Archive for August, 2012

When to skip a workout


So, you’re a dieted down person like me or you are somebody whose goal is fat loss or what have you who has an average job like everyone else yet too tired to do your regular exercise routine. The question is, when to validly skip a workout? My personal experience made me ask myself this question and I’m going to give a contextual answer based on my personal experience since I’m an average Joe with an average job and not someone who has “all the time to train in the gym” like the typical fitness guru who never had an average job outside the gym.

I work double jobs at the moment which equates to two eight-hour shifts on the average which is one during the nights(11pm – 7am) and during the morning which is 7am – 3pm but I am still able to train consistently. I aim for at least three times a week workout session or every other day especially when my goal is fat loss or maintenance but in my experience, training for four times a week training frequency if possible is optimal for me if my goal is to add some muscle mass but I don’t train when I’m working double shifts since during these days, my body needs rest/ sleep more than anything else. In my opinion, that is one scenario where you may really have to skip your exercise routine. Just move it on the next day. If you are worried about the calorie burn, simply adjust your diet accordingly such as minimizing your carbohydrates intake that day. Lyle McDonald wrote an excellent article with regards to how many carbohydrates do we really need based on our lifestyle, goal and activity levels. There is no magical numbers when it comes to carbohydrate needs. It highly varies per person to person. Now, if you’re wondering if why carbs typically becomes the easily dispensable nutrient, this is simply due to carbs’ role on physiology which makes it a non-essential nutrient that’s why it’s simply ideal to create the calorie deficit dietary wise from carbs but of course, this again depends on specific context of scenario.

Learn to listen to your body sometimes

I said sometimes above because if I keep on listening to what my body tells me to do, I’d quit doing my workout because for a dieted down person like me, in my observation, if you used to be fat before, you probably developed a higher set point which tells your body that you’re in danger once you become leaner than your actual set point which may affect your behavior to expend more calories through activities or exercise or through increasing your appetite while decreasing food satiety dietary wise or both that’s why I said to just listen to your body sometimes. When is this sometimes then? In my experience, this is when you’re feeling really sleepy, lethargic, experiencing muscular pain or body ache. I’m not an expert by any means but these symptoms are often signs that your body probably really needs rest because it hasn’t recuperate itself yet from the previous workout session especially when you’re on a hypocaloric diet(or decreased calorie diet for fat loss). Your body’s ability to recover is poor at best at this point. While some may say to simply increase the calorie intake and then simply aim to burn more through increasing activities, the positive effects of rest and sleep when it comes to fitness is simply underrated. And also, ask this question to yourself for you to really gauge whether you should train on that specific day or not:

If I train today, would I be able to train productively or not?

When I say productive, I simply meant being able to maintain the workout intensity, be able to do my lifts safely without injuring myself or if will I be able to feel good after the workout. Yes, a good workout is supposed to make us feel good, not to make us feel like shit. Experiencing some body aches may be a sign of muscular weakness which means that the primary movers for compound lifts hasn’t recovered yet therefore, the risk on getting injured increases because when the larger muscles fail, smaller muscle groups try to compensate in this context. Just like what I’ve said earlier above, don’t feel guilty when this happens because we can always compensate the potential calorie burn from decreasing our energy intake instead especially if your goal is fat loss.

Results are a matter of being consistent to diet or training or both and skipping a workout to get adequate rest can sometimes be more beneficial rather than be detrimental to our expected results. If you get ourselves injured, we’re simply not going to be able to train at all.