The more the better. Unfortunately that is not true. If you train too hard for a long time, you run the risk of overtraining. In this article you will learn how to prevent this, how to recognize the symptoms and what to do about it.
Overtraining is a physical condition in which you perform worse and worse, despite regular training. You don’t fully recover during the recovery phase. Your body is not able to prepare sufficiently for the next training session and your performance decreases during the following training sessions.
How does overtraining arise?
Overtraining occurs when the balance between training and recovery is no longer good . You train almost daily for a number of weeks and do not let your body recover? And you constantly increase your training volume and intensity? Congratulations! You are well on your way to overtraining.
The road to overtraining is slow and involves several steps.
1. Intentional overload:
This is the point where you get the best training results. You set an incentive during your workout that causes super compensation. Your body gets enough rest after the workout to recover. To do this, you provide your body with enough protein through a healthy and balanced diet. This way your muscles can grow and prepare for the next training session.
2. Permanent overload:
Have you been missing a healthy diet with enough protein and recovery time for a while? This deprives your body of the chance to recover and become stronger. Instead, your ability to perform diminishes over time because your body doesn’t get enough rest after energizing exercise. This means that you can have less weight during your strength training and in endurance sports you simply become slower. The risk of injury also increases with persistent overload.
For a number of weeks you already push your body to the limit and you always take too little rest time. Now you even feel weak with everyday things and you can hardly do anything anymore. Your performance in your training just isn’t getting better? Do you even feel like you are getting weaker? Chances are you have been overtrained.
Symptoms of overtraining – This is how you recognize it
Overtraining has very different effects and they differ from person to person. The symptoms are also different for each person. Sometimes the symptoms are even contradictory from person to person. Here you will find the most common symptoms .
- Extreme muscle pain
- Reduced performance
- Chronic fatigue and sleep problems
- Inner turmoil and unfocused
- Depressed feelings
- Low or high pulse
- Susceptible to disease
- Slower recovery
- Digestive problems (especially diarrhea is common)
- Irritable & aggressive
- Injury sensitive
- Weight gain & muscle breakdown due to hormonal imbalance
- Disturbed eating behavior (no appetite or more appetite)
Now you know the symptoms of overtraining. If you recognize one or more symptoms, it makes sense to slow down your training and give your body some time to recover.
Our tip: Keep a training diary and make regular notes about how often, for how long and what you did in the training. That way you know for sure whether too much is asking of yourself.
Consequences of overtraining
If you don’t do this, at some point you have no choice but to stop. Your body becomes too weak and it can take several weeks, in the worst case even months, for your body to really recover from the overtraining.
Overtraining? – That’s how you treat it
Normally, as an amateur athlete you do not just have to deal with overtraining. Avid athletes and amateur athletes usually only enter the preliminary stage, the unintentional, non-functional overtraining. Usually due to incorrect nutrition and too little recovery time.
True overtraining usually happens to professional endurance athletes and strength athletes. Professionals have a much higher training volume and train with a very different intensity than recreational athletes.
Have you had some of the above symptoms for a long time? Then take it easy . Take a two-day break and slow down your training. That means deliberately walking slower and shorter. Use less weights in your strength training or opt for a lighter HIIT training.
It also makes sense to plan relaxation exercises in your training schedule. Autogenic training, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation are a number of relaxation techniques. More information about relaxation can be found in our article about relaxation techniques.
It may take a while for your body to fully recover from overtraining. Usually a few weeks are enough. However, under certain circumstances, the recovery phase can take months.
Prevent Overtraining – This is how you stop it
The best way to protect yourself from overtraining is, of course, not to let it happen. Always slowly increase your training volume and intensity. Give your body enough time to recover and get enough sleep . This way you can already do a lot to prevent overtraining.
As icing on the cake, you can support your recovery with the right nutrition .
In addition, getting enough sleep helps your body to recover better and recharge the batteries for the day.
What else can you do to prevent overtraining? Plan your workout . Set goals and time for recovery at the same time. This way you can use your recovery days to practice relaxation techniques.
On the days off you can also do something for your mobility .
- Long-term imbalance between training and recovery leads to overtraining.
- Overtraining sometimes has conflicting symptoms.
- Overtraining takes weeks to months for your body to recover.
- You can avoid overtraining by always taking enough time to recover.