I haven't been feeling very well this past week. I thought I was getting the flu, but all I got was an annoying dry cough that only starts when I lie down. Result = not a lot of sleep. Last night I had extra pillows to keep me more upright and it seemed to help. I have also acquired my second coldsore - one on my top lip last Saturday and another on my bottom lip yesterday.
I suspect that I may be suffering burn-out from over training. I have been going to the gym for over an hour 5-6 days a week for at least 7 months straight. The dilemma is I don't know what is the right amount of work required to stay in shape.
Search the interweb and you will find a bazillion programs for fat loss - from simple upper/lower splits with cardio/intervals to metabolic circuits and bodyweight programs like Turbulence Training and Afterburn. All very well, but I don't want to burn fat because I don't have much and I suspect I would start burning muscle on that type of program.
There are also another bazillion programs to build muscle - from whole body workouts 3 days a week to focusing on one body part a day. The program I have been doing (New Rules of Lifting for Women) is a muscle building program. In order to fuel these heavy workouts and have adequate nutrients for muscle growth and recovery, you need to eat surplus calories to your requirements. If you get it wrong - fat arrives along with whatever muscle you might or might not add.
Neither of those approaches is what I want. I don't want to lose fat and end up losing muscle, or try to gain muscle and end up adding fat.
And we all know that nutrition counts much more than exercise in creating the body you want (the old abs are made in the kitchen thing!) so how much training is necessary to keep what you already have without going backwards? I just want to stay fit and lean with visible muscle definition without flexing.
There is a gap in the middle that there is no plan for. Maybe most people want to 'improve' things but surely you don't have to go through the whole on season/off season thing if you don't want to. All I can think of is to do what the experts say will result in no progress at all. Do the same exercises with the same weights week after week ... but that just sounds boring.