11 signs of OVERTRAINING (and what to do about it!)
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Overtraining Syndrome / Douglas Cutter, MD, CAQSM
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Are You Overtraining? (Simple Test)
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Overtraining is a collection of symptoms. It has more in common with chronic fatigue and depression than it does with sore muscles and a lack of gains. Overtraining is when you continuously push your body to its limits without giving it proper rest.
You can’t do this in a week or even in a couple weeks. You’ll have a lack of focus and energy, apathy, no motivation, and sometimes a headache. Working out too hard can overload the hormonal system. You can produce too much cortisol, which elevates inflammation and depletes testosterone.
It can take months to recover from real overtraining, but you’re probably not overtrained. Someone will tell you that stress (training or otherwise) is like a faucet flowing into a sink. Then your recovery is like the drain at the bottom of the sink.
If you increase training stress and other stresses so that they are too much for the drain to process, then stress will accumulate and you’ll be overtrained. Overtraining syndrome is a long-term decrease in performance with other severe symptoms, lasting two months or longer, that is not explained by other causes such as disease [*]. Another name for overtraining syndrome is unexplained underperformance syndrome[*].
As you can see, each of these terms applies to different degrees of the same problem. Overtraining happens when the intensity and/or the frequency of your runs exceeds your body’s ability to recover from the training load. This is usually blamed on doing too many hard runs in a row without enough rest or appropriate training periodization.
“Overtraining” is a buzzword that is tossed around the fitness community. It’s the result of pushing your body past its threshold, and it causes symptoms like fatigue, apathy towards workouts, persistent muscle soreness or joint pain, lack of gains, and lowered immunity. Essentially, it leaves you out of balance. Bowel and digestive issues can also be a sign. “Overtraining can disrupt your liver’s ability to properly break down nutrients, which can lead to leaky gut syndrome, bouts of diarrhea or constipation,” says Falamas. When you’re overtrained, your body may not be able to produce enough of the enzymes used in the digestion process.” Pro Tip.
Overtraining is a condition where your training intensity or volume exceeds your ability to recover. In simple terms, it’s like digging a hole and then trying to fill that hole back in with insufficient soil. The main culprit of overtraining syndrome are the stress hormones, namely cortisol. If you’ve ever overtrained, you know how bad it feels.
Even if staying in bed and watching Netflix may be fun for a few days, you probably get sick of it pretty quick. So try and learn from your mistakes. Here’s what you can do to prevent overtraining again: Keep a workout diary. Overtraining occurs when it takes weeks or months to recover.
This is actually an extremely rare occurrence—as long as nutrition and supplementation are adequate. Further, unlike overtraining, which is negative, overreaching can actually be beneficial in a well-structured training split.
List of related literature:
|from NSCA’s Guide to Program Design|
|from Routledge Handbook of Applied Sport Psychology: A Comprehensive Guide for Students and Practitioners|
|from The Essential Guide to Fitness|
|from The Sport Psych Handbook|
|from Sports Science Handbook: I-Z|
|from Study Guide for the Board of Certification, Inc., Athletic Trainer Certification Examination|
|from Fast After 50: How to Race Strong for the Rest of Your Life|
|from The Active Female: Health Issues Throughout the Lifespan|
|from Physiology of Sport and Exercise|
|from Natural Bodybuilding|