4 Signs You May Be Overtraining!
Are you not getting the most out of your workouts? Are you feeling tired or drained? If this is the case, you may be overtraining your muscles. It is possible to do too much and actually prevent your body from achieving the results that you desire.
You do not always get back what you put in, when it comes to bodybuilding. Sometimes doing less is more.
When you over-train, your immune system becomes suppressed, your neuroendrine system becomes compromised, your muscles do not have adequate time to recover, your energy stores become depleted, your cognitive functioning becomes impaired, and your performance level decreases.
If you are unable to complete workouts that were once fairly easy to you, overtraining may be the reason. Despite lifting consistently, you may be lifting less weight than normal. For runners, you may feel like your legs are just really heavy, and even light jogs may become difficult.
It may be a good idea to have a workout log in which you record your progress. If performance begins to suffer, you may have a big problem.
If you have an idea of what your normal resting heart rate is, then it is a good idea to compare it to the “over-trained” resting heart rate. Your resting heart rate should not increase, so if it is higher, despite constant physical activity, this could be a problem.
As a result of too much training, your body’s immune system begins to suffer. When your immune system is hurting, you are more likely to become sick.
There are always going to be days where you just do not have it. You do not have that typical energy and excitement, and your workout is a drag. However, if this is what most of your workouts have become, then it is a sign of a problem. You may be overtraining and your body is crying for a break.
– You do not allow your body/muscles to rest between workouts
– Your workouts may be too intense
– You increase your training load when your body is not ready for it
– Your workouts are too long
If you feel your body starting to wear down, and it feels like you need to take a break to recover, take one! Your body sends lots of signals, and it is up to you to read them. Sometimes, simply taking a few off days to give your body a chance to recover makes all the difference.
“Better” can mean a lot of different things, depending on the person. On a general basis, it is important to stay hydrated, to limit processed, high calorie junk food, and to consume an adequate amount of calories for your goals.
You might need to increase your protein intake and lower your carbohydrate intake. Often times, a simple change in diet can be the world of difference.
Try to consume more high-quality meats, vegetables, and nuts, while decreasing foods highly processed, high in trans fat, and high in sugar. And if you are bodybuilding, make sure to consume an adequate supply of calories. Rice and pasta are good sources for extra calories.
I personally believe that multivitamins are unnecessary, and often times, even detrimental. However, if you know you will not eating an adequate supply of vitamin-packed whole foods, then it could be helpful to take a multivitamin.
You could be deficient in many important vitamins and minerals that could be effecting your workouts. Low levels of magnesium, iron, and calcium are often associated with overtraining.
When purchasing a multivitamin, try to find whole-food vitamins, rather than synthetic vitamins. It is almost always better to consume a whole food than it is to consume a synthetic alternative.
It is absolutely necessary that you are getting enough sleep. When you sleep, your body recharges, and your muscles recover. If you are not sleeping enough, your body will break down and you will not get the most out of your workouts.
On a general basis, anywhere from 6-10 hours a night is sufficient. Every person is different, however. A good experiment to do, to see how much sleep you specifically need, is to sleep without an alarm for a week.
Go to sleep at the same time every day and see at what time you naturally wake up. This will give you a good estimate to how much sleep your body really needs.
If you plan on working out 4-7 days a week, a workout split is essential. If you do not give each muscle group at least 48-72 hours to recover between workouts, you will stunt your muscle growth.
You can workout every day, as long as you do different muscle groups each day. For example, if you lift legs on Monday, you can do chest Tuesday, and back on Wednesday. Never do the same muscle group on consecutive days, though. If you only have 3 days to workout, then performing 3 full-body workouts may be a good idea (i.e. Monday, Wednesday, Saturday)
An example 5 day split can look something like this:
Sunday – Legs, core
Monday – Chest, Triceps, Shoulders
Tuesday – Back, Biceps
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Legs, core
Friday – Chest, back
Saturday – Off
If you have noticed that you are experiencing signs and symptoms of overtraining, it might be a good idea to a take a week off to recover. I know this is really difficult, but your muscles will not fall off, and you may benefit from the new start. You will feel energized and invigorated to get back to the gym.
You can also simply lower the frequency of your workouts, or the intensity.
It may also be a good idea to perform some restorative workouts, such as yoga, massage, or deep-tissue stretching. Incorporating this into your weekly routine can work miracles for you.
This is not an excuse to workout less! This is for those who really go hard every day at the gym and are starting to feel overworked. If you are performing a couple low-intensity workouts a week for 30 minutes, you are most likely not overtraining.
Your body grows when you are resting. If your body does not have sufficient tools in which to build with, you may be doing more harm than good. Make sure to eat well, rest, sleep, and perform restorative exercises, in order to keep your body fresh, and your workouts intense.
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About Danny Maman My name is Danny Maman. I have a real passion for health and fitness and enjoy having a life that revolves around this. I have my bachelor's degree in exercise science with a minor in allied health. I am also a certified personal trainer with ACE and am a former college basketball player.