One of the most motivating things to do when you embark on a weight-loss journey is visualise your life in the future, complete with your increased energy levels, crazy athleticism, and supersculpted muscles. While forward thinking is a great motivational tool, it can also be a double-edged sword, because the idea of our goals being far in the future can make us want to expedite the process. One of the most damaging ways this belief manifests itself is through overtraining.
At a recent launch for Clif Bar's latest offerings, Courtney Pruce, PT and owner of personal training studio one2onelondon, mentioned that contrary to what you may think, less is more when you're starting out on a fitness journey, especially if you're strength training with the addition of weights. She explained, "Overtraining and avoiding rest days can seriously impair your recovery, whereby not only are you putting yourself at risk of injury, illness, and fatigue, you're actually less likely to progress the way you set out to as you're not allowing your muscles or central nervous system any time to recover properly."
Although burnout can happen with any type of training style, if you decide to lose weight through strength training rather than cardio, it's especially important to pace yourself, according to Courtney: "if you don't allow your muscles enough time to recover in between sessions, not only are you always going to feel slightly sore and underenergised, you're less likely to progress your weights and reps, as you will never be able to give 100 percent effort to each training session."
Overtraining doesn't just impact you physically; giving your all and then experiencing burnout "can lead to lack of progression and improvement (which is detrimental to your mental motivation and, therefore, is ultimately going to affect your long-term goals." If you're a fitness beginner and this all-or-nothing mindset sounds familiar, Courtney's advise is pretty clear: "Whatever your goal is, whether it's to be leaner, stronger, fitter, or faster, failure to allow yourself adequate time to rest and recover is going to constantly lead you to take five steps back for every three you take forward. Stop training more and just start training smarter!"