Rest is an often over looked and/or the least preferred component of training. It is a vital piece that needs to be included in all training plans. Everyone will respond differently to training stimulus, so it is important to be on the lookout for signs of overtraining and make adjustments as needed to continue performing at your peak and staying injury free.
It’s understandable to think that working out more is better, but in this case “more” can sabotage your workouts and your overall performance and progress.
Overtraining is excessive frequency, volume or intensity of training, resulting in fatigue.
Is Your Body Telling You You’re Overtraining?
1. Are you getting sick and injured a lot?
Chronically elevated levels of cortisol not only stall your fat loss, but also lower your immunity, making you more susceptible to illness. And, if you are never giving your body a chance to fully recover, you are setting yourself up for potential injury.
2. Are you sore all the time?
Being sore after your workout is normal, and it’s possible your delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) won’t peak for another 48 hours. However, being constantly sore is a clear sign that you need to back off and give your muscles an opportunity to fully recover.
3. Have you stopped seeing results?
When you’re consistently stressing your body you are constantly triggering your body’s “fight or flight” response and elevates cortisol levels which, according to orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey J. Rocco, can lead to fat storage.
4. Do you feel fatigued and sluggish for the rest of the day after your workout?
You are able complete your workout, but then you are spent for the remainder of the day. A sweat session can be productive, but if it drains you of your energy even after you’ve eaten, it’s time to find out why and how training has become counterproductive.
5. Are you having, what feels like, uncontrollable cravings for comfort foods?
Efficient training should go hand-in-hand with a healthy refueling to optimize results. If you have an uncontrollable craving for caffeine and sweet or salty carbohydrates, it is possible your body is craving these to compensate for exhaustion. According to human performance expert, Dr. Phil Maffetone, overtraining often leads to “abnormal hunger or cravings for sweets.”
6. Are you completing your normal training routine?
You’re showing up, but are giving up a little too soon or just going through the motions. It’s a struggle even to get through it, and all you can think about is being done.
7. Are you experiencing behavioral changes like insomnia, depression, irritability or mood swings?
When you’re overtraining, your body’s systems go into overload. Hormones like cortisol and serotonin get out of sync which affects everything you do. Physical and emotional changes in behavior are an indication you probably need to take a step back from your training schedule.
8. Are you putting fitness before everything else in your life?
Training is important, but if you are consistently choosing your workouts over social engagements or even much-needed sleep, it might be time to reassess your goals and priorities.
Listen to your body. Our built-in protective mechanisms are there for a reason and will tell us what our body needs.
What is your body telling you?
If you’re overtraining, plan a rest period. Maybe do a day or two of no workouts at all or a few days of easy workouts will be all that you need. You may need several weeks. Don’t return to max training until you’re feeling like energetic self again.
By avoiding extremes you will workout stronger, run farther, make more progress and significantly reduce the risk of injury. Adding balance to your training decreases burnout and you’ll find yourself feeling more motivated and enjoying your training.
Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. ~Jim Rohn
This web site is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice and supervision of your personal physician. Consult with your physician if you have any concerns regarding your health.
I would love to chat:
Have you experienced overtraining? Did you answer yes to any of these questions? Do you include rest in your training plan?
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