We all want results right?
We want to lose weight quickly!
Build muscle and tone up fast!
We want it NOW! We dont want to work on it for 12 months, we want it yesterday!
Yeah? Of course you said yes!
So you know working out once per week for 30 minutes wont get you results quickly, which is generally absolutely true so therefore more training equals more results right?
Lets train everyday instead of once a week and lets bump that 30 minutes up to 90 minutes and we should be lean and toned very soon right?
Overtraining is a common problem when people want results quickly or they feel as though their progress has stalled, so you think do more and get more results. Unfortunately not, you can train yourself to the point of actually getting weaker. This happens when the volume and intensity of exercise exceeds your recovery time and capacity.
Since New Years, Jenni (lets use me as a hypothetical example) has found her fitness groove. She said stopped the late arvo run to the vending machine, no longer stays up till 1am watching TV and snacking on processed junk and doesn’t hit the town for a drinking bender every weekend (This is me all over guys haha!) Jenni now gets a full 8 hours sleep each night, takes her lunch from home and enjoys most meals as unprocessed as possible with lots of fruit, veg, lean meats and complex carbohydrates and she only enjoys the occasional glass of wine at a birthday or function.
At 165cm tall and 85kg, Jenni has already lost 7kg. Her mind is focused on reaching her goal weight of 70kg. To help her reach her goal, Jenni is training two days on and one day off (4 days per week), and is in and out of the gym in about an hour. This training split is allowing plenty of time for her body to rest. Jenni is feeling great!
Fast forward six months; Jenni is not feeling so fabulous. She has met her goal weight but is she doing ok? She gets compliments on how fit she looks but also they also ask is she is feeling ok, if she is getting enough sleep because she looks tired and she is a bit grump too!
Jenni’s training program has increased to six days a week! with only a jog on the seventh day. Her training program consists of an hour walk/jog 3 mornings a week and a class on the other 2, she then attends a double class 3 night a week and a single on the other along with a weekend session. Instead of training 4 hours per week she is now training more than 12!
Along with persistent fatigue and a loss of interest in her friends, she may be also experiencing these symptoms of overtraining.
To see improvement in strength and fitness you must allow adequate rest. The rest period following hard training is a magical process which can take 36 hours to complete. By skimping on rest, complete regeneration of muscle cannot occur and your central nervous system that controls your movements cannot rest either! Yes even that gets fatigued!
If the amount of training continues to exceed the rest period, the individual’s performance can plateau and decline. If Jenni continues to neglect the rest time her body needs, she will indeed get weaker and may experience injuries.
Other physical and psychological stressors can compound the rate at which a person may experience overtraining, such as:
1 TAKING A BREAK – allow time to recover. A day or two, a weekend. Go have some fun.
2 REDUCING THE VOLUME – Reducing the volume and/or the intensity of the training. If you are doing double classes, instead just do 1 and put everything you have into it, then go home and have a nice hot shower and a good meal.
3 MASSAGE – massage is the most effective therapy for releasing muscle tension and restoring balance to the musculo-skeletal system.
4 HOT/COLD Temp – (Ice baths, hot & cold showers, etc). This uses the body’s reaction to hot and cold stimuli. The nerves carry impulses felt at the skin deeper into the body, where they can stimulate the immune system, improve circulation and digestion, influence the production of stress hormones, encourage blood flow, and lessening pain sensitivity, and who doesn’t love a hot bath 🙂
5 PROPER CALORIE INTAKE – I see this all too often. Ensuring calorie intake matches (or possibly exceeds) caloric expenditure. To assist in the process of recovery, it’s important to ensure that a diet contains adequate carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats. Carbohydrates will provide the brain with fuel and proteins will rebuild overtrained muscles.
6 ADDRESSING VITAMIN DEFICIENCIES – Addressing vitamin deficiencies with nutritional supplements or a general check up. See your DR if your symptoms persist.
7 SPLIT TRAINING – Splitting the training program so that different sets of muscles are worked on different days.
8 – SLEEP – This is so important! Surely I don’t need to tell you why you need to sleep? Just make it a priority to get a minimum of 6 hours per night of quality sleep.