There are many people who train to the point where all their hours spent in the gym, is actually doing them more harm than good. So how is this possible? The word is OVERTRAINING.
It happens to weight lifters, runners, elite athletes and the general everyday fitness fanatic. Overtraining occurs when the volume and intensity of the exercise exceeds an individual’s recovery capacity. They can begin to lose strength and fitness and cease making progress. Therefore, we should all be aware of the common signs of overtraining, so that individuals know when to have that much needed rest.
So what are the most common signs?
Are you waking up in the morning and not feeling well rested or sluggish, especially after a good nights sleep? Well this can be the doing of overtraining. Overtraining decreases testosterone and increases cortisol levels, which can cause the feeling of fatigue.
- Altered heart rate
One of the easiest ways to find out if you are overtraining is to monitor your resting heart rate. Measuring your heart rate when you wake up in the morning, can assist you to tell if you are recovering from training. Generally, it should be consistent everyday, however if you notice a sudden increase, this could be a sign that your body is either fighting an infection or needs recovery time.
- Extended muscle soreness
Its normal to have sore muscles 24 to 48 hours post exercise. However, if your muscles are consistently sore, this could be a sign that your body is not receiving ample recovery time, so a break or rest period should be included. Extended soreness is a sign that your muscles are not recovering, hindering the muscle building efforts.
The harder you push your body to its physical limits, the more stress hormones are released, which in turn lowers your sleep quality. This can result in sleeplessness or insomnia. Furthermore, when your body does not go into deep sleep, anabolic hormones like testosterone and grown hormones decline, leading to poor muscle growth.
- Increased injury
Are you becoming more injury prone or re-aggravating old injuries? Overtraining may be causing this as your body is not receiving adequate recovery periods to recuperate between workouts. Therefore, you are training your body while it is ‘weakened’, increasing the likelihood of injuries.
- Halted progress
Training should improve your current level of fitness so that ‘gains’ are experienced. However, if an individual experiences declines or no progress, it may just be overtraining. Muscles gain strength over an extended period of time, making it a slow process. Therefore, working out for too long or too often may be negatively impacting upon your progress.
It is important to become aware of the signs and symptoms of overtraining, as you can be unknowingly hampering your fitness goals. Not only does it affect your fitness, but your general health and lifestyle can be negatively affected.