Overtraining happens when the volume or intensity of the workout program exceeds the body’s ability to heal and recover. Because the body is unable to keep up with the pressure, it stalls out, impeding progress and even putting you at risk for injury.
The good thing is that overtraining is reversible and that the solution is simple:
- Cut back on your exercise schedule
- Do fewer sets
- Take more rest days and
- Shorten your overall workout time.
Trust me, it really works.
Aside from program adjustments, there are several real-life solutions that can help you get back on track mentally as well as physically.
Signs of Overtraining
Here are a few of the most noticeable signs of overtraining and their real-life solutions. Try them out and get your body back on track.
Sign: Persistent muscular soreness and fatigue
Your muscles never have a chance to recover if you never take days off. Continual fatigue and muscle breakdown will eventually lead to injury.
Take at least one to two days off completely from training each week. Listen to your body: If you’re exhausted and spent, you need a serious break. Do stretching, easy yoga or get a massage.
Sign: Continual sickness or lengthy illness that won’t go away
When you’re constantly training, your body expends all its energy repairing and rebuilding your muscles and has almost nothing left to fight infections and bacteria.
Take a multivitamin supplement with a full spectrum of trace minerals, and some vitamin C to boost your immune system. Eat colorful foods that are high in antioxidants, like berries, carrots, spinach and sweet potatoes, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
When you exercise too much, your body sees this as a stressor, releasing hormones like cortisol that can cause insomnia as well as fat retention.
Hit the sack a little earlier than usual to give yourself time to decompress and relax. Read a book or have some decaf herbal tea. Also, power down your cellphone and computer and limit your TV time before bed to avoid excessive stimulation.
Sign: Depression and irritability
Exercise-induced endorphins are supposed to make you feel great, right? Unfortunately, if you’re overtrained, you’ll typically feel down and lethargic, which can lead to depression. Fatigue also can shorten your fuse, making you irritable and more likely to snap over small stuff.
Go outside and get some sunshine (wearing sunblock, of course), take your dog for a walk or meet up with the girls for coffee.
Above all, give yourself a break. Don’t beat yourself up mentally for your body’s failure to keep up with your goals.