Are you overtraining? I will guess that your automatic answer will be ‘No’ but did you even think about the answer before you said it? Overtraining actually affects far more people than is generally realized. In fact, many people aren’t getting the maximum benefit from their workout programs because of regular states of semi-overtraining.
Why does this happen?
First of all there are no clear cut boundaries or rules for overtraining. It’s not like you can say, “Oh I worked out 5 times this week for a total of 10 hours therefore based on my bodyweight and age I am not overtrained. It is a direct result of everything that your body is currently dealing with along with workouts such as stress, sleep, food, and injury or sickness.
Generally speaking many of us try and do too much. We push as hard as we can and then hit a wall. This happens in many facets of life where we feel we can do anything with the right attitude and overcome any limitations. But in the case of overtraining, you can’t.
When you get to a state where your body can’t fully recover there is no mental ‘pep talk’ that you can give yourself to make it better. You body needs one thing and one thing only; rest. The recovery system has been overwhelmed and now can’t catch up which creates a vicious cycle. Yes, you see videos of elite athletes pushing themselves continually and saying you have to ‘want it’ but what you don’t see is the chef preparing their food, the 8 hours of sleep they get every night, or the post workout massage and protein shake they enjoy.
Your body needs rest and you can never get around that.
Let’s Be Honest
Do you get enough rest? Per numerous studies the majority people either get too little sleep or not restful enough sleep. That means your body probably doesn’t have the time to go through a proper rest and recuperation phase (which is also where muscle strength and growth gains come into play). Maybe it was a rough week at work or you had projects to do. Obviously you want to be healthy so you won’t skip out on the gym; instead you skip out on some sleep and drink more coffee the next day.
But that only increases the problem.
What is the easiest way to always avoid overtraining? Add an extra day of rest to your schedule each week. Many people get overly concerned that they will lose valuable gains in muscle and weight loss from taking a day off. But the body functions better and more efficiently when well rested compared to when stressed. Do you know how you feel after a great vacation where you have a few days of getting full nights of sleep? That is your body responding with a higher level of energy because of the rest.
So take that attitude about your weekly schedule. Give yourself an extra rest day and instead of filling up that time you would spend at the gym with chores give yourself a break. Go to bed earlier or relax and read a book.
Also pay plenty of attention to your diet. Proper fuel is always vital for a body to be able to recuperate and recover. If you train hard then you should expect to also rest hard and recover hard if you truly want the best results.