When I was 16 and first started bodybuilding, I thought I needed to lift every single day.
I had also just gotten my first job working 40 hours a week, was in a relationship, and had standard eight hour days in high-school.
Needless to say, most days I was running on about four hours of sleep and a gram or two of caffeine. I thought the answer to my goals was more. 14 hours lifting in the gym a week. More work, less relaxation. More effort, less rest. This extremely inhibited my progress. If anything, I regressed.
It all boils down to, I thought I could out-awesome my body. I lived in a state of stress and even worse, I thought I was doing the right things. No matter who you are, you can’t out-awesome recovery. You can’t ignore stress forever. You don’t get a golden medal for minimal sleep. I’ll never forget reading a Stan Efferding quote that read, “If you’re losing sleep for a cardio session, you’re stepping over hundred dollar bills for pennies.”
We have to approach our health and wellness from a state of nourishment and care, we have to prioritize recovery processes over additional stress. When committing to an exercise program or diet approach, keep that in mind. If you’re someone who works 90 hours a week, you can’t expect to lift 6 days a week. If you’re someone with three kids under the age of 5, you can’t expect 8 hours of sleep a night, and that’s okay.
There’s more important things in life than abs sometimes, and that’s okay! Realistically acknowledge your limitations and play around them so recovery can be accounted for. Trying to out-awesome your body’s needs will only inhibit progress.