You may of heard of the term Overtraining. It’s pretty self explanatory, you are exercising too much.
Overtraining signs and symptoms can be:
- Overuse Injuries
- General Fatigue
- Lack of Enthusiasm
- Development Plateaus
- Results Reversal
Overtraining is not good. The key to getting the most from your workouts is managing your work verses rest ratio. Workout too much and you over-train, workout too little and you under-train.
So how do you get it right? Well first lets look at the actual rebuilding process:
The Super Compensation Process
Results achieved via exercise are due to what we call the Supercompensation Cycle.
The process is pretty simple to understand. Here’s a very simple explanation:
- You perform your workout
- Your body breaks down, called the Catabolic Process
- You recover and rebuild, the Anabolic Process
- You Overcompensate your recovery for the next workout, Supercompensation
So the cycle involves breaking the body down and then building it back up so it is better prepared for the next workout. This process is exactly why we get fitter and stronger and workouts get easier.
The key to success is making sure you workout again after the Supercompensation process has finished and not before. If you exercise each time your body is still trying to recover or during it supercompensation window then you don’t receive the full benefits of the regrowth.
So how do you know if you are overtraining and ready to workout again? Here are 3 options:
Option #1 – Do You Want To Exercise?
This is the most simple gage of whether you are overtraining. Assess your basic willingness to want to workout.
- Do you feel tired?
- Have you lost motivation?
If you usually enjoy training but don’t feel like it that particular day then it may be a sign of overtraining.
This method is the most simple but it has obvious flaws. For example, not everyone is enthusiastic about exercise. Use this assessment as a simple gage and nothing more. Just listen to your body and see what it is telling you.
Option #2 – Are You Progressing?
Another simple way to see if you are overtraining. Let your workout results tell you if you are over doing it.
- Are you getting stronger and lifting more each workout?
- Are you times and fitness levels improving?
If you are not improving by at least 1% each workout then it’s time to take another days rest.
Option #3 – Monitor Your Heart Rate Each Morning
When you exercise your body is knocked out of homeostasis or off centre and it usually takes 24-48 hours to return to normal depending on the intensity of the session.
In order to repair your body and return your balance of homeostasis the blood is used to transport oxygen and nutrients to repair the effected areas.
The increase in blood required for full body repair results in an increase in your heart rate.
If you check your resting heart rate every morning you will notice an increase in your heart rate when your body is in a state of repair and a decrease when its not. If its higher than usual take another day off.
So, every morning before you get up and at the same time each day, record your resting heart rate. You will soon start to see when you need to take it easy and when you are ready to exercise again.
Using this method is also a great way to predict illness and times to just take it easy 🙂
There are 3 methods you can use to check your resting heart rate:
- Take your pulse at your neck or wrist and count the number of beats per minute
- Strap on your heart rate monitor and relax
- Use a digital blood pressure cuff with a resting heart rate monitor included
No matter which form of heart rate monitoring you use this is a great way to find out where you are in the recovery process.
Putting it into Practice
Now you know 3 ways to check whether you are overtraining its time to put them into practice.
Monitor your workouts using the 3 methods above. If you think that you may be overtraining then