Determination and enthusiasm are both great qualities to have, especially when it comes to pursuing fitness goals. However sometimes there really is such thing as ‘too much of a good thing’ and even fitness is no exception. - That’s right, over training is a thing! However I feel I should point out at this stage that there is a 95% chance this doesn’t apply to you. The term ‘overtrained’ gets thrown around a lot these days and whilst it is a serious problem for some people, most just use it as an excuse to be lazy. If you have been taking your training to the next level though, or are planning to do so, then it is vital information for you to know.
What exactly is overtraining?
Essentially it is what happens when the level and intensity of your exercise regime exceeds your body's capacity to recover. More of a good thing isn’t always better, and in the case of too much training it can actually lead to your results going downhill instead of up!
Muscles aren’t built in the gym, in fact the only thing you do in the gym is tear your muscles and make them weaker. It is during your rest and recovery period that your muscles repair and grow stronger, which can’t happen if you don’t give your body adequate rest and nutrition.
When you start a new exercise plan you are pumped and psyched to get stuck in. Your body gets flooded with feel good endorphins after your workouts and it can be tempting to sneak in an extra session in the morning or on your rest day in an attempt to achieve your goals faster. This is where you can run into trouble. If you keep pushing your body when it is not fully recovered it can have a number of serious consequences, including:
- Reduced strength - Instead of making gains, you can actually damage your muscles and go backwards.
- Lack of motivation - Being overtrained puts a huge tax on your body and can leave you exhausted and unmotivated.
- Sudden weight loss - Your body is trying to recover and rebuild without enough rest or sustenance, which can force it dip into it’s own reserves.
- Increased sickness or injury - Overtraining pushes your body to the limits, which reduces your defences and puts you at higher risk of sickness or injury.
So remember to listen to your body and allow yourself the rest you need to recover after a big workout. Try to roster your workouts so that you don’t over use certain muscle groups and add in some active recovery days to help support your body’s need to rebuild and repair!