Overtraining: How to identify it & how to avoid it

Overtraining is a common symptom that affects many people, from the average weekly gym goer, to the weekend fitness warrior right up to full time hard working athletes. It is important to note that while hard work and effort in training is important, complementing that work with appropriate rest periods is vital following your training sessions. The reason being is that while you may look for the physical changes as being important, it’s the physiological changes that the body undergoes like protein synthesis increasing muscle capillaries and restoration of glycogen stores during what are known as rest or recovery periods. When these ‘rest’ periods are ignored or not doctored in to an effective training program, overtraining may occur, it is then the body’s equilibrium between the physical stress of training and recovery periods is thrown off, and this is when the individual can be affected in a negative way.

Some common symptoms include; A performance plateau or decline in training ability, fatigue, constant and persistent soreness and in some cases mood changes.

The simple way to prevent overtraining is to schedule appropriate rest periods into your training regime and mix things up by varying your workout plan i.e. intensity, exercises, weight load etc. Progress with caution and be patient, exercise according to your ability and physical readiness. And most importantly, overtraining can cause injury, so prevention is the best cure. One thing I always tell my clients, is that it’s okay to leave some fuel in the tank every once in a while and feeling that you can always improve is better than feeling defeated.

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