Another common error that people make wth exercise, (actually with many things) is to assume that if a little of something is good, than more will be even better.
In fact, you need to find a balance between catabolism (breaking down) and anabolism (building back up). There are two sides to the equation: working out and recovering from the workout.
Dr. Doug McGuff, author of Body by Science has written an excellent article about the “dose-response” relationship of exercise. He uses the analogy of a “therapeutic window”. This concept is used in pharmacology, when discussing that a given drug, below a certain dosage is ineffective, above a certain dosage is toxic, and that somewhere in between there is a “window” which is the proper dosage.
In exercise, variables that can be manipulated are volume (how much exercise you actually do), frequency (how often) and intensity (degree of effort). Because our programs use high intensity, volume and frequency are reduced to allow the body sufficient time to recover.
What is referred to as “recovery ability” is your body’s ability to adapt to stress, of which exercise is only one example. It can also come from your work, your relationships, sleep deprivation, illness etc, and in fact, “recovery ability” is very closely linked to your immune system.
The latest research shows that we need far less exercise than once thought, (although Nautilus inventor, Arthur Jones was saying this in the early seventies) and in fact Martin Gibala of McMaster University has conducted extensive research validating this, and has actually published a book called “The One Minute Workout”.
It will vary between different individuals, and by monitoring the progress of your body composition we will adjust accordingly to find the optimum balance of volume, intensity and frequency for you, taking into account other stressors in your life, and of course, your schedule.