We all love to train, but when is it too much? We are often unaware of when our bodies require rest and recovery. It is important to stay active and work towards our goals, but how can we determine when enough is enough?
Training should correspond with goals. For example, if I have set a goal to lift a certain amount of weight (e.g. deadlift), I will ensure I am training especially for that movement up to 2-3 times per week depending on the time frame for achieving that goal. This is a significant amount of load on the body per week. However, if I set my goal for roughly 4-5 months’ time, I can ease off overloading and help prevent any injury or early fatigue that could affect my end result. In order to this, I would start light and build up to heavier loads over time. This example can be used in many different scenarios to determine how often we should train.
How can I tell when I need to rest?
Ideally when you are experiencing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness that usually occurs one to two days after training) it is a good idea to have a rest day. Too much stress on muscles and joints can cause injury, so when you are experiencing DOMS it is wise to take a break.
Should I train through ‘DOMS’?
No. Below I have listed three different levels of athleticism with some advice on how often to train. See which one relates to you and if in doubt, talk to your coach.
- Beginner: new to fitness, low experience with exercise. Train 2-3 times per week.
2. Intermediate: somewhat experienced in sports and exercise, up to 1-2+ years. Train up to 3-4 times per week.
3. Advanced/competitive athlete: 4 years+ experience or a competitive athlete. 5 or 5+ times per week.
These guidelines are not absolute, but I do hope they help if you are unsure how often to train. Of course our lifestyles also factor in to how often we can exercise. It may be a one on/one off type of routine or a completely random routine each week. Whatever the routine, always keep in your goals in mind and how important they are to you. More is not always better; intensity is. Rest well.