ARE YOU OVERTRAINING?
Are you feeling that your work outs are prolonged? Are you feeling generally fatigued? Are you having trouble falling asleep? These are classic signs and symptoms that you may be overtraining! In fact overtraining is a trap that goes against the grain and all of our natural instincts. For example by practicing your golf swing, you will reduce your handicap by shaving strokes off your overall game quicker. However there is point in training where exerting more effort actually becomes counterproductive and you begin to over train.
What is it?
In basic terms overtraining is an imbalance between the amount of work performed and recovery time. This occurs when you put too much stress on your body and you don’t give it adequate time to recover properly via rest. The common signs of overtraining are depression, fatigue and underperforming in and out of the gym; despite seemingly adequate rest. There are more subtle signs and symptoms of overtraining and these are as follows:
1) Not enough energy to finish your work out
When your body is an over trained state you will not be able to perform optimally as you would when in a normal state. Some classic signs are that you can’t lift the weight you normally can, you don’t have the energy to perform the sprints and you don’t have the stamina to finish your session on the treadmill.
Even though you are hitting the gym on a daily basis, your performance seems to be dropping off and getting progressively worse. You are beginning to feel weaker, slower and running feels like you have concrete shoes on whilst wading through mud. If you have any of these signs and are yawning whilst training- then you are definitely over training!
2) You are getting fatter regardless of training harder
Overtraining throws your hormones out of sync and decreases your anabolic hormones and causes the stress hormone cortisol to surge. Therefore what normally happens is that exercise creates an energy deficiency in overall calorie intake/expenditure and you lose weight. However cortisol breaks down your muscle tissue: reduces insulin sensitivity and fat is deposited around the belly area especially in men. The end product is that you train hard, monitor your diet but still gain body fat!
3) Issues with Sleeping
If you are performing a vast amount of cardio and are in an over trained state your sympathetic nervous system remains fired up. This leads to you feeling mentally switched on, restless, unable to concentrate properly, your sleep patterns are broken and not smooth! Generally you need 7-8 hours quality sleep per night and sleep issues can lead to mental and physical fatigue, poor cognitive function, anxiety and depression.
4) You Feel Irritable After you have Just Finished Your Work Out
You can’t beat the post work out of feeling euphoric and revitalised. This is caused by the rush of endorphins from your brain; this causes your whole body and mind to feel amazing for hours post exercise. However if these happy feeling don’t arrive and you start to feel irritable and uncomfortable post exercise- then this could be a classic sign of over training. Exercise should lift your mood and if does not happen, then maybe it is time to take a break from training!
5) Training 7 Days a Week
Unless you are on illegal or banned substances it is virtually impossible to train with high intensity for 7 days per week and to recover properly. It is essential if you are lifting weights you have at least 2 days off per week and at least one day per week of absolutely no exercise. This strategy gives your immune system time to recover, for normal recovery try not to have ‘2 days rest off’ in a row together. A suppressed immune system can lead to illnesses, bugs, fatigue, mental stress and poor sleeping habits.