Earlier today, a client of mine, or rather the mother of a client of mine complained that the workouts I was giving her son was a little too short for her liking. I tried to explain to her as best I can my methods and how new research suggests that the optimal time to exercise is around 30-45 minutes because of numerous reasons (decreased brain activity after 45 mins, excess muscular fatigue, etc..) but she wasn’t buying it. I realized then that the prevalent thinking was still “more time = more results”. That’s a very old school way of thinking.
Aside from the total training time you need, one thing that also bugs me is how some people think that rest is for the weak. No. This is so far from the truth and in fact, forgetting to follow this basic principle of exercise might get you injured in the long run.
A lot of research has been done on the affects of fatigue and sleep deprivation on your training. In truth, it should be fairly simple. As you get tired, the quality of your workout suffers. That’s why you do the most complex exercises to start so that form isn’t suffering.
Another reason you might want to rest up is that excess fatigue and lack of sleep has been shown to increase the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in your system. Cortisol is a bad hormone for weight loss because it increases your appetite and increases fat stores specifically in your gut, you know, where you least want it.
I’m not saying though that you should stop working hard, in fact, you should work as hard as you can on those days when you DO train and try to rest as much on those days that you DON’T.
Here’s a tip, try to plan your training week ahead of time. Doing so will not only assure that you get enough rest but will also give you a guide on what you have to do for that specific day in the week. Aim at about 2-4 total training days per week. Once you’ve done this, try to stick to it as much as you can and be strict about your rest days as well.