Sep 172010

Effect of Over-Training

  1. Nervous System – Over-training effects both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system in negative ways:  higher resting heart rate, weak appetite, high blood pressure, irritability, and early onset of fatigue.  If you are experiencing more than one of these symptoms, you may be training too much and need to immediately evaluate your routine.
  2. Immune System – Your body’s first line of defense against viruses and bacteria is your immune system.  Too intense and too frequent training sessions decrease the levels of antibodies and lymphocytes in your body, making you much more susceptible to illness.  You are more likely too get sick and stay ill for a longer period of time.  While you are sick, you will have to skip workouts and the benefits you were diligently working to achieve will slow considerably.
  3. Metabolic System – The symptoms of your metabolic system suffering from too much training are: slow, weak muscle contractions, depleted creatine phosphate stores, excessive accumulation of lactic acid, extreme delayed onset of muscle soreness, and tendon and connective tissue damage.  These symptoms are the ones that are the most commonly discussed and simply cannot be ignored.

Determining if Someone is Over-Training

Determining if you are currently over-training is straight forward it you are in tune with your body and leads to early detection.

  1. If you are losing interest in workouts, are having trouble sleeping, and feel weak and irritable, then you may be in an over-training state and should take a week or two off.
  2. Are you experiencing two or more symptoms outlined above?  This should be a red flag and cause for a workout routine re-examination.
  3. Is your physical performance continuing to improve?  For example, if you were able to do eight body weight pull-ups in the last session, but only six pull-ups this session, then this is a sign that your body has not full recovered from the previous workout.  You need to reassess your program and potentially make modifications so that you see progress in every workout.

Over-Training Prevention

You can use multiple approaches to avoid over-training by: determining your correct training frequency and intensity, eating the right foods, and getting the right amount of rest.

  1. Correct training frequency – Determining the correct training frequency can be difficult when you are first starting out.  You need to use your judgment based on your recovery ability and methods.  Remember the goal is to improve every single session, and if that is not happening, consider decreasing either the frequency or intensity of your workouts.  Many athletes go wrong here, if you are realizing that you have not fully recovered from the previous workout, then the prudent action is to skip the workout and go home for more rest.
  2. Proper Nutrition – Your diet plays a huge role in your muscle building program by regulating your hormone levels, providing energy, and providing the raw building blocks used to create new tissue.  Do not skip the most important meal of the day, breakfast.  Even if you are trying to reduce your weight, never go to a training session on an empty growling stomach and consider eating small, but healthy meals, every couple of hours to keep your body in an anabolic state.
  3. Rest and Recovery – R&R is essential when it comes to over-training prevention.  Make sure you are sleeping at least seven hours a night and try to keep your bedtime on a consistent schedule.  It is important that you have days off between intense training sessions.  If you are doing weight training, then have one day of rest between workouts and never train the same muscle groups on consecutive days.

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