The body doesn’t respond to training while it is exercising, but rather when the body rests after a workout. Over training is when the volume and intensity of exercise is greater than ability to recover. If one exercises too intensely everyday, the body does not have a chance to complete its rebuilding and recovery cycle.
It may seem that training everyday is the most effective, fastest way to see results, but science supports that one’s body and mind can only take so much breakdown before they become damaged. While over training, the body will stop making improvements, which is often mistaken for a plateau and further training is added to the exercise program, which worsens the problem.
-exercise starts losing appeal
-muscle soreness and tenderness
-joint aches and pains
-prolonged recovery following exercise
-altered resting heart rate
-decreasing performance (ex. Loss of muscular strength)
-erratic sleep patterns
-muscular strains and overuse injuries (ex. Tendinitis)
-increased upper respiratory illnesses, nausea, gastrointestinal problems, headaches
-lower body fat percentage
-elevated respiration rates
-changes in personality and emotional stability
-fear of competition, loss of competitive edge
-sadness and depression
*If you possess some of the symptoms and see there may be a chance you are over training it is best to see a doctor to restore you to health.
Recovery should include several days completely off from training (1 week at least depending on the severity of the condition). It is usually very difficult to stop training, but it must be done in order to regain a positive passion for exercise and fitness and to not further physical and psychological damage. After rest time is taken, one must analyze one’s workout schedule and make changes, then start exercising again. It is important to keep workouts lower intensity in the beginning. The goal of this phase is to get a healthy rhythm going again, get the muscles moving and blood flowing again.
Adequate rest must be taken after workouts, as this is when the body makes gains by building muscle, improving strength and repairing tissue. Each week, one full day off strength training and one full day from all training should be taken. Seven to eight hours of sleep each night is also imperative because during sleep the body releases hormones and enzymes responsible for tissue repair, growth and healing.
Nutrition is also an important aspect. Everyday, plenty of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and fresh fruit and veggies will supply the body with building blocks needed to repair tissue and make gains. Caloric intake should not be much below your calorie expenditure – it is more important to recovery from over training syndrome and get back to a reasonable workout program than to be losing weight on a restrictive diet. Even when your body is ready for more intense training again, large caloric deficits are not beneficial.
Once recovered, it is important to make changes in the workout program often. Making a workout schedule will be an effective tool to prevent entering the over training zone in the future. It may also be beneficial to take a week off intense training every few months. Remember to keep balance in life, focusing on the time away from exercising and physique maintenance as much as the time in it.