What is Overtraining?
Overtraining is what happens when you put your body under more physical stress than it is capable of taking. This leads to the body suffering stress and physical trauma at a far greater speed than it can repair itself.
Signs and Symptoms of Overtraining
1. Persistent muscle soreness – you are not giving your muscles time to recover which in turn effects the results in your ability to get stronger or fitter.
2. Persistent fatigue – if you do not give your body time to repair itself and rest your body will remain in a state of fatigue.
3. Elevated heart rate – even during easier workouts the heart rate may be faster than you would expect and it may take longer for your heart rate to return to normal after exercise.
4. Reduced heart rate variability – when heart rate variability is low this is a sign of greater stress and lower resiliency…
5. Increased susceptibility to infections – overtraining can leave your body in a catabolic state which lowers your immunity and increases your chances of becoming ill.
6. Increased evidence of injuries – due to the fact that you are not giving your body time to repair you start training in a weakened state which can easily lead to an increased chance of injury.
7. Irritability – overtraining effects your stress hormones including cortisol and epinephrine. This hormonal imbalances can cause mood swings and irritability.
8. Depression and mental breakdown – if you are unable to train or compete as a result of over training, combined with an imbalance in hormones and a lack of sleep, can lead to severe psychological problems.
9. Cessation of Progress – Despite an increase in intensity and effort overtraining can lead to not only a cessation on progress but potentially to a decline in fitness and strength.
10. Addiction to training – Some people become addicted to the physiological and/or psychological effects of training. One thought process for this is that the person gets addicted to the natural endorphins and dopamine generated and regulated by exercise.
11. Lack of motivation – this can be caused by a lack of progress or injuries.
12. Irregular or absent menstruation, weight loss, constipation or diarrhoea – low energy caused by overtraining can lead to nutrient deficiencies such as iron deficiency anaemia which can harm both health and physical performance. Other complications can involve the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine, nervous or reproductive systems.
13. Insomnia – if you do a lot of aerobic exercise and have over trained, your sympathetic system can remain excited which will lead to restlessness and an inability to sleep properly.
Rest is key to prevent overtraining. The rest period required following hard training is up to 36 hours. Without that rest time your body cannot regenerate. Other solutions to overtraining include, reduction in volume, massage and addressing deficiencies in nutrients.