By: Byron Paidoussi
and Whitney Cole
FITNESS AND FUEL
What is overtraining? Overtraining is defined as an:
"Accumulation of training related stress, resulting in persistent decrement in performance capacity lasting weeks or months."
The results of overtraining are decreases in performance as well as difficulty in recovering from workouts. It's marked by a chronic fatigue both during exercise as well as subsequent recovery periods.
The symptoms of overtraining include:
1. Unexplained and Persistent Poor Performance
You're training hard, but see no improvements in lifts, possibly even slight decreases. You fail to perform up to standard in events or games.
2. General Fatigue
You wake up feeling tired or drained despite having just slept well for 6-8 hours. You experience crashes and overall fatigue in afternoons.
You suffer general depression symptoms, sadness, anxiety, feel overwhelmed and/or even physical pain.
You find yourself losing your cool over small issues. You find it hard to maintain control of your reactions. The smallest things set you off and cause you to pounce.
5. Elevated Resting Heart Rate
Your resting heart rate is raised by 5 or more BPM.
6. Painful Muscles
You find yourself in constant pain, with no recollection of an intrinsic injury having occurred. Muscles and joints are constantly achy.
You find yourself unable to sleep at night, instead you spend the entire night tossing and turning and only getting a few hours of quality sleep per night.
8. Weight Loss
Some people inexplicably start losing weight. This weight loss is usually from muscle being cannibalized by ketosis from poor diet and excessive training load.
9. Increase in Overuse Injuries
You seem to be getting constant nagging injuries such as shin splints, stress fractures or muscle cramps. The excessive training load is causing the body to break down, and lack of time between intense workouts is prohibiting body from repairing itself.
10. Increased Susceptibility to Respiratory Infections or Gastrointestinal Disturbances
You're catching various colds and/or experiencing digestive issues on a regular basis. The excessive training load has compromised the immune system. Your body is fighting to stay alive and thus can't actively fight off infections.
Overtraining is serious and can have long-term negative effects on your body. If you experience 2 or more of the above symptoms, you are most likely overtraining, causing your body harm rather than improving it. The cure for overtraining for the most part is fairly simple. REST!!! For severe overtraining, complete bedrest may be needed. If you're slightly overtraining, just reduce workload in any of the following areas:
• Training Volume (amount of exercises)
• Training Duration (length of workouts)
• Training Intensity (amount of weight lifted or effort put out)
• Training Frequency (number of workouts per week and rest days)
If you are aware of the signs and make the correct adjustments to training, overtraining can be overcome and prevented in the future. Remember, the aim of training is to promote health and well being, not to destroy us. The old adage of "No Pain, No Gain" does not apply when your longevity is at risk.
For more from Byron and Whitney, check out the FITNESS AND FUEL BLOG: www.fitnessandfuel-la.com/blog