What is overtraining? According to the Harvard Health Publications, overtraining is “the point at which an athlete is training so hard for so many hours that recovery does not occur with usual periods of rest.” They also make the point that overtraining varies from person-to-person and that it is extremely individualistic.
Classic symptoms of overtraining include fatigue, sore muscles, and the inability to perform at the level of which you are normally able to do. Too often, especially those who are training without the help of a personal trainer, think that they need to keep pushing their limits in terms of duration and intensity. They then run the risk of suffering burnout. Personal trainers will be mindful of this and build in appropriate rest or lower intensity days to allow for muscle repair.
There are important tips you can incorporate into your training program to help avoid overtraining. According the Harvard paper, the top five ways to avoid overtraining are:
- Endurance training — make sure your do not have more than three consecutive days of endurance training.
- Resistance training — consider balancing hard resistance days followed by a day of rest or lower intensity workouts.
- Look for Symptoms — if you start feeling like you are suffering from fatigue or your body is not responding as you expect, then consider backing off and budget additional rest. The great thing about our bodies is that they will tell you if it has had enough. Be sure to listen.
- Eat right — give your body the fuel it needs to perform. Getting good, balanced meal will help to jumpstart your workouts and give you the energy you need to function.
- Plenty of Sleep — fatigue can be mental as well as physical. When an athlete starts to falter, often times it is the mind getting tired, bringing down the rest of the body. Sleep keeps you mentally focused and allows for good muscle repair.
Interested in reading more? Check out our Top Five Reasons People Exercise