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Why Am I Not Building Muscle?

The 1 Surprising Thing That Can Happen to Your Muscles When You Work Out Every Day

Photographer: Kathryna HancockRestrictions: Editorial and internal use only. No advertising, no printPhotographer: Kathryna HancockRestrictions: Editorial and internal use only. No advertising, no printProduct Credit: Tory Sport leggings and sports bra

We all know that one person who is constantly hopping from workout to workout, doing multiple workouts per day, and lives by the "no days off" motto. While we aren't judging anyone's preferred method of training, the constant wear and tear on your body will catch up with you eventually if you aren't recovering and fueling your body properly. If you're the person who loves to double up on workouts throughout the week and can't fathom the thought of missing a day in the gym, this is for you.

POPSUGAR spoke to personal trainer Liz Letchford, MS, ATC (and a PhD candidate), about what happens to your body when you train too much. Overtraining syndrome "is characterized by a maladaptive response to excessive exercise without adequate rest," said Liz, and it can negatively affect everything from how your brain functions to your hormones. She explained that if you exercise too much, "you'll be neurologically unable to maintain lifting at higher intensities and unable to effectively challenge your muscle tissue in order to achieve an increase in strength and subsequent muscle growth."

If you're new to working out, Liz advises to slowly increase your training volume starting with five to 10 minutes a day and increasing the time until your body can withstand hour-long workouts. This will help prevent overtraining syndrome, while allowing your body to adapt to stimulus without getting injured. If you're training your muscles to fatigue, Liz suggests letting the muscle groups worked recover for up to 48 hours so that your body can repair from the damage and fatigue.


A great rule of thumb when it comes to your training program is that if your mood is low, your training volume and intensity should also be low. Instead of lifting hard every single day, balance your training program with a combination of HIIT and low impact workouts like cycling, swimming, and yoga. There's no training program/schedule that's universal to everyone, so be sure to find what works best for you, makes you feel good, and helps you achieve your goals!

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kathryna Hancock
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