Overtraining happens to everyone. Last week, you hit your personal record on the bench, but then it all came crashing down. Suddenly, your grip strength was terrible, and your elbows ached.
Can you guess what happened?
You over-trained. So, now what? First, you must understand what happened. “Tiny tears form in the muscles that help them grow bigger and stronger as they heal,” says Tommy Boone, Ph. D., a board-certified exercise physiologist. “Soreness only means there are changes occurring in those muscles,” says Boone, “and typically lasts a couple of days.”
You can cause more harm if you don’t give yourself enough time to recover. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention says exercise doesn’t just stimulate muscle growth; it improves your mental health, mood, digestion, hormones, and much more. Before injury strikes, learn the signs that you might need to take a break:
- You are not seeing progress. Have you put in the effort but don’t see the results? That could be over-training. Muscles need time to recover.
- Sudden Changes in Appetite: A decrease in hunger is a common over-training symptom that’s often overlooked. Over-training can cause an uptick in norepinephrine and epinephrine. This can inhibit your appetite.
- Everything hurts. Everyone experiences aches and pains but lifting through the pain is a recipe for disaster. Muscle soreness after a challenging workout is expected, especially after switching your fitness routine. According to Livestrong, you should give your muscles a day or two to recover in between training sessions.
- You’re always tired. Depression, fatigue, and mood swings are good indicators that you’ve overtrained.
- Decreased motivation. Is your body crying for rest? If you suddenly have zero motivation, you may need a break. Rather than going through the motions, save yourself the risk and take a week off. Spend the week focusing on your diet or catching up on sleep.
- You’re getting sick. There are many ways to screw with your immune system. Lack of vitamin D, high-stress levels, poor sleeping habits, and overeating sugar are among many. But if none of these seem relevant, it could mean you’ve over-trained.
By Tobiasz Wolff.