Overtraining is a condition that mentality and physically affects an athlete and occurs when the intensity and volume of exercise exceed’s their capable recovery time. Every athlete has a unique ratio of training time to recovery time that must be adhered to in order to prevent over training. Once this ratio is exceeded the athlete will begin to experience the debilitating effects that will not only sideline progress but quality of life and health.
Publications and trainers prescribe outlandish training regimes that help bolster the ‘more is better’ philosophy that permeates the physically fitness world. While pushing yourself and progressing is a valid element of training, one must also realize that muscles are built outside of the gym. As an athlete, you break down your muscles in the gym and then as they heal outside of the gym, you recover bigger and stronger. Overtraining is specifically dangerous because it creeps up on the athlete and can have serious adverse cumulative health effects. Overtraining is typical personified by weight training, but this has been dispelled by current research showing it can be experienced by all athletes. In order to preserve their overall health, continue to train and make progress the athlete must avoid overtraining. The key to avoiding overtraining is creating a balanced workout schedule, proper nutrition, rest and the identification of overtraining symptoms.
There are several factors that lead to overtraining
- Cortisol build up. When an athlete works out, there is a release of cortisol, if there is too much training, there is then an excess of cortisol. The building up of the stress hormone cortisol over time contributes to exhaustion, premature aging and muscle loss.
- Microtrauma exceeds recovery. When a muscle is pushed and exerted, tiny micro tears form in the muscle and this is commonly seen as soreness after working out. The muscle is now rebuilding stronger, but it is overtrained or workout out again too soon, it will tear again and thus remove any progress made.
- Protein and caloric deficiency. Muscles use up a tremendous amount of calories and protein and this is the basis behind weight training for weight loss. When the body has muscles that have increased in size, are damaged and there is not enough protein and amino acid’s to rebuild them, the body will respond in a overtraining syndrome.
How to know when your overtraining
- If you feel run down in the gym and physically unmotivated. This is not simply being lazy or tired , this is generally in conjunction overall body soreness and exhaustion from weeks and weeks of constant exertion.
- Depression, irritability, and mental fatigue. Eventually the stress will take a toll and you will begin to simply be unable to take the stress of constant training.
- Constant soreness, fatigue and injuries. If your constantly sore in the same area over and over, without any rest, fatigue will begin to set in and then injuries. The body will give out and thus result in injuries such as muscle tears.
- Rest. Even Ronnie Coleman takes 1-2 days off from training. Remember to take time off every week, vary your training and allow your body time heal.
- Create a balanced training schedule this will allow different muscles to be worked out while others rest. Thus allowing you to continue your progress and rest at the same time.
- Proper nutrition. When working out and exercising you will need more protein, vitamins and nutrients than the average person. Therefore proper nutrition is key to keeping your body balanced.
- Sleep. Deprivation of sleep can escalate cortisol levels, reduce hormone levels and cause constant fatigue. Muscles are primarily repaired during the night and deprivation of this time is a complete detriment to the body’s recover.
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