To train or not to train this is the question?

To train or not to train this is the question?

Have you ever seen yourself or a gym buddy slave away in the iron room only to find that progress starts to stall and motivation starts to lower? Weight training is a process of loading our anatomical structures with external loads whilst controlling internal forces, progressive programming allows for positive adaptation to occur allowing you to grow muscle and become stronger, however, destructive planning may be holding you back!

Muscle is controlled by complex processes ranging from neurological, physiological and biochemical processes. Exertion or effort is achieved by recruiting a great deal of sympathetic reaction during our onslaught in the gym, this, in essence, may be beneficial when the state of our autonomic nervous system is in balance with both sympathetic (catabolic) and parasympathetic (anabolic) responses. From sleep impairment to bowel dysfunction, training too often or with excessive intensity can lead to a state of sympathetic dominance.

Sympathetic dominance is no joke. Symptoms of fatigue, depression and even anxiety are often noticed through excessive use of our sympathetic systems. In order to reset the clock so that our efforts may be warranted with an optimal return, we need to also look into recovery strategies that not only settle the tone of our tissues but the state of our minds too.

Restorative exercise such as yoga, pilates and or low-intensity cardiovascular training may be of great benefit to a hypertrophy protocol. Through the use of low-intensity movements, our bodies encourage optimal blood flow, allowing metabolites (that accumulate through muscle breakdown) to be metabolised. In short restorative training will not only reduce the amount of perceived pain to an area within the body but also optimise our energy systems to the point of optimal production of ATP and acetylcholine release. ATP and acetylcholine are synonymous within the action both have toward muscle contraction, an increase in efficiency of production leads one to not only train better but feel better psychologically.

Acetylcholine is truly an integral component between the balance of sympathetic and parasympathetic dominance. Through an increase of Acetylcholine release, our physiology actually reduces the required stress our cardiovascular systems are put through for the purpose of ATP production toward increased skeletal muscle contraction. In short backing off the weights when your feeling low or demotivated and opting for functional (multiplane) cardiovascular training may go a long way toward restoring optimal psychology in the gym.

Progress is never linear and as such in order to fully achieve your goals, one must consider the state in which the body may be in, both physiologically and psychologically. Just as any high performing engine needs time for a service so too should every athlete consider time for recovery.