Are You Getting Better or Just Getting Tired?

Portrait of a tired young female resting after jogging on bright background

So, you workout. You’re serious about your workouts and you work hard. You never miss a workout. Rain or snow or shine, holiday or birthday, weekday or weekend, you are at the gym pushing yourself as hard as you can. Other people recognize your commitment and hard work and it makes you feel good, makes you push hard even on days when you don’t feel 100%.

But here’s a question for you. Are you getting better or just getting tired?

Make no mistake about it; just because you work hard doesn’t mean you are materially improving. Just because you have nothing in your tank at the end of a workout doesn’t mean you are experiencing development in any meaningful way. The human body is an amazing machine and is capable of performing a great deal of work, but being able to do this work is not always a positive thing, and does not mean you are getting yourself in shape. Your body doesn’t recognize intent, so if you’re beating up yourself in the gym or on a crab boat in the Bering Sea, it matters not. You can wear down and do harm to yourself despite your best intentions.

Make no mistake about it, wearing yourself down and beating yourself up is not getting in shape. Being able to spend hours and hours in the gym doesn’t prepare you to do anything – endure anything – but spending hours and hours in the gym. The body doesn’t grow – improve – as a result of constant work. It grows as a result of a combination of quality work and rest, and the older we get the more rest we need.

In many cases, it’s not more and more exercise, but less and better exercise, and more rest. Quality over quantity. High-volume/low-intensity work that can be done everyday isn’t worth much. If it gives you a sense of accomplishment to spend hours in the gym everyday, that’s about all it will do for you.

So evaluate your workouts. If you are always at the gym, spending hours to finish workouts, and constantly pushing to do more, it might be time to back off. You might be doing good stuff, but doing too much of it.

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