Two Golden Rules for Training
The human body is a very complex machine. Obtaining optimal results in a minimum amount of time is not an easy task. This is why training must be well-planned and respect the limits of the body.
1. Overcompensation principle
Being able to achieve the same effort with more ease, or more effort with the same level of muscle fatigue on the days following a workout, that’s what overcompensation is. First, training puts a stress on the organism and results in muscle fatigue. Then, the body recovers in order to increase its capacity in prediction of the next time it will encounter the same stress. So overcompensation means getting better each time.
To overcompensate, it is necessary to train on the days that our body is in its best shape and our capacities at their maximum. Thus, we become better over time and get faster results. Otherwise, we only maintain what we already have.
Let’s use an example. You perform a very strenuous upper body workout on Monday. According to your program, you should repeat the same exercises on Wednesday, but your upper body is extremely sore. What should you do? First, to overcompensate, it would be better to postpone this workout and work other muscles. There are then only two possibilities left: to increase rest time between workouts, or to lower your upper body workload. In every case, a personal trainer will know how to guide you more accurately.
2. Recovery principle
To get all the benefits of exercise, it is essential to take the time to recover properly between workouts. Thus, we get significant gains (overcompensation). On the contrary, an inadequate recovery can lead to overtraining (decompensation).
In a weight loss process, the ideal is to move more, and eat better. Recovery is then very important if we want to be able to train efficiently, and pacing your effort becomes essential. For example, in the beginning we can alternate hard workouts with easier ones to avoid an excess of muscle fatigue. Also, a proper pre-workout nutrition and a nutritious post-workout snack will help you recover and prevent overtraining. For more information, see the article Pre and Post-Workout Meals: A Must.
By Mathieu Rousseau
– Costill, D., Wilmore, J. Physiologie du sport et de l’exercice (3e édition). Bruxelles : Éditions De Boeck Université, 2006.