Training = Workout + Recovery
In a world where everyone’s striving to be bigger, better, faster, stronger; it’s pretty darn easy to jeopardize your gains with overtraining. It’s natural for one to think that more is better but overtraining is serious problem which leads to injuries and diminished results. Before we discuss how to prevent overtraining, let’s take a look at a few of the warning signs you should be aware of.
Prolonged Muscle Soreness – Before you panic, yes muscle soreness is normal. Typically, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is felt anywhere from a few hours post workout to 3 days later. If your DOMS exceeds 3 days, you may need to re-evaluate your workout and tone down the intensity or volume a bit. Muscle recovery is extremely important for gains.
Plateau in Performance – If you’ve noticed a plateau or a regression in your performance at the gym, you could be overtraining. When we lift at the gym, we are essentially damaging our muscles’ microfibers. The body then repairs the damage and makes the muscle fibers bigger and stronger so it can adapt to the stress (you working out). If you notice your performance dipping, you are probably not allowing ample time for the muscle to recover; you are causing more damage.
Frequent Injuries – Have you noticed that you are frequently getting injured? This may be due to overtraining. I can’t stress enough the importance of rest days and muscle recovery!
Increased Illness – Overtraining places your body into a catabolic state which compromises the immune system. If you’re frequently feeling ill, you could be overtraining. (Tip: If your just recovering from a cold or flu it would be a bad idea to lift weights since your immune system is already in a weaken state)
Keep Workout Sessions to 60 Minutes or Less – After one hour of working out, your body released a stress hormone called cortisol which places the body in a catabolic state. This causes you to gain fat and lose muscle. Keep your workout sessions to 60 minutes or less.
Get More Quality Sleep – Muscles grow when your resting; not in the gym. Muscle recovery is extremely important. Be sure to get quality 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Take Time Off – Sometimes all you need is a good “reset”. For every 4-6 weeks of intense training, try taking a week off to give you body the rest it deserves.