Could You Be Overtraining?

While most of Americans have trouble exercising consistently, other fitness enthusiasts, trainers, and athletes run the risk of overtraining. Overtraining? How can you train too much?

Overtraining is a state of breakdown and fatigue caused by too much training along with a lack of recuperation. It’s usually caused by working out or training too much and not allowing enough time for sufficient recovery. Performance actually starts to decrease despite the time and energy being applied. Overtraining usually starts with an attitude of “more is better.”

Overtraining is a fairly common phenomenon in sports where athletes are pushing hard to improve their performance. There’s a desire to push workouts further for duration, intensity and frequency. Regimens become too intense and the body doesn’t sufficiently recover from the day-to-day workouts. Despite the effort being put into the training, performance suffers.

Overtraining is a difficult condition to spot. The burnout happens gradually and often people get used to the excessive training and don’t realize they are even doing so. They get used to being tired and sore. They think being sore all the time is a good thing because its proof of how hard they’ve been working.

Common signs of overtraining are soreness, tenderness in the joints, tiredness, decreased performance, overuse injuries, lack of sleep and even nausea and decreased appetite. A general level of tiredness often sets in accompanied with a lack of motivation.

Overtraining is usually accompanied by other factors such as a restricted diet, high stress and overworking. A person’s lifestyle is out of balance and the excessive training feeds into the pattern.

Overtraining is hard to recognize because it comes on slowly. It’s not sudden. It can take weeks and months to reach a state of being overtrained. Usually a pulled or strained muscle starts the awareness that maybe something is wrong. When the body isn’t recuperating, muscles and joints are at great risk.

Be aware of the signs of overtraining. If you are losing your focus or motivation for exercise even though you’ve been going regularly, take a look at your routine. Talk with a personal trainer who can give you an objective opinion. Review your diet, sleeping habits and attitude. Overtraining isn’t one thing. It’s several things combined.

If you are overtrained, take time off. Take a week off and work on getting things back into balance. Cut back on your training days or your intensity. Eat consistent meals with solid nutrition and hydrate properly. Sleep. Get lots of sleep. Do fun things and take your mind off of your workouts.