Diet & Exercise: Getting fit is like having a pie with three equal slices

Published 3:04 pm Thursday, November 2, 2017

One of my duties as a master personal trainer is to help motivate folks to make healthy changes to their bodies. There are, however, times when too much motivation might work against you. Many people still feel that, “Hey, if I’m getting good results with some fitness training, I’ll get great results if I train even more.” I’ve even known personal trainers, who knew better, to over train.

So just what is over training? Over training is a condition where one’s exercise behavior exceeds their ability to recover. There are two ways individuals over train. They either work out too much per day, or they train too many times a week.

Some of the symptoms of training too much include pain in muscles and joints, washed out tired feeling, headache, insomnia and even loss of interest in working out at all.

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Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have clients who are enthusiastic about their workouts, but over training can be a real problem. When you over use your muscles, you paint yourself into a corner. The only way to make more progress is to train more, but if you train more, you’ll hurt yourself.

What I tell my clients is that getting fit is like having a pie with three equal slices: rest, exercise, and nutrition. If any one piece of the pie is too big, the other pieces become too small. In other words, your fitness recipe won’t come out the way you wish.

Rest is actually what ties everything in your fitness program together. I also tell clients not to think of time out of the gym as passive, but as an active part of their routine.

Another trap not to fall into is the “I train those extra days because I really enjoy it.” It’s still over training.

Now, that we know what over training is, what can we do about it? First, be patient. Remember everyone’s different, and everyone’s body reacts to exercise at its own speed. If you’re a beginner, start slowly. Even if you’re advanced, more is not always better in the weight room. Muscles don’t tone and tighten while you’re working out, but hours later while you’re resting.

Remember, whether you are a beginning or advanced exerciser, make sure you rest at least 24-48 hours between workouts involving like muscle groups. I recommend anyone who is over training, whether beginner, intermediate, or expert to, twice a year, take an entire week of training off. I tell folks of all fitness levels, “Sometimes, you have to take one step back, to go two steps forward.”

Diet or exercise question? Email me at or text at 864-494-6215. David Crocker of Landrum has been a master personal trainer and nutritionist for 29 years.