More is not always better, even when it comes to exercising. While the aim is to become faster and stronger, all your hard work can be undone when you exceed the body’s recovery abilities. Over exercising may come in different names such as burnout, overtraining, overstress and chronic fatigue but the signs, symptoms and consequences are the same and shouldn’t be ignored. Time to check yourself before you wreck yourself.
Not feeling that your workout or any physical activity for that matter is normal once in a while. But if you move from living-breathing-sleeping the gym life to being disinterested for a span of a few days or even weeks, take notice. This is an ironic situation as exercise should produce those feel-good hormones known as endorphins, not a lacklustre mood.
Really Restless Or Seriously Sluggish
If you’re fond of the HIIT movement, it’s possible that your sympathetic nervous system could go into hyper drive. In that case, you’ve probably been having a hard time getting a good night sleep, focussing during the day and sitting still. Then there’s the flip side to this coin where the sympathetic nervous system is affected by the increased cortisol levels and decreased testosterone that results in incapacitating fatigue.
Muscle soreness for a day or two after a workout is normal; just ask anyone after leg day. Soreness past the 72-hour mark, despite having a nutritious diet, is a sign that there’s a negative impact on your muscle -building efforts.
The assumption is that fat loss is a simple energy balance which calls for burning more than you consume. The problem is that the equation is influenced by hormones. So pushing yourself to the max may cause muscle loss and fat gain. There could also simply be no changes despite your efforts.
Sickness Is Your Friend
Colds may visit your frequently or you may never seem to fully recover from it. If you’ve been following a good diet and sleeping well, these could be hints of overtraining. It’s your body’s way of telling you that your immune system has been compromised by the increased training levels.
Wear And Tear Is More Common
Whether it’s new bumps more often and scrapes or old flames lighting up, these could be the effects of overtraining. We’re talking about strained ligaments and tendons, fractures and sprains. If not just the muscle pain, sprains and tears also have to be dealt with. Heart health can also be affected and in some cases, women can also experience ‘amenorrhoea’. This is the cessation of the menstrual cycle that over a long period of time can lead to loss of bone density. The body requires recuperation time between the workouts, making those rest days very necessary.
Doom And Gloom
The happy hormones should be giving you endless energy and pizazz. Instead, your fuse is short, mood is funky and esteem can even be taking a dip or two. The overtraining has not only worn down your body but also your mind, making even the smallest tasks a bother to deal with.
If you let overtraining set in it may call for an unplanned break to fix your broken nervous system. To avoid this scenario from occurring take the following precautions when you see the signs:
Get physically active for the right reasons such as overall health and fitness, not getting skinny. Realistic goals and expectations will take into account your body fat percentage, current size, BMI, age, current health status and any genetic predispositions.
Initiate Healthy Routine
Moderation. We’re talking about slowing it down to 30-minute sessions, three to four times a week. You can then slowly increase the tempo but listening to your body is key. If you start to hurt, experience fatigue or become weak, stop. The motto ‘no pain no gain’ is not welcome here. If you’re weight training, resting between sessions is crucial along with a weekly change in intensity. This minimises the risk of injury and helps the body adapt to new stresses.
Catch Some Zs
The nicest, cheapest and most effective thing you can do for yourself is to get some sleep. Going to bed an hour or two earlier could double your results and decrease the overtraining risk. Your body will also thank you for giving it more time to repair itself.
Ditch the empty calories and start taking in the right amounts of fats, proteins and carbohydrates with your veggies. That means no fad diets for you! All meals are important but you’re also aiming at improving your pre and post-workout meals.
Chill Out And Recover
Stress levels can be the biggest culprit of them all. This is a good time to tone down on the strength training and try something along the lines of stress recovery such as meditation, yoga, swimming and soft tissue work. A little active rest can help flush out the toxins and rejuvenate the body.