I have a request to go into more detail on something I hint at a lot in my writing and that is the idea of gym addiction. This idea of gym addiction is largely thought to be a good thing. I’m here to tell you it’s not.
People will talk of their “fit” friends that “hit the gym everyday and are in great shape.” As a fitness professional I can say there is only a few reasons to go to the gym everyday, and that would be to do foam rolling, stretching, mobility work, and to do specific corrective exercises. These things are important and should be done everyday. (Thanks for the quote Dan John!) This is NOT what is being done by these gym addicts. Usually they are guilty of doing cardio. They live in a calorie in vs. calorie out world and damnet they love it! (see Fitness Bliss)
To make this simple, let’s use that one person everyone knows that does go to the gym everyday that maybe does have a better than average physique. Now take that person and give them off on Sunday. Do we think they look any different? Probably not in the slightest. Now go ahead and let them sleep in Wednesday morning and skip the gym there too. They’re going to look the same. If this person is a true cardio monkey we can take out all 7 days and they will still look the same!
This person does not look the way they do from going to the gym everyday. They get it from genetics and diet. Don’t give gym addiction credit for nature’s work. Even if the person is enlightened enough to use full body resistance training days, we can’t be doing these everyday. And we’re just not getting enough of a benefit from splitting them up to work out everyday. It just tells me you’re probably working too small of muscle groups, or aren’t working hard enough to illicit any sort of training response.
The other part of this is recovery. Let’s say you take my advice and start doing intense heavy full body resistance training days 2 or 3 times a week. But you really want bigger (insert self esteem killing body part here) or smaller (insert self esteem killing body part here) so you ask what I think you should do for that particular problem. My answer would be to do intense heavy full body resistance training days and rest on the off days. Rest, not extra biceps curls to bulk up or triceps extensions to slim down (see here). Or cardio for that. What wanting to do cardio on off days tells me is that you’re not that confident that your diet has been perfect. Hint: If it’s not, a couple extra hours on the treadmill won’t make a difference.
Remember, results come from the rest, not the hours logged in at the gym. Quantity, no matter how large, NEVER trumps quality in the fitness world. And please tell your friends to stop going to places like these that encourage this type of lazy pointless training.
It’s ok to lift things up and then put them down…