Are You Overtraining?
If you want to be the best, if you want to beat the rest, dedication’s what you need. But how much is too much? There are certain warning signs, both physical and mental, which could be an indication that you are training too hard.
Persistent muscle soreness: It’s normal for muscles to be sore for a while after training. But if it’s been more than three days and you are still aching, then it could mean that your muscles aren’t repairing themselves. Muscle training involves working your muscles to destruction so that new muscles can replace them. However, without the second part of this process, you are simply destroying healthy tissue.
Sleeplessness: Overtraining can mess with your hormones and overload your nervous system. This can sometimes lead to sleepless nights even if you are shattered after your workout.
Depression: The same hormonal imbalance, combined with wrong thinking, can turn exercise from an exhilarating mood enhancer to an obsessive quest. Overtrainers treat meeting their goals the way Captain Ahab treated the hunt for Moby Dick. If you find yourself going to pieces because you didn’t lose as much weight or gain as much muscle as you would like, it could mean you are overtraining.
Being prone to sickness and injury: If your muscles do not have sufficient time to heal, you could find yourself getting more sports injuries, as your body becomes more fragile through wear and tear. Overtraining can also deplete your immune system, as your body enters what is known as a continuous catabolic state. The body’s metabolism has two phases, catabolic, where tissues are broken down, and anabolic, where they are built back up again. The phrase “continuous catabolic state” is another way of referring to the process mentioned above, whereby your body breaks down tissue, but does not repair it afterwards.
Failure to make progress: Finally, overtraining can mean that your progress remains static. This is because you are training in a weakened state, and so you are less able to push yourself in the way that leads to progress.
The answer to all these problems is to make sure that you get enough rest in between sessions. But that’s a subject for another blog.