Have you ever set a goal, created what seemed like a great plan and then proceeded not only to follow that plan but to do even more? Chances are you were highly motivated and wanted to cross the finish line in the least amount of time possible. Suddenly, you hit a road block, you burned out, you got tired, you lost motivation or maybe you even started to lose some of your early results though you continued working hard. If all of this sounds familiar, you may have experienced overtraining.
Although the “more is better” approach may work for a short period of time, it will often lead to unwanted consequences and setbacks. Below is information that will help you identify whether your burnout may actually be the result of overtraining, the causes and what you need to do in order to recover from overtraining.
10 Symptoms of Overtraining
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Loss of strength
- Poor sleep
- Irritability and moodiness
- Loss of enthusiasm
- Elevated heart rate while resting
- Decreased immunity or getting sick more frequently than normal
- Decrease in performance
- Unwanted weight loss
- Persistent soreness in joints and muscles
What Leads to Overtraining?
Lack of rest and sleep will lead to fatigue, irritability and decreases in performance and increased resting heart rates. The harder your work, or the more intense your routine, the more rest you will require.
Poor nutrition – Not eating enough or eating foods lacking in nutrients that fuel your body’s recovery from the stresses of intense exercise. Without the right nutrients and calories, your body can not repair the damage done. The ultimate goal is to give your body enough good food to overcompensate for the increased loads of stress you are applying to it, and thereby becoming more fit.
Lack of variety in your training methods or regimen can lead to overtraining of specific muscles or joints resulting in soreness that does not go away with regular rest between workouts.
Recovering from Overtraining
Take time off. How long you should take off will depend on how long you have been overtraining. Three to five days off may be enough for most people, but if you have been overtraining for an extended period of time, you may need more time off.
Eat a healthy-balanced diet including lean protein, which is used to rebuild muscles. Carbohydrates are essential for replenishing your energy stores. Healthy fats are needed for energy and joint protection and the absorption of some vitamins and minerals.
Stay active but stay out of the gym. Great active recovery options include walking or recreational swimming. Movement increases blood flow, which is important for supplying nutrients throughout your body.
Get plenty of sleep. There’s a reason research continues to show six to eight hours of sleep is best.
The next time you begin to experience these symptoms as a result of your overzealous workouts, remember to incorporate some active rest and review your rest and nutrition needs. It will help prevent overtraining and help lead you to increased results in the long run.
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