This post is in response to a question I posed on a previous thread
and an awesome answer from James.
Here it goes:
So I've largely adopted Mark Sisson's exercise reccomendations (i.e. about 2x week intense resistance training, sprint occasionally, play and relax the rest of the time).
This has been an incredibly sane and enjoyable transition from high school days as a long distance swimmer (crazy intense 2.5 hr aerobic workouts 6xweek*...though I do miss my endless lung capacity...I used to be able to snack on 50yd underwater swims) and my quality of life has improved a ton.
Instead of lifting religiously 2x a week, what about lifting/doing an intense resistance workout and NOT engaging in another lifting session/resistance workout again until soreness from the previous workout has subsided and been gone for at least a day or two?
I.e. NEVER workout** MORE than 2x week, but be willing to workout significantly less than that as dictated by body feel/soreness levels.
Is there any benefit to working out religiously 2x week?
Are there any disadvantages to only working out intensely when you no longer feel sore, even say only engaging in intense workouts 1x week or even less (gasp!)?
Since applying Paleo principles I'm starting to realize that in so many situations, less is often more (little bit of a trope but I think you get the idea).
Does anyone workout this way?
has anyone tried experimenting with working out 2x/week, but one workout focused on max strength and the second focused more on flexibility, speed-strength (to borrow some ross terminology) and mobility, i.e.
workout a: standard 5x5/bbs/push-pull-legs high weight low reps business
workout b: high speed circuits employing a wide variety of exercises that require large range of movement using bodyweight and light weights/odd objects (sandbags etc.)
The one thing I maybe loved the most about simple 5x5 2x/week was its simplicity....oh well....I'm tired of being too bulky, stiff and sore....
*I can definitely personally attest to the negative impacts of this type of training. After four years of this, yes my endurance was NUTS (could bound up long flights of stairs, never ever winded except under extreme efforts) but at the same time suffered from sleeplessness, irritability, bouts of depression and an overall too-intense mindset.
**by 'workout' I mean high-intensity workout and am not talking about play/low intensity activities that sisson advocates like dance, walking, hiking, whatever. obviously still applies: never be afraid to rest/sleep alot.
Unfortunately, I don't think you can really get the answer you're looking for. I've seen a whole heck'uve a lot of different variations out there. Tons of different methodologies and reasons for them. A lot of them seem to be conflicting or ill defined, and it really depends on your goals to determine which is "right" and which is "wrong" for you (and whether you trust the "guru" that gives the advice. I try to stick with the science where possible, but the last arbiter is your body and your goals.
Example, soreness. General rule of thumb is if you are overly sore, you don't exercise. Your muscles are damaged and need to heal. You're just compounding the damage if you exercise, plus flirting with possible injuries (torn muscles, dropped weights, etc).
However, if you're just sore, you can work through it (lighter weights, not so hard), and it can be beneficial because it increases blood flow, getting nutrients to the muscles.
Sounds great right? But what is "sore" and what is "overly sore"?
Also, I recall reading a theory that exercising hard while "overly sore" could actually induce greater muscle gain. The idea being the body knows it's damaged, and the extra exercise brings extra demand on the muscles and tell the body to grow more to compensate.
I haven't seen any studies on whether or not this really happens though.
Now, whether or not you'd want to try this depends on your goals (cost/benefit). If you're working to attend a bodybuilding competition, looking for every edge you can get, you're probably more willing to deal with the pain and possible injuries than you would be if you're just trying to get fit.
You should take a look at Body By Science by Doug McGuff and John Little, which specifically addresses the question of workout frequency. (Spoiler: their answer, backed up by a ton of experimentation and science, is that working out more than once per 7 to 10 days is actually a waste of time, and can sometimes be counter-productive.) I don't think the book is aimed at body builders or hard-core weight lifters, just Regular People, but it's a very, very interesting book that may change your outlook toward lifting.
It's also a paleo-friendly book, and was discussed here 10 months ago.
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