We understand you have training goals, but listening to and honoring your body is a healthy part of any training routine!
Training is like a pharmaceutical prescription — we follow the plan to a T — workout once daily for 20 minutes or more. Fuse a combination of cardio and strength training five times a week. Rinse and repeat.
And, as we follow this fitness prescription, more is always better than the prescribed, right?!
Pre- and post-workout supplements are vital to how you fuel your workout and recover! At Proven 4, we’re here to support you in your training goals. Navigate the topic of overtraining in today’s post and learn more about the signs to look for!
The sure-fire way to interrupt your fitness goals is overtraining!
The Woes of Overtraining
In fitness, more is not always better, in fact, it can be a very fine line. Exercise helps gets us to our goals, it relieves stress, and it’s a great excuse to get outside away from our screens, so it’s natural to become borderline obsessed with it. But, when the lines are blurred and you’re exercising too much, it can greatly impact your goals and health.
There are a couple of factors that lead to overtraining and they include:
- Too much training and not enough rest and recovery
- Underfueling your body
Overtraining is a real and serious health issue which can reach the tipping point known as Overtraining Syndrome (OTS). It’s important to know the signs to prevent decreased fitness and an impaired immune system.
Let’s navigate the signs of overtraining below.
There is being tired and spent after a workout because you dug in and went to your dark place, and then there is fatigue.
Fatigue is felt in every part of you — from heavy legs and sluggishness around movement to decreased focus and concentration. Sure, it’s totally normal to experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and be tired a day or two after intense training, but when your fatigue becomes chronic, this could be a result of too much training or too little fuel.
Chronic fatigue is when your body never has a chance to fully recover — it’s getting almost there and then pounding it with another workout. This negative energy expenditure is constantly pulling from your body’s energy stores — which may already be low — which can complicate things further because your fatigue may be from both overtraining and not eating enough.
A decline in performance.
If you’re increasing your training intensity or volume and not seeing results, this may be related to overtraining. Or, if your performance is decreasing — your strength, endurance, and agility aren’t improving — this can also be a sign your body is being taxed.
Difficult training sessions.
If you’re working hard, all of your training sessions are going to be difficult, but there’s a difference — if you experience increased perceived effort in a workout this could be related to overtraining.
This may be an overly high heart rate or a warm-up feeling usually hard.
If you feel like you’re struggling and slogging just to get through a workout, let your body rest and avoid OTS!
Overly moody and irritated.
Overtraining stresses your body out — it can raise cortisol and epinephrine levels which may cause dips in your mood. This hormonal imbalance commonly produces mood swings resulting in irritability paired with a difficult time focusing and concentrating.
If you’re not getting a good night’s rest, you guessed it, you could be overtraining! Sleep is the chance your body gets to repair and restore itself, but because of the influx of stress hormones, you may not be able to wind down and get uninterrupted sleep. Your sleep is thus less restorative, which only creates a nasty cycle and further complicates your chronic fatigue and mood swings.
Feeling less hungry.
Healthy, balanced training affects our hunger mechanisms, and we typically eat more with intense exercise, but if we’re under-fueled and our body is pulling from its own reserves, it can essentially halt out appetite.
Appetite suppression is a key sign of overtraining.
Injuries happen when you train, and though there are many ways to prevent them, they still occur. It’s when you begin to see injury after injury, where you could be overtaxing your body.
This manifests as chronically sore joints and muscles, in addition to frequent infections, illnesses, low testosterone, and low bone density.
Beyond injuries, overtraining can impact your health in ways such as nutrient deficiencies (anemia) and major systems such as cardiovascular, endocrine, digestive, reproductive, and nervous.
Major Psychological Concerns
If you have large goals or a competition you are training for that beckons grueling and punishing workouts day in and day out, not having this combined with the inability to sleep and imbalanced hormones, may affect your psychological state.
If you notice these patterns, you may want to seek out help to work through these training factors, because in the end, it may lead to some major health complications.
On top of obsessive training, our culture embraces the workout “hustle” which can make things even more confusing or hard to want to rest.
Kidney failure, it’s not cute. This should never happen and if it does, you’re most likely overtraining.
How do you recoup if you are overtraining?
If you experience all or some of the signs above and need practical ways to recover from overtraining, consider some of the recommendations below.
Allow yourself to rest, truly rest.
This can be hard for some, but it’s slowing down and allowing a couple of days of complete rest — no training.
Drink water and replenish your body.
Eat a healthy diet.
Choose foods that are nourishing — bone broth, plenty of veggies, protein, and healthy fats to help repair muscles.
Indulge in self-care.
Get a massage, spend a day at the spa, or treat yourself to a mani/pedi, however you relax and unwind, do that. Even if it’s as simple as spending quiet time in nature going for a leisurely walk or reading a good book at your favorite brunch spot, it’s the little things that aid in our recovery.
If you’re overworking a certain muscle group, try cross-training for a while to give them a rest. If you push hard in cycling, try swimming. Or, if HIIT workouts are your training of choice, try mixing it up and swap a couple out for restorative yoga.
Research on OTS indicates sufficient rest at the core of treatment, with new evidence of active recovery (low, leisurely exercise) during these rest periods as being beneficial for speeding recovery and increasing immunity.
Overtraining impacts your health and wellness in almost every facet of your body — physically, mentally, and emotionally — so it is vital to assess your goals and create a training plan that honors and nourishes you completely.
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