There is such a thing as overtraining. And, it means exactly what it sounds like: training too hard and/or training too often.
So, why do most people think overtraining is a myth?
Unlike most endeavours in life, where the harder you work, the more rewards you’re likely to receive in return, it’s not necessarily the same when it comes to working out. When it comes to exercise, there’s a point where exerting more effort becomes counter-productive and you start to regress.
How do you know if you’re overtraining?
Here are some common signs that you might be overtraining.
Your muscles are always sore.
Sounds obvious, but most people mistake it for common soreness the day after a workout. This can be a sign to take the next day off.
You’re always getting sick.
When you overtrain, it lowers your immunity and increases your chances of becoming ill. Get plenty of rest, and adjust your nutritional intake.
You can’t sleep.
Overtraining can result in a nervous system or hormonal system overload. If this is happening to you, try taking a week off training altogether and see if anything changes.
Your injuries are becoming more frequent.
Are those old injuries coming back to haunt you? Are new ones appearing each week? You’re quite possibly training too hard, your body isn’t getting enough time to recuperate, and by the time your next workout starts you’re still in a ‘weakened state’. Don’t forget that your muscles need to repair, and the way that can happen is through rest.
The solution: more rest periods in your weekly training schedule and changing the intensity of your training too.
People who overtrain are usually those who train hard every day of the week. You simply cannot train intensely every day and still adequately recover.
So, what’s the solution if you’re over training?
Firstly, rest. By all means train hard, but try and take two days off per week; one day as active recovery and one day to fully rest. Listen to your body and decide what’s best for you.
Secondly, sleep. Try to get 7.5 to 9 hours per night as the optimal amount.
And thirdly, diet. Make sure you’re eating nutritious meals that support the training you do so your body has everything it needs to repair itself.
It really is that simple. And, you’ll know when you’ve recovered simply by how you feel. After a decent rest, you should feel rested and ready to train again. Sensibly that is.