Intervals on Tuesday, Chest and Back on Thursdays
Training plans are a dime a dozen. They are a staple of any fitness magazine and found all over the internet.
Everyone claims to have the best program with best science and experience that proves their special arrangement of exercises and intensity plus recovery is going work for you better than any other plan.
Some have fancy math formulas that consider your past performance to create a personalized weekly plan for you.
Some produce better results than others, especially those that are conservative with intensity and generous with rest.
Trouble is, all of them are based on guess work; even the ones using research derived formulas.
What!? Using a scientific formula isn't guess work! It's science!
Sure, the formula is based on research, that's the science part. But it's still a prediction, that's the guessing part.
Really exercise intensity for the day ought to based on your actual recovery state for the day.
The day you are the most recovered is the best day to go harder. The days you are fatigued are the best days to take a break or go easier.
You can plan in advance to a large degree, but always be prepared to change your training for the day if you are fatigued.
For instance if you train hard one day, you can predict that the next day you won't train hard so you can recover. After a few weeks you'll recognize how long it takes you to feel strong again after a hard workout. You can use this experience to more accurately predict how a given week of exercise will be planned in the immediate future.
But beware, our fatigue and recovery cycle is not governed by days of the week, but rather by complex physiologic processes, sleep pattern, nutrition, and other variables that are not yet well understood.
Your best bet is test your resting heart rate in the morning as well as working on increasing your sensitivity to how you feel physically.
The days your resting heart rate is higher than normal are usually days you are fatigued. If you are stiff and sore and feeling sluggish you are definitely fatigued- take these days off. If a weight feels heavier than usual, your running or cycling pace feels harder than usual, or any exercise you do has you feeling sub-par, stop the workout and relax. Do something else with your day that does not involve hard exercise.
Good day to see the massage therapist, limit exercise to relaxing stretching or going for a walk.
Not a good day to go to that high intensity spin class, go hard in the gym, or attend a regular sports practice.
This is hard for many people to do as a sense of reward is attached to harder exercise. Many feel uneasy if not guilty and anxious about moving their hard workout further down the week or eliminating it for a week.
Rest assured: taking a break when fatigued allows for better performance. When fatigued more exercise simply makes you more fatigued. Taking a break when fatigued allows for adaptation that makes you more fit.
Doing nothing makes you more fit :-)