This week I would like to talk about a problem that I sometimes notice in clients, friends, and family, that is overtraining. Now I don’t want this to discourage anyone from beginning or maintaining a regular fitness routine, the people who I am aiming this article towards are those who are experiencing symptoms mentioned below due to working out too much and not allowing the body proper time to rest.
The mentality of most avid exercisers is “more-is-better” and occasionally it’s very easy to get caught up in a workout routine and fall into the trap of overtraining, especially once you start seeing the results you desire. This is very common in people training for marathons and triathlons or even those starting a weight loss mission. Just as important as scheduling workouts and eating plans are scheduling rest days or even weeks to avoid the problems associated with overtraining.
6 Signs you Could be Overtraining:
1. Insomnia or Inability to Sleep – The body needs quality shut-eye to restand regenerate, especially during an intense training regimen; however, an overtrained body is unable to slow down and completely relax resulting in lack of sleep.
2. Results Have Slowed – The body needs time to recover in-between workouts as strength training creates tiny tears in your muscles that need to repair during rest and is how you get stronger. Just as important as working your muscles hard during a workout, is allowing for ample rest time in order allow them to regenerate and grow.
3. Excessive Fatigue During Workouts & Everyday Life – If the body never has a chance to recover from previous workouts it will begin to feel more fatigued in workouts that follow, which will become worse if combined with insomnia mentioned above. People will often find themselves saying “I’m exhausted all the time!” or “I crash every afternoon and struggle through the second half of the day”
4. Increased Irritability and Moodiness – Exercise can often be a great anti-depressant; however, too much exercise can have the opposite effect, as anxiety over hectic workout schedules, lack of desired results, or suffering through the “run down” feeling all the time can lead to depression-like symptoms.
5. More Frequent Illness, Chronic Muscle Aches, or Joint Pain – Excessive amounts of exercise can often put a lot of strain on the body’s systems and reduce its ability to fight infections. This is also the same in the muscles and joints, which can become achy and sore if not allotted proper rest time.
6. Loss of Appetite – Overtraining and extreme physical exhaustion can cause increases in hormones associated with inhibiting appetite, which again can lead to further lack of performance and ability to perform regular everyday tasks.
If you are experiencing any of the above signs and symptoms, perhaps you should take a look at your current training routine and ensure you are scheduling adequate time for rest and recovery. “Rest” doesn’t always mean lying on the couch doing nothing, instead of going for a long run or hitting the gym hard go for a casual walk or bike ride with a friend. You are still staying active but not straining the body as much as your regular workouts would.
Email Michelle@CORE-Condition.com for more information about how to avoid overtraining and tips on how to schedule workouts to reduce its effects.
Michelle Roots BA Kin, CSCS, PES