Challenging workouts are more effective than easy workouts for stimulating fat loss and improving fitness, but that doesn’t mean you should do them all the time. In addition to challenging workouts, you should also incorporate recovery workouts into your exercise program, if you really want to maximize your overall health and fitness benefits.
If you always perform challenging workouts, especially with heavy weights, you can put too much cumulative stress on your body and over time you will have trouble recovering adequately between workouts. If your body cannot fully recover, you will eventually experience a multitude of negative effects including burnout, overtraining symptoms, muscle and joint pain, or injury.
The end result is your workouts will make you run down, stiff, or sore and your progress stalls. In other words, you will feel worse and experience few if any positive results from your training. It is also important to note that doing too many challenging workouts is not the only way to wear down your body over time.
Poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and stress, all play large roles in limiting your body’s ability to recover between workouts. Even if workouts are not excessively challenging for your ability level, your body can still have problems recovering from exercise if there are other significant stressors in your life.
This is where recovery workouts come in. Recovery workouts are designed specifically to enhance your body’s ability to recuperate and generally improve the way you feel. They will not necessarily create significant improvements in overall fitness or greatly improve fat loss, but they do something just as important.
In a sense, they don’t really need to be thought of as workouts at all, but rather activities to rejuvenate your muscles and joints, as well as the rest of your body. Recovery workouts essentially allow your body to be fully prepared for future challenging workouts that do significantly impact your results.
In some ways, health and fitness is like the stock market, meaning your body has many ups and downs and the key to long-term success is maximizing your good days and minimizing your bad ones. Constant challenging workouts will eventually cause your body to become run down until you feel worse on a day-to-day basis.
If you keep pushing yourself, you may even have to stop exercising altogether, at least until your body has the needed time to recover and repair itself. By pushing your body when you actually need rest, you essentially just increase your number of bad days and delay the time it takes to rebound and make further progress.
On days where you don’t feel well, you should switch your normal workout with a recovery one, or you can regularly schedule recovery workouts into your exercise routine. This prevents you from experiencing extended periods of fatigue and poor workouts and allows you to perform challenging and effective workouts with higher frequency, which leads to better long-term results.
Perhaps most importantly, recovery workouts help you maintain a healthy body that feels good day in and day out, which should really be the main reason for exercising in the first place.