Avoiding Overtraining

Feb 15, 2011 by


Many beginners, who are just just starting out in fitness, have a belief the more the better. I was one of those people, I thought the more I exercise the better it is for my body. That cannot be further from the truth. I did learn the hard way, I developed an injury that set me back for month’s. When you start working out, your body goes through three predictable stages in response to stress ( working load ): Shock, compensation and exhaustion.

If we exceed our bodies rates of adaptation we will spend most of our training in the exhaustion phase. Like I did when I began working out on a regular basis. I just thought that I needed more coffee and I can push through. When in fact my body was exausted to death. Overtraining is an accumulation of training and or non-training stress resulting in a long term decrease in performance capacity, if you reached that point, it may take from several weeks to several months to recover. Simple, if you don’t give your body a break your body will decide to take one for you. Resulting in an injury. Here are a few examples of overtraining:

Physical Signs & Symptoms

  1. Elevated resting pulse / heart rate
  2. Frequent minor infections
  3. Increased susceptibility to colds and flu’s
  4. Increases in minor injuries
  5. Chronic muscle soreness or joint pain
  6. Exhaustion
  7. Weight loss
  8. Appetite loss
  9. Increased thirst or dehydration
  10. Intolerance to exercise
  11. Decreased performance
  12. Delayed recovery from exercise
  13. Psychological Signs & Symptoms
  14. Fatigued, tired, drained, lack of energy
  15. Reduced ability to concentrate
  16. Lack of motivation
  17. Irritability
  18. Anxiety
  19. Depression
  20. Headaches
  21. Insomnia
  22. Inability to relax
  23. Felling jittery

I think just reading that list you might of gotten pretty exausted LOL.

What to do if you are experiencing the symptoms

As with most things, prevention is by far better than cure, so lets start by having a quick look at a few things you can do to prevent overtraining.

Make only small and gradual increases to your exercise program over a period of time. Getting proper nutrition. Getting plenty of sleep. Modify your training. Avoid repetitious training, by varying your exercise as much as possible. Not exercising during an illness, and most of all be flexible and have some fun with your workouts.

While prevention should always be your aim, there will be times when overtraining will occur and you’ll need to know what to do to get back on track.

Your first priority is to take a rest. Anywhere from 3 to 5 days should do the trick, depending on how severe the overtraining is. During this time forget about exercise, your body needs a rest so leave it alone. A physical rest, as well as a mental rest. There’s no point in beating yourself up mentally over losing a few days exercise. Do some meditation, or simple breathing techniques, it is necessary for your mind to take a break as well, otherwise your mind will live in illness.
Try to get as much sleep and relaxation as possible. Make sure you increase your intake of highly nutritious foods and take an extra dose of vitamins and minerals. After the initial 3 to 5 days rest you can gradually get back into your normal exercise routine, but start off slowly. Most research states that it’s okay to start off with the same intensity and time of exercise but cut back on the frequency. So if you would normally exercise 3 or 4 times a week, cut that back to only twice a week for the next week or two. After that you should be right to resume your normal exercise regime.

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