What is Compensation Training?
A term I just made up! It is something I witness week in and week out – people who have been on holiday, a boozy weekend, injured or a patch of bad food choices going ALL IN on training at the gym and unintentionally overtraining.
Is it bad?
Well it ain’t good! This is a slippery slope to head down and, after say a holiday, can leave people open for injury, illness or just simply a slight degradation in their ability to adapt to training stimuli in the future in the gym, or in terms of body composition.
What does that mean?
Simply put. If you were a bit over indulgent on holiday, or have had a break from the gym, you need to accept it and move on! If you go really really hard in training when you get back to the gym, you are going to end up in a worse state than you were after the holiday or break.
The body sees excessive training and a holiday or weekend of excess (booze, lack of sleep or poor food – or all three) as stressors. Too many stressors into the pot at once and you end up with a body that just won’t respond to the work you do in the gym or the kitchen long term!! Do it too many times and you end up in a bit of a pickle.
What should we do in the gym instead?
Don’t punish yourself. Learn to see a naughty break as something you need to recover from. I would personally come back into the gym and training at a reduced volume. So maybe you were hitting the gym six times a week before holiday…on that first week back go three to four times and just tone down how hard you work.
Focus on good sleep habits, quality nutritional intake (don’t starve yourself or push yourself into a deficit – just another stressor) and building back into the old gym habits.
After poor food, alcohol and poor sleep the body will be inflamed! Heavy training and calorie deficits are a quick way to increase systemic stress and inflammation.
Last week, I went out with mates to watch the football on a Sunday afternoon. Beer was had, sleep was poor that night. Next day, I still trained, but I started the day with some REALLY easy aerobic work for 30-40 minutes. Lots of good food and water. Then I trained at probably 65-75% intensity in the afternoon. Next day I was back into normal training.
If it had been four or five days of football and beers with no sleep, this would have been a much longer recovery process!
It is tough but you literally can not escape the reality of human adaptation and physiology. If you do the damage you have to spend the time recovering from it, not just punishing the body further.
If you do, you will pay the price somewhere down the line.