In an effort to build bigger biceps, carve out powerful pecs, build tree trunks for legs and get a set of six pack abs that might make you the envy of every guy this Summer and the desire of every woman…the natural instinct is to INCREASE the number of times you workout every week. Well…that instinct is WRONG! This one decision can singlehandedly halt your progress and send you backwards on the road to an “AthLEAN” physique!
Your body hates change. Heck, most of us hate change also, and feel very comfortable in our own little routines. Well, your body physically hates change and strives for what is called homeostasis. All that is is a big fancy word for “not changing”! That said, when you’re trying to elicit a change (a la getting a muscle to grow) the body prefers just the right amount of stimulus to provoke an improvement (to us) but in reality an adaptation (to the body) so that the next time it gets this stimulus thrown at it…it can better fend for itself and resist yet another change.
So you see…there is this constant battle of wills going on between us and our bodies every time we hit the gym. We are trying to force change on our bodies (in the form of bigger, leaner muscles) with every workout and our bodies are trying to keep things status quo. Guess who wins most of the time? I probably don’t have to tell you that, given that fact that you’ve probably found it almost frustratingly impossible to add significant amounts of muscle to your frame in the longest time.
But guess what makes that even worse? Getting more and more frustrated with a lack of results and doing the only thing that could make the situation even bleaker….yes….WORKING OUT MORE!
I can’t tell you how many times I get asked the question “IS IT OK IF I TRAIN MY BICEPS EVERY DAY? I CAN’T SEEM TO GET THEM TO GROW BY TRAINING THEM 3 TIMES A WEEK!”. You can insert whatever muscle group you want into that sentence because it doesn’t really matter. The point is, the natural instinct is to go up and do more…when the right action would be to dial it down and do less.
The simple way to tell whether you’re doing too much is to take the “Touch Test”.
If you touch the muscle you’re about to work….say the biceps in this case….is it still sore from the last time you worked it? Can you get that muscle soreness and burning sensation just by touching the muscle? If so, then you’re riding the overtraining train and can be rest assured that you are doing nothing but going backwards down the track. Results are getting further and further away instead of you getting closer and closer to your body transformation goals.
So that said, the best place to start is at the beginning!
Try just working each muscle group one time per week. You can always add a second workout to the mix, but for starters one will do. As a matter of fact, I started with once a week muscle group workouts about 10 years ago and have yet to need to add a second to the schedule! Now consider that and then consider the fact again that most guys are working out the same muscles two, three, four and sometimes even five times a week! No way in hell (provided they are drug free lifters) that their bodies can adapt to these stresses and grow. The only thing they’ll be growing is tired!
Hope this clears up the myths of more is better guys. In the case of workouts, less is best! Stick with this and you will find that change may not be so hard to come by after all!
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