    I am also supplementing with extra Vitamin E and ALA to help with free radical formation that occurs due to taxing that body at that frequency. Supplementation at this level of training becomes important. By the way why are you doing this, are you training for something specific? I also get a creatine/carbohydrate drink in immediately following workouts. The protein shake isnt just any shake either, its Optimum Nutritions Pro Blend, which contains an excellent amino acid profile as well as fast and slow digesting proteins. Doing these things helps shuttle the carbs to my muscles restoring glycogen stores and providing for the continuous availability of protein to muscles to optimize my recovery. The protein with branched chain amino acids immediately after the workout halts the catabolic processes and blunts the cortisol release while increasing testosterone release.

    In essence what I'm saying is that if you are going to do that you certainly better know exactly what you are doing. You should be using software to track everything that goes into your mouth including water. You should be drinking at least a gallon to a gallon and a half of water per day, and you definitely better know what you are doing with every aspect of your program from diet to training splits to rep and set schemes, etc. Any particular detail overlooked can rapidly lead to overtraining syndrome which can have all kinds of unpleasant effects. I learned the hard way about the negative impact that it can have on immunity when I came down with a particularly bad case of pneumonia that took me a month to get over. Because I hadn't paid attention to certain key elements I ended up out of the gym for a full month.

    Make sure if you do this to take an occasional very light day, and make sure you know how to structure your program with scientific precision and attention to detail, and with scientific rigor in recording everything and watching for the slightest signs of over training syndrome. One of the best ways to tell this is to take your resting heart rate first thing in the morning when you wake before you get out of bed. If the rate is ever more then 5 beats above your average you should take the day off without question and maybe a couple, at least certainly until you morning resting rate is back in line with the average baseline. In my experience this is by far one of the best objective predictors of overtraining.

    Good luck with that man.



  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    May 11, 2008 10:21 PM GMT
    Generally not a good idea
    It does put you on the road to overtraining

    so unless you're a model needing to be super cut up
    or you know exactly what your doing with you diet and exercise stick with ... at least a day or two off
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    May 11, 2008 11:01 PM GMT
    I took a week off from working out when my personal training was moving to his own studio.

    When I went back to workout, I had so much improved in my ability to do my routine that I realized after several months of continuous working out the body needed that rest to full repair itself.

    You definitely can overwork yourself til your body just gives out ...and then you are really screwed. It is better for you to manage your rest periods yourself.

    from Overcoming overtraining here on RJ:

    "Take a break: Most experts agree that you should take one week off from working out every eight to ten weeks. Don't worry, you won't turn into a 30-pound weakling. If anything, you may be surprised at the growth and strength gains you see when you return to the gym fully recovered."

    http://www.realjock.com/article/88/
  • JohnDallas

    Posts: 87

    May 11, 2008 11:35 PM GMT
    Thanks for all the advice. I think I will take a week off. I have noticed an increase need for electrolytes in my diet recently. Probably a sign I do need some time off.
    It looks like this week is going to be a busy week for job interviews as I already have several scheduled so maybe a perfect week to take off. I guess I will have to keep myself busy to stop thinking about my workouts.
    By the way since I was asked I am working out for mass and size which I know does not require a 5+ day a week workout schedule. I just do it because I enjoy the gym.
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    May 11, 2008 11:40 PM GMT
    There is also a psychological component to overworking. You might want to think about this. Is your goal(s) pushing everything else out of your life? Do you need more balance among your interests in life?
  • JohnDallas

    Posts: 87

    May 11, 2008 11:52 PM GMT
    I think a lot of us fall into that category to a degree.

    I will admit I tend to over indulge in my interests. Up until about a year ago everything was about my job. In fact it got in the way of my other life goals.

    But for me the gym actually seems to balance my life. It's the time I spend focusing just on myself without the worries of everyday life. The measurable physical goals are an added plus.
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    May 12, 2008 12:14 AM GMT
    I use to work out 6 days a week. Lifting at least 4 days and doing cardio 5-6 days. My body wasnt getting the proper rest it needed. Now I lift just 3 days a week and cardio 4-5 days a week.
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    May 12, 2008 12:21 AM GMT
    I have a tendency to not take rest days. Yoga, run, pilates, run, body weight conditioning work out, run run run, etc etc...I'll go three weeks or so. I've had a few crashes in the past..3 years from over exercising. In 2008 I've been better at forcing myself to rest. Today was a planned rest day.

