Overtraining is something everyone needs to watch out for. Overtraining leads to getting sick, loss of sleep, and many other symptoms. There is a catch; Just because you are tired and do not want to go to the gym doesn’t mean you are overtraining. Get off of your ass and get to work.
Symptoms of Overtraining
- Decreased Strength**
- Becoming Ill
- Thirst or Dehydration
- Troubles Sleeping
- Elevated Pulse or Blood Pressure
- Inability to concentrate, sleep, or eat
- Depression, Confusion, Irritability, Stiff and Tight Muscles
All of these are just symptoms. Decreased strength seems to be one of the first things that happens when you are getting overtrained. I’m not talking about the days where you go to the gym and have an off day.
Your strength will decrease rapidly and if you experience this for a week, you are on the verge of becoming overtrained.
Ways to Prevent Overtraining
Get More Rest
When you sleep, your body is in full recovery mode and is working on repairing muscles and recovering your nervous system from the stressors you’ve put it through. Not getting enough sleep is hindering your ability to get stronger and build muscle, along with getting you closer to overtraining.
Whether or not you are cutting weight, if you start to feel some of the symptoms of overtraining, eating more will help you recover more. When you eat, you’re giving your body the proper nutrients and materials needed to recover and get stronger.
Quit Maxing Out
Too many times I see people doing maximal 1 rep maxes and this takes a huge toll on your body. Powerlifters, bodybuilders, and other athletes must take a break after their competition or big game.
When you give everything you have and push your body to the absolute limit, you will need time to recover. People who try to increase their 1 rep max every week will crash very quickly and actually get weaker the longer they attempt to train like this.
“Stress kills” is true and you need to lower your stress. Life is rough; bills, family emergencies, stressful job, and other worries plague your days.
Work on lowering your stress. When you go to the gym and train, that is also a stressor on the nervous system. Your nervous system can only support so much stress before you start feeling anxious, fatigued, and shut down.
Meditation, relaxation, and other methods to reduce stress must be utilized in order to live a healthy and happy life.
Balance in life helps you reduce stress and enjoy life. When you eat, sleep, and drink training, you are setting yourself up for failure. Life is about balance and you must keep balance if you want to succeed.
Enjoy your hobbies, train hard, and enjoy life. Don’t take life so seriously, you won’t get out alive.
If you are training 7 days a week with high intensity, there is no way your body can recover. Look at your training routine and see if there is a way to do a couple of days of less work, or do a few less sets of curls.
Being able to train less will give your body the ability to catch up and recover so you can get stronger.
Vary Your Training
When you vary your training you are keeping your body from getting too run down. Sometimes you simply need a change to keep things interesting and give your body a chance to recover.
It is very hard on your body and nervous system to lift heavy every session in the gym. Find what works for you and stick with it.
Avoid Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drugs
I’m not against having a beer or three, or having some fun (nor am I advocating it), but in order for your body and nervous system to recover properly, keeping the toxins out of your body will help.
You have to metabolize, filter, and get rid of these toxins; all of which take energy that could be used to recover from your heavy squats.
Listen to Your Body
You must listen to your body if you want to get anywhere in strength sports. You need to know what works, what doesn’t, how hard you can push, and how long it takes you to recover in order to succeed.
When you start feeling more fatigued than usual, try to nap more, eat a little bit more, and see how you respond. Elite athletes know how their body works and responds to their training and nutrition, you should too.
In order to prevent overtraining, you must overtrain. If you have never overtrained for fear of overtraining, you are not pushing yourself hard enough in the gym. In order to truly see where your limits are, you must push yourself hard and overtrain. Once you find your limit, you will know what to look for when training so you can back off of the intensity, eat a little more, and get a little more sleep.
Overtraining sucks and if you listen to this advice, you are going to be able to train more effectively and keep yourself from being overtrained. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to ask below!