In my field, I get this question on a daily basis. Why do we need to rest so much between workouts? Why do we only workout together once a week? My answer is generally, “Let’s try one full workout and if you still want to do this more than once a week, I’m game!”. 99.9% of the time, guess what happens?
The reason that most of my clients see me once every five to seven days instead of multiple times per week is because their bodies instinctively know that they need to rest and recover before getting another high-intensity session.
Without getting too “science-y”, here’s why: Imagine you have a cut on your finger. What happens? More often than not, you bleed, it stops, a scab forms, the scab falls off, you grow new skin, and your finger finally looks normal. That process of recovery does not happen overnight. It’s takes a few days and sometimes even a week to fully having your finger looking primo again.
On the other hand, when you mess with the scab and it falls off you are interrupting the process of recovery and you have to start the cycle all over again (I might be guilty of doing this once in a while!). When you do a high-intensity slow burn workout you get microscopic tears in your muscles which is what causes soreness. If you workout without significant rest, it’s similar to picking at the scab and interrupting the process of recovery.
When you exercising on sore muscles that are not fully recovered, the muscles that are weak will “ask for some help”, and other muscles that are not meant to work will come over-compensate, causing an increase in exercise related injuries.
So there you have it, the reason why my high intensity workouts are 30 minutes, once a week. Take a few days between workouts and you will feel stronger and ready to tackle the next one. But can you handle it? There’s only one way to find out!