Despite what people believe, working out 6 days a week for 3 hours a day does more harm then good. Quality over quantity. Along with the mental drain that comes with overtraining there are physical tolls. Overtraining occurs when your body experiences physical stress from exercise, faster then it can repair and recuperate.
There are 2 different types of overtraining:
- Monotonous Program Overtraining. This suggests that repetitions of the same movement such as weight lifting can cause a plateau in your training and progress. Your central nervous system adapts to the motions after a period of time.
- Chronic Overwork Type Training. Training with high intensity and not allowing your body time to recover in between sets, or between workouts.
There are numerous signs and symptoms to look for when your body is “overtrained”.
- A major one being constant muscle soreness. Your muscles don’t seem to be recovering like they usually do, they have been sore and achey for days.
- Persistent fatigue is another one, if you are physically drained and tired. Your body genuinely needs a break.
- An elevated resting heart rate is also an indicator that your body needs a break as well.
- When you wear your body down through physical trauma (such as exercise) your immune system gets broken down. When people are overtrained they are more susceptible to illness, with a proper training program and adequate rest, that can be avoided.
- There is also a higher chance of being injured. Your body is not recovering properly. You are wearing it down constantly. That increases your chance of injury.
- Irritability. This is where overtraining affects your mental state. You become irritable, and tired.
In my opinion this totally defeats the purpose of exercise. Physical activity is meant to improve health, your mentality and prevent you from injuring yourself by strengthening your body.
To treat overtraining there are a few things you can do, the most obvious of all is REST. Take a day or two from exercising. Reduce intensity for a few days. Switch up your training schedule, make specific rest days so you know that you will be getting accurate rest. Increase sleep, go to bed earlier or make time to sleep in. Massages and stretching help with muscle soreness. Also, ensure that your calorie intake is enough to help your body heal.
A great way to ensure that you are recovering properly even while training is intervals, and rest periods. It is important to push yourself and train with intensity, but rest! I personally train four days a week. I have found this to be the best for my body. I have never felt so good while training and when I need rest I can feel it. Each individual is different and requires a program that suits them. The “have to train everyday” mentality is not necessary and can be harmful to your training. Listen to your body and give it the rest it needs, and kick ass when you are training.