Do you always feel tired? Are you unable to perform at gym? Do you find that your muscles are constantly sore? Are you always getting the flu or other infections?
Well, the chances are you could be overtraining.
When in pursuit of weight loss or a more muscular and toned body, you might think that the more you train the better your results. However, overtraining results in the exact opposite. Mild overtraining, for example, may require several days of rest or reduced activity to overcome. Recovery from severe overtraining, also known as overtraining syndrome, may require weeks to months of complete rest.
1. Persistent illness
Overtraining is generally accompanied by frequent illness, especially upper respiratory tract infections (URTI). This is due to decreases in neutrophil function, serum and salivary immunoglobulin concentrations and natural killer cell numbers.
2. Reduces performance and inability to progress
When you are in an overtrained state your ability to perform high intensity exercise is reduced. You might feel your power decrease. Overtraining might have the same affect on your endurance, strength and/or speed during an exercise session. You may also find that you are unable to add muscle, achieve your training goals or improve your personal bests. This is because improvements in strength, size and fitness only occur during and after the rest period following hard training, through the process of supercompensation. This process can take days to complete, so without sufficient rest, complete regeneration won’t occur. If this imbalance persists then your performance will eventually plateau and decline.
3. Constant fatigue
The length of time it takes you to recover between exercise sessions or races will increase when you are overtrained. Athletes also experience persistently high levels of fatigue and other symptoms like prolonged muscle soreness.
4. Changes in heart rate measurements
One of the best ways to catch early signs of overtraining is to measure your resting heart rate (RHR) on a regular basis. Measure and record your heart rate when you wake up and before getting out of bed. This will give you an indication of how well you are recovering. An increase in your RHR is generally considered to be a good indicator of overtraining. Other heart rate-related factors to watch out for include your recovery heart rate – the length of time it takes your heart rate to drop once an exercise session has ended – and a decrease in maximal heart rate. If your heart rate doesn’t drop at least 12 beats in the first minute after exercise, or if your heart rate exceeds 120 bpm after five minutes or 100 bpm after ten minutes then you could possibly of overtrained.
5. Psychological changes
When you are overtrained, you may also experience changes in your mood, apathy, loss of motivation, irritability or depression. Your sleeping patterns also change and can even result in insomnia.