Workout Less for Better Results

If you’re an AcaciaTV subscriber or a frequent reader of this blog, you’re one of the lucky ones who has access to all the tools you need to get fit – no matter your workout preferences and time or space constraints.

3 Instant Exercise Rut Busters

The BOSU: How To Use That Half Ball Thingy

When Rest is What You Need

But even with all these tools at your fingertips, it’s possible that your hard work could be in vain if you forget the most critical factor for improved health and fitness: Recovery.

When I first started working out regularly, I fell into the “more is more” trap, thinking that if 4 days per week of working out gives me these amazing results then 6 days would be even better. Yeah, no. It didn’t take long for me to see the flaw in that logic and suffer the consequences.

So I’m here to remind you that it’s unlikely you’ll see the results you’re hoping for if you don’t allow adequate time for recovery in the forms of both rest and sleep.

I’ll explain.

Rest Is Necessary For Healing

When you work out, you apply stress to your body which can be quite traumatic for the joints, muscles, and connective tissues at the cellular level. Bones and soft tissue need time to repair the damage caused by this trauma.

If you allow adequate rest time, your body repairs itself and comes back stronger and better equipped to handle the stress of the next workout.

On the other hand, if you don’t allow sufficient rest time between workouts, your body – in a weakened state and still trying to repair the previous damage – isn’t as able to absorb the stress. The result? Your body begins to break down rather than get stronger.

Rest Makes You Better

During any given workout, your body has access to certain number of resources (i.e. blood and oxygen) provided by certain body systems (i.e. our heart and lungs) their current efficiency level.

So think about it this way – the workouts themselves are resource-consumers and alone will do almost nothing to improve the overall function and efficiency of the body systems responsible for delivering these essential resources.

However, after the workout when your body is at rest, these systems are normalizing and being replenished and also becoming stronger and more efficient at delivering the resources needed to power through that next Hip Hop Cardio Calorie Burner with Amanda Young or Calorie Explosion Power with Gerren Liles.

Rest Is Non-Negotiable

Studies have shown that, over time, inadequate rest can raise cortisol levels and this hormone is primarily responsible for breaking down muscle.  Yikes!

But wait…there’s more. Get yourself into unrested territory and you can expect a laundry list of other issues to arise to hinder your results and tank your overall health such as elevated cholesterol, decreased metabolism, higher fat storage, and impaired immune system function.

Sleep Is Your Bestie

I truly mean that. It’s your BFF. No sleep, no gain! Here’s a few reasons why:

  • Sleep reduces the muscle-destroying effects of cortisol and allows the release of growth hormones which are critical for muscle building. Conversely, the hormonal effect of sleep deprivation triggers muscle loss and fat gain. Not exactly the result you were going for, is it?
  • Sleep has a massive impact on your diet and how much you move. Think about it – the last time you were sleep deprived, can you honestly say that you had the urge to “eat less and move more”.
  • When’s the last time you saw a sleep deprived person “give it their all” during those tough workouts? Like…never, right?
  • When you’re sleep-deprived, you overproduce hunger hormones, leading to “empty stomach” feelings and the triggering of the body’s starvation response of slower metabolism to conserve calories and increased fat storage.

Without sufficient rest, your results may plateau, your performance may decrease, or – even worse – you may end up injured. Save yourself the trouble of finding out the hard way. Get some rest!

What’s your recovery protocol? I’d love to hear about it. Share it on Twitter or Instagram.