    Of course, I got food poisoning and then didn't want to work out...but honestly, today was a planned rest day. LOL

    My advice: sit down, clear your mind, and ask yourself, Why am I driven to work out so much? What am I chasing? Why do I do it when I know I shouldn't? It's rather like admitting the reason you engage in any addiction.
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    May 12, 2008 12:52 AM GMT
    I am more runner than a weightlifting gym rat, but I lift 3x a week for two hours a crack and run 30-40 miles a week, more when training for longer races. Anyway, I feel guilty when I take a day off even when my body tells me in subtle and not so sublte ways that it's time for a rest day. Muscles and the mind and spirit as well need rest and recovery time. Marking in rest/recovery days in your training diary is as much a part of one's discipline and training as an athlete as any workout. I don't always "rest" on my recovery days but instead do lighter workouts. There is a fine line between health and injury when training intensively
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    May 12, 2008 5:30 AM GMT
    rself a bike or go out for a walk. If yuo are training 3 hours a day 7 days a week then you are overtraining, if yuo are going in and doing a light run or a swim in between and the rest of the time you sit in an office all day you are not overtraining.

    People get over zealous on that one as they read of the dangers of overtraining, yt they forget less than 50 years ago people were active all day long and didnt plonk their backsides in front of a pc or a TV for umpteen hours.

    If you are feeling angsty and needing to train half the time you may want to start analysing your diet and seeing if their is a pattern. ie after a hard day at work do you go for a sugar fix or a major carb fix that could be kicking it off.
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    May 12, 2008 5:35 AM GMT
    7 days a week nonstop is too much. although it may feel good now, your body will breakdown. you need to give your body AT LEAST two days rest a week. if not, your muscles cannot heal and you will eventually stop growing.
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    May 16, 2008 7:33 PM GMT
    It's important to consider a couple things, lifting 7 days a week and training 7 days a week are not the same thing. Lifting 7 days a week is insane and will lead to overtraining or worse. However, one can easily confuse this with taking three days a week to lay on your a*s. As I mentioned at length above there are ways to do things provided you apply scientific rigor in your program. Also, you are going to be way better off when you vary your training methods. True cross training is training across the entire spectrum from anaerobic to aerobic training. So when I say I do tend to hit the gym seven days a week for a couple weeks, I do have days in there that are light workouts, or strictly HIT days, or biking days, etc.

    The one most important thing I have learned to do is to be very aware of what my body is telling me. If I am doing too much or the body needs a day off it will tell me. This is true for every human being if you are listening to what your body tells you. You know your own unique physiology better then anyone else including any physician. The key is to use your training to enhance the connection between mind, body and spirit rather then to just smash the body into submission. There are a set of principles known as FIT or focused intensity training that takes a meditative approach to lifting with varying patterns of awareness from open receptive awareness to very focused awareness of specific spots of the body. This becomes critical if you are going to be extremely successful in building your body. When you do this you deepen your connection to your own body and eventually you get to the point where you're body will even tell you what you need to eat. Now of course I have to mention there is a difference between listening to your body and listening to the mind that seeks pleasure by avoiding work and by eating whatever the hell it pleases. Learning to know the difference is the key to finding the level of training that your body can adequately handle.

    Sorry for yet another long post, I just think these principles are so important for the athlete and for anyone serious about their fitness, yet they are often overlooked for the routines of steroid using freaks. Truth be told a lot of the routines in the magazines would break most people unless they're juicing. Learn to feel, know and appreciate the body, learn your own physiology, the investment of time and energy will yield returns that last a lifetime.
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    May 16, 2008 7:43 PM GMT
    I used to hit the gym every day,k but found after a time I was not getting much out of it. And I was stressing myself out getting there and finding time for myself. Recently I have taken some time off. I have been swimming, running and biking, but not doing too much gym stuff. I actually feel really good. I may have lost a little muscle, but I also have lost some weight and have a more refreshed feel. No longer tired every day. I plan to return to the gym next week. I know it will be hard, but I look forward to shocking my body again and getting into a new routine.
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    May 17, 2008 12:42 AM GMT
    Well I am/planning to goto the gym about 6-7 days a week now that it is summer and I have a lighter courseload which means more free time. I have thought about the possibility of overtraining, and so to compensate I implemented certain measures that hopefully would mitigate that:

    * Training different muscle groups on consecutive days, allowing at least two day cooldown before hitting same muscles again.

