“7 days unlimited workouts” “Hell week” “X amount of credits for first timers, but must be used within 7 days”
Recently it seems that we are constantly surrounded and encouraged by studios to overtrain and under recover, and the problem seems to be even worse within the Central London boutique fitness world.
I am very lucky (AND proud) to now be working with two of the best (in my opinion) studios for indoor cycling in London (places that I was a huge fan of before I ever dreamed I would be employed as an instructor there) who offer these kinds of deals. I get why. They increase footfall, recruit new members, increase brand awareness and can be lucrative for both studios AND instructors, who are generally paid more as their classes attendance increases. I have personally financially benefited from this.
But, as a fitness professional, I am starting to become more and more concerned with over training. I’m seeing far too many people regularly complete classes back to back (e.g. a bootcamp style class followed straight away by a cycle style class) or morning AND evening gym sessions. Horrendous hashtags like #norestdays and #restdayssuck on Instagram do nothing but fuel the myth that rest is for the weak, not the sensible, and if you aren’t #grinding every.single.day then are you even training? The basic concept of quality not quantity of workouts seems to be all but lost. For me- completing a few solid workouts, or working to your best effort in a few classes per week will provide you with far more benefit that multiple sessions that you aren’t able to perform to your best in, because you are simply burnt out.
As well as for class participants, overtraining is also an issue for instructors. I, like many cycle instructors, can be teaching multiple classes per week- sometimes back to back, or several over the course of just a few days, as well as fitting in my own training sessions. The problem is- some participants will see this across social media and think “well, they take loads of classes so I can too” Firstly, it’s important to note that (I hope- this applies to me anyway) cycle instructors are NOT treating the class they are teaching you as their workout. They won’t have their resistance as high as you, and they will hopefully be taking short breaks on/off the bike to coach you correctly. (A studio I taught at previously actively discouraged instructors doing this, which is a huge part of why I am no longer with that studio) Instructors are generally self-employed, so taking time off can of course cost money, but I do think as fitness professionals we need to start setting a better example and start sharing our recovery and rest days more, as well as encouraging our class participants to understand the importance of rest.
So, here’s how I would advise my PT clients who fancied embarking on a studio style “challenge week” Do them, have fun. BUT- important- for the following week please DO NOT expect to just keep cracking on with your usual workouts. Schedule a taper week, substitute workouts for some longer stretching and recovery sessions (Romwood are BRILL for stretching programmes) and start to remember what life felt like before you had those DOMS every day.
Essentially- train well. Quality over quantity. Train because it makes you stronger, happier, and/or brings you closer to YOUR goals, whatever they may be. But remember that rest is SO vitally important- your 80-year-old, healthy and injury free self will thank you for it because, #norestdays doesn’t look quite so Instagram-able after that double knee replacement.
Ps- If #domseveryday is a hashtag on Instagram I’m leaving the planet