Aside from my poor genetics, high body fat, poor fitness, Social Anxiety, bad sleeping patterns, and poverty I can not determine the correct approach to measuring recovery between workouts. Albeit I have no fixed workout program I do workout at least every week, and have only been gradually getting weaker and slower. I wanted to know if there's some key methods to finding recovery periods effectively, because I have tried "listening to my body" and, to be honest, it doesn't tell me the indefinite truth. I have taken heed to initiate workouts when feeling fresh to suffer from delayed onset soreness right after, and intense pain. I was then instructed to lay low on exercise for a week longer, making me even weaker once again. Point is my body isn't signalling right, or I am lost here. I never find my place in measuring recovery time, often suffer from muslce pain and delayed soreness for many days, and end up weaker instead of stronger, or get a little stronger too fall back and get weaker again.

I have never in the years I have worked out successively gotten stronger on a linear basis, and most of my rare gains came up and went down very quickly. I am not denying ever being strong in some sense, but my issue is that I never could keep what I had, and what I had was nothing overall as good as I had hoped for.

What am I doing wrong?

  • 3
    I don't see how anyone could answer this without knowing at least when and what you work out. If you edit the question to include days, exercises, sets, reps, or even just an overview of what you do (even if it changes every week), it would give us a chance to take a swing at your issue. – Dave Liepmann Oct 3 '13 at 7:43
  • From all your questions here it sounds like you are trying too hard, get sore and lose interest working out for too long. Instead you should try to get used to exercising at least two times a week without pushing yourself beyond your limits. – Baarn Oct 3 '13 at 20:23
  • But I agree with Dave, the question is far too unspecific to give a good answer. – Baarn Oct 3 '13 at 20:24

While I agree that more detail would be useful for composing a specific answer, I see this question as asking for help in the broader sense, from someone with many obstacles who wants to get and keep an exercise program in spite of them.

To that, I would say this -- bearing in mind that it's all general advice to answer a general question:

  • Pick a low-impact type of exercise that you like (like swimming or walking), and keep it on hand for days that you can't do something else. (When I'm too sore from something else, I do plank-based ab workouts, for example.)
  • Start with cardio and/or body-weight exercises: Those can be done as often as you like without requiring recovery times. Save weight-lifting for when you're in better general shape.
  • Include something that works your core: Swimming, dancing, jogging, etc. -- and try to do it every other day at least -- every day would be better. That way your body will get used to exercise, and you'll find harder workouts easier to do later without hurting yourself.

Mentally, start thinking of yourself as someone who exercises (someone who swims, runs, dances, or whatever appeals to you most), and set your mind towards making it a part of your daily life. This will help the physical and mental benefits come quickly. It'll also get you in the right frame of mind to address things like your diet, which you'll want to do eventually; but which are much easier to tackle when you're used to thinking of yourself as a fit, athletic person.

Best of luck, and above all, no matter what else, keep your chin up! Best exercise of all, that. ;)

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