FIT THURSDAYS: Overtraining. Signs you're doing it, and ways to prevent it's problems.
By Elaine Delaney, Personal Trainer.
The sun has begun to make an appearance; summer is just around the corner and the thought of last year’s bikini is daunting. You know the solution. You are going to squeeze in a few more gym sessions and decrease your calorie intake; this has to be the answer. Right?
A few weeks into your new routine, you are feeling a little tired, the results have started to plateau, you really don’t want to get out of bed for the early morning boot camp session and the old knee injury you had a couple of years ago is becoming more aggravated every time you work out.
Did you know 80% of recreational runners sustain an injury at least once a year? This is due to overtraining and incorrect technique.
What is over training?
Overtraining can occur in almost every sport and fitness activity. It happens when you perform more training than your body can recover from. Performance decreases and you can even begin to lose strength and fitness.
Signs of over training
Overtraining symptoms often include one or many of the following:
· Plateau in performance
· Reduced levels of strength
· Feeling of heaviness/muscle soreness
· Lack of energy
· Lack of appetite
· Inability to sleep
· Decreased motivation levels
· Supressed immune system
If you feel like you are overtraining, it is advisable to take a week of rest. This will provide your body with adequate time to recover. If you are the ultimate gym junkie and a week of rest is not an option consider dropping your repetition maximum or adjust your form of cardio exercise to a low impact activity like swimming.
How should you increase your training by?
To improve performance your training volume should only increase by 10% per week e.g. if you can squat 50kgs, next week you should aim for 55kgs. If training volume increases significantly more than 10%, the probability of injury/re-injury increases and overtraining can occur. Ensure you incorporate rest days as part of your weekly workout routine and use the tips below for a quicker recovery time.
Injury and overtraining
The correlation of overtraining and sustaining an injury is relatively high. Overtraining can lead to injury by the means of poor technique. Imagine if your bench press technique was incorrect and you complete for example 100 repetitions in one week. If your shoulder position is incorrect, injury will occur over time. Injury can occur when the body is fatigued.
If you are new to exercising, injury can occur when your muscles grow quicker than your tendons, for this reason a gradual introduction to exercise is recommended as opposed to high intensity workouts 6 days a week so your body can adapt to new demands and stress levels.
How to improve recovery times?
There are a number of very simple steps you can take to improve recovery time between workouts including:
· Adequate rehydration-a minimum of 3 litres per day
· Balanced diet
· Use of ice baths and cold showers to restrict blood flow
· Rest days
· Reducing the level of resistance one week per month or a maximum of one week per every 6 weeks
· Proper warm up and cool down
· Good quality night’s sleep
Why is adequate sleep important?
The average person sleeps 6.5 hours a night in comparison to the 1980s, the average sleep time was 8 hours. As we are sleeping less it would be safe to assume the quality of our sleep is improving, unfortunately this is not the case. We are all guilty of lying in bed checking up on the latest gossip on social media, when our body needs this time to recover and sleep.
Numerous research studies have analysed the correlation of growth hormone release during various stages of sleep. Those who sleep less tend to notice a decline in overall growth hormone release. Growth hormone is an essential element of muscle building. Sleep deprivation can also lead to increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and decreased glycogen synthesis (energy source) in the muscle.
The waves transmitted from a Wi-Fi modem can actually disturb the quality of sleep experienced. So turn your phone into aeroplane mode (don’t worry your alarm will still work) and reap the benefits of a good night’s sleep.
So remember listen to your body, it provides the best indicator of your progression rates. Ensure you warm up and cool down before every fitness routine and finally try ditching your phone before bed time.
Hi all, my name is Elaine Delaney co-founder of Euphoria Fitness Sydney.
I hold qualifications in health promotion, physiology and fitness. Since a young age, sports and fitness have been my passion and now I want to utilise this knowledge and experience to help other achieve their health and fitness goals.
My philosophy is life is small changes in your lifestyle can have a massive impact on your health. The key to achieving optimal health is good nutrition and exercise. In modern day society your fitness regime requires flexibility and commitment.
Euphoria Fitness provides specialised one to one or group personal training, for more information on the service provided simply use the contact details below.
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