    * Eating a lot of low-fat, high-protein foods from sun up all the way through sun down.

    * Getting at least 7, preferably 8+ hours of sleep each night.


    A possible workout plan for a week would then look like:

    Sunday: Chest + Core

    Monday: Back + Abs

    Tuesday: Arms (triceps) + Shoulders

    Wednesday: Arms (biceps) + Chest

    Thursday: Back + Abs

    Friday: Arms (triceps) + Core

    Saturday: Arms (biceps) + Shoulders


    I just want to take advantage of the summer to bulk up because I know come fall I won't have such plentiful free-time anymore. I know that these things don't happen overnight and patience is a virtue, but hopefully I can have my cake and eat it too. I realize there are still some overlaps between certain secondary muscle groups, but I am thinking that since they are secondary, those muscles won't be bearing most of the weight and so would be able to recover by the next day.

    I guess this is all because I arrived to the weightlifting scene a bit late, so I have quite a bit of catching up to do..
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    May 17, 2008 1:15 AM GMT
    So...when I took exercise physiology in undergrad my prof taught us something called the "J" curve (it is actually an upside down J). Basically what this curve shows is the eventual decline in benefits (be it immune/physical growth/etc) of maintaining a 7 day workout schedule. Initially you see a linear increase proportional to the intensity and variation of training (i.e. continual body shock). Then you peak and plateau (only for a short period of time)...followed by a negative slope (i.e. your body cannot take the stress anymore.

    So I say all that to say your body NEEDS REST!
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    May 18, 2008 3:27 PM GMT
    I was going to the gym 4-5 days a week, doing intense fat-burning cardio (45 minutes at 70-75% MHR) and moderate strength training. I haven't been for the last two weeks due to a foot injury and a trip to Florida for Mothers day. I feel like crap. Your body becomes addicted to it just like anything else icon_surprised.gif. I will be starting back tonight, though (my gym is 24 hours) and hopefully I'll be back on course soon.
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    May 18, 2008 3:43 PM GMT
    I think YngHung and bfg1 pretty much said it all. There's staying active every day of the week and then there is training every day of the week.

    Me personally, I train very hard leading up to a race but even then I take at least one day off for recovery. After the race, I take at least a week to just putter around. But again, it doesn't mean I'm suddenly inactive - I'm just not training.

    Perhaps you just need to mix up what you're doing - something OUTSIDE of the gym where you get to USE all those fancy muscles you've built icon_biggrin.gif
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    May 20, 2008 2:44 PM GMT
    Relokou,

    Hey bro I just wanted to make a quick mention of something for you, take it if you want or ignore it if you want. However, I would never, ever train the chest the day after shoulders. Your shoulders should be recovered and rested when you train either your chest or triceps. Vitually every chest exercise and many tricep exercises make heavy use of the front deltoid. Shoulder work really doesn't require much recruitment of the chest muscles, but you do need your triceps to perform many of the shoulder exercises. So it is more preferable to always have shoulders and chest workouts separated by at least a day. Hit your delts right before triceps or long enough after them to have recovered.

    I know you said that you realize there is some secondary overlap, and I know lots of guys do splits that do not pay attention to some of this stuff, but I really, really strongly recommend you consider the chest shoulder issue, especially since the shoulders are probably the joint most prone to injury on the human body.

    Good luck man.

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    May 20, 2008 3:19 PM GMT
    How about not hitting the gym for 7 days. I needed a break. They say every two months you should let your body rest.


    I go 4-5 times a week if i'm having a rough week i'll go 3.