When you bring in some rookies into your program, there are a handful of changes you will inevitably see in them. The first is they will change their Facebook profile photo to something involving lifting, causing all of their friends to say “oooh” and “ahhhh”. The second is that their wardrobe tends to change pretty quickly, fitting the activity they take part in. Finally the third, and subject of this article, is the fact that some beginners feel the need to work out multiple times a day, for weeks on end.
I would say this happens to roughly 70% of my new athletes (you know who you are) that I bring in from other training programs. Apparently, it doesn’t matter how demanding my training is, the rookies are always left feeling like they need to do more. I know this feeling because I was the same way when I started. Sometimes beginners feel that they need to catch up to everyone else by training 8-10 times a week, and if they can’t do it at your facility, then will sneak in extra workouts at another facility.
This mentality reminds me of someone who will take a diet pill or starve themselves in order to lose weight quickly. Because these new athletes read that other countries begin training their athletes before they are 10 years old, they feel that they need to make up for lost time. In reality, training 8-10x a week when you first start out is not only unrealistic, you won’t make it very far before crapping out.
Not to say that there isn’t benefits to training twice a day, in fact there are huge benefits to training twice in one day. The caveat to this is the fact that if you have an 8am session and a 3pm session, you aren’t doing two 2-1/2 times the workout each time. Rather, you are taking one large workout and splitting it in half in order to extract the most hormonal and strength benefits. Testosterone levels can drop significantly during periods of multiple sessions-per-day, and are only recovered on recovery and rest days. Training multiple times a day for weeks on end can leave you burnt out and hobbled sooner thank you think. You may feel like nothing can hurt when you first start out and you have a couple weeks under your belt, but it won’t take long for a few weeks of bad sleep and two-a-days to take there toll and leave your joints susceptible to injury.
Some new athletes read that the best lifters in the world train multiple times a day and think “Klokov does 2-3 workouts a day? I should too!”. Well, I think Klokov is on a little different playing field than you are has a little more experience under his belt.
I personally want to train athletes who are willing to follow protocols and programming, not max every day and sneak in workouts when I am not around. This is not a scenario that is unique to any one athlete of mine, and in fact it seems to be almost a part of the growing process for a new athlete. If they do not grow out of this stage, however, then problems will arise. The athlete must understand that patience is necessary for success, especially if you are late to the lifting game.
The time will come for maxing and two-a-days, but that time does not take place when you first start training. Do you coach a big favor and do what they tell you, they have your best interest at heart and want to see you go as far as possible.
Poliquin, Charles: Doubling Up for Success
Pendlay, Glenn: A Training System for Beginning Olympic Weightlifters