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Lack of results is a major reason people stop using a trainer, and the fault may be because we are overtraining them. We all know that a good workout plan should have a combination of aerobic and anaerobic (i.e. strength) training. A good rule of thumb, for most people, is about a 50/50 split, but that depends on their goals, their level of conditioning and the specific type of training that is being targeted.


When we overtrain, we hamper the bodys ability to release growth hormones, including testosterone, IGF-1 and DHEA. The overproduction of the stress hormones, cortisol, adrenaline (epinephrine) and norepinephrine limit growth hormone production.


We oftentimes think that exercise is stress-reducing, but it really is a double-edged sword. Low intensity training (walking) is truly stress-reducing for almost everyone. A high-intensity jog, spin, aerobic or boxing class may help you de-stress mentally, but the higher the intensity of the workout, the more stress hormones are produced.


Aerobic Exercise Not Truly Aerobic

Aerobic exercise, exercise with oxygen,is stress-reducing and triggers aerobic metabolism. As the intensity of the walk, jog, swim, cycle, etc. increases, the available oxygen decreases and suddenly causes the aerobic activity to trigger anaerobic metabolism, which is stress-producing.


This is one of the biggest reasons clients hit a plateau; they unknowingly overtrain! We think we have them on some type of balanced workout of aerobic and anaerobic workout routine throughout the week, but the facts could be that we are having them do their aerobic workout at too high of an intensity level, such that we are triggering anaerobic metabolism.


Egos Get in the Way

Anaerobic strength training should be intense, but aerobic training should be at a low to moderate intensity so that aerobic metabolism is activated. I have clients and patients telling me they do their aerobic workout at 80-85% of their maximum heart rate, which would be fine if they were an upper level or elite runner. But most of them are not, which means they should be keeping their heart rate at 70% or lower of their maximum heart rate when they do their aerobic workout.


A difficult thing for some people to understand is that you dont need to kill yourself when you are doing a good aerobic workout. The more difficult thing is to get them to slow down or lower their intensity when they do aerobic exercise.


If your client has been stuck on a certain weight and is struggling with other nagging issues, such as fatigue, allergies, high blood pressure, joint pain, digestive difficulties, cravings, mood swings or PMS, it could be another sign that their body is over-stressed. Remember, exercise is a form of stress. Strength training and activities that trigger anaerobic metabolism cause an increase of stress hormones, which can eventually lead to adrenal burnout and exhaustion.


A Simple Rule of Thumb

I ask my clients and patients this question: After you finish your 20, 40 or 60 minutes of whatever, could you repeat the exact same workout at that moment? If they say, No way, spent,that is an obvious sign that they are not staying aerobic because they should be able to do true aerobic activity for an extended period of time. If they can easily say,Yes, I can repeat that workout without a problem,