More is NOT always better!
So, you have finally decided to do this!
To go after the body, goals, achievements you have dreamed about, the very ones that you have been toying with in your head for as long as you can remember. You have heard and read endless accounts of the benefits getting active can provide, so it only makes sense that the more you do- the better it is for you! If you have planned in for example, 5 exercise sessions a week then you are probably fine (unless they are 4 hours each!).
The key to a successful training programme is creating a balance that is right for you. Successfully combining eating healthily, cardio and resistance training and REST! You don’t need to spend 2 hours on a cardio machine, followed by 2 hours resistance training! Likewise, you don’t need to do 500 sit ups a day, it is all about BALANCE!
There is a condition which can be very debilitating to your overall fitness and weight management goals known as overtraining. Overtraining leads to a constant feeling of fatigue and a massive increase in the risk of injury. Injuries are a gym goers worse nightmare as they can have a long and slow repair journey, you have exhausted your body and it is now telling you no! If you continue to train in this state, other parts of your body start to compensate and then you end up weakening these muscles and causing more damage too, resulting in a longer time for making a full recovery.
When you first start out exercising you may well feel more tired, this is normal, and is due to the new adaptations and stresses you are putting on your body. Exercise is proven to increase energy levels which will occur as you adapt to the new stimulus you are putting on your body.
Overtraining occurs when your body is going through more stress and work than it can handle over a prolonged period of time. Training hard puts added stress on the body which means your body needs time to recover afterwards and repair muscles, ligaments, tendons and the nervous system. If it is not given this time then you are continuing to train a weakened body- which doesn’t sound like a good thing?
Additionally, if you do become injured then all your hard work will start to waste away as you will not be able to continue training. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, it is just important to have a balanced approach. As well as an increased risk of injury, you may experience a drop in strength and fitness gains known as a plateau.
Below are some symptoms that lead to overtraining syndrome:
Constant or extended muscle soreness (more than 72 hours)
Re-occurring or ongoing injury.
Persistent feeling of fatigue, even after rest.
Irritable- especially if not able to work out.
Obsessive exercise behaviour resulting in psychological symptoms, affecting socialising with friends and family.
Poor performance e.g. not running that 5k as fast or not being able to finish your rep range in a set.
How can you avoid or help treat overtraining?
You need to look at your training programme and make sure it takes some form of periodisation. This means whether your goal is training for a special competition or just for fitness and strength gains, you need to cycle your training, breaking it up into different goal phases, and schedule in de-load periods so your body can recover from the training volume you have just inflicted on it, and be ready for the next phase. In resistance training it is common to use a cyclic programme alternating high load periods with de-load periods to avoid overtraining, but at the same time improve components of muscular fitness to your body’s best ability. There are lots of different ways you can do this, for example -
Every 4th week you could drop the intensity and /or volume for that week
Increase your sleep time
Have regular deep tissue massages on the affected areas.
Split your training so that a body area or cardiovascular training system (lactate, aerobic etc) has time to recover between workouts, at least 24 hours minimum!
Do not train the same muscles on consecutive days, or if you still feel muscle soreness (DOMS) this is your body telling you it is still in the repair process! Continuing to train the same muscle groups could be detrimental to the growth of your muscle size or strength. This will give your body enough time to recover from the work load stress you are putting on it.
Please, please listen to your body! YES, we joke about ‘rest days’ and how hard we find it taking one, but seriously we both know how important these rest days are to our training regime and overall fitness achievements!
Continue to Build your Body the way you want it, BUT, also listen to your body, it is very clever and reactive and needs looking after too! Make sure you add some forced rests into your workout schedule, whether this is every Sunday or in-between days and make sure you are not training the same body part or energy system consecutively. It is also vitally important to make sure you are not under fuelled for your workouts, ensure you are consuming the right balance of fats, carbs and proteins for your training goals and stay hydrated! Pre- and post-workout snacks are really important in preventing overtraining and fuelling the body for what it is about to do or has done.
For help and support to get you your dream body without overtraining, contact us for your FREE consultation and taster session, and let us support you to Build a Body you love – firstname.lastname@example.org.