Overtraining - Signs and Prevention
In most areas of life we have been told that hard work pays off. It is simple, if you work harder you will achieve more. Although this may apply to some situations, doing more isn’t always better when it comes to fitness and working out.
Overtraining is real, and it may actually be the one thing that is slowing down your progress.
What is Overtraining?
First of all, let’s clearly define what overtraining really is.
Overtraining is a condition which occurs when an individual performs more training than his or her body can recover from, to a point at which performance declines (1).
Are you hitting the gym every day for several hours, because you want to achieve your goals so bad that all of your efforts are engaged?
No matter how strong you push you simply never see the progress expected? And even worse, others that are doing far less work than you seem to be better off?
If any of this resonate with you, then you might be overtraining.
Top Signs of Overtraining
To help you better understand if you’re in fact overtraining, we are going to list the most common sings which indicate that something is off with you regime.
The most common overtraining sings include:
Struggling with progress
Your workouts are starting to feel harder than before. Weights you have normally used are suddenly heavier. And on top of this, you simply cannot make any strength progress. This is a clear first sing of overtraining. Just don’t get the loss in strength mixed up with the natural strength loss of weight cutting.
If you’re lacking willpower and motivation lately, you might be doing too much training. If you are normally super pumped about your workouts, but out of nowhere you simply have no drive to do them anymore, overtraining might be the one to blame.
The horrible impact of overtraining extends itself beyond your time in the gym. Overtraining doesn’t only impact your physical capabilities, but your mental ones as well. Because of its negative effects on the body as a whole, overtraining can induce depression.
Hard workouts are certainly an important part of your journey. And sometimes soreness can come up after those successful training sessions. This is absolutely normal in most cases, however if you experience this unpleasant feeling for more than two days you are overtraining.
If you are always pushing your body to the limits, day after day, then there is a potential for the nervous system to become over stimulated. Studies show that a lack of sleep and recovery caused by overtraining leads to a feeling of prolonged tiredness.
Working out and lifting heavy weights on a regular basis doesn’t come without a risk. With no precautions and a proper form you are placing yourself in a position to not only induce injuries, but to also create long-term joint problems. These problems can also occur as a result of unnecessary overtraining. If you do exercise properly, but still have joint and injury problems, you are most likely overtraining.
Being ill more often than normal could be a classic sing of overtraining and its negative impact on the immune function. So if you feel like you’re always ill, you may want to take a step backwards.
Instead of dealing with the problems that overtraining causes, it is a lot easier to prevent them.
So here are the basics steps you should take in order to prevent overtraining and to finally become a beast in the gym.
You already know that sleep is imperative for you progress, so please don’t neglect it. Try to get at least 8 hours of high quality sleep each night. During this time your body will rest, recover, and repair properly. This will ultimately lead to a linear progress with a smaller chance of overtraining.
Consume more calories
Stuffing your face with empty calories is not what you should do. Increase your consumption of nutrient dense foods that will ultimately give your body more energy and strength to recover faster. And if you’re in a fat loss phase of your journey, don’t implement a calorie deficit that is greater than 10-20%.
Taking a week off the gym, or in other words a deload week, can do you a massive favor. Pushing your body and joints to its limits day in and day out is really taxing, and by having a little break once in a while can provide major benefits and prevent overtraining. And do not worry, you won’t loss any of your hard earned muscle.
Remove tension and stress
The busy modern lifestyle combined with tough workouts can lead to a rise in tension and stress. These two factors are one of the main contributors of overtraining. Try to include a regular relaxation period of 10-15 minutes each day in order to prevent or at least lower your tension and stress.
Listen to your body
The last and most important step that will prevent overtraining is to simply listen to your body. Excessive tiredness and a loss of strength are easy clues you need rest. Also a good rule of thumb is to allow at least 48 hours before training the same muscle group. So just listen to your body and follow its lead in order to never face overtraining.
Having goals and working towards them is essential. But sometimes taking a step forward may result in two steps backwards if we’re doing too much at once. Overtraining is certainly a bad state you can get in to, but as we saw from this article it is easily preventable.
Have a proper training program set, good nutrition, and most importantly recovery, and there is absolutely no need for you to worry about overtraining (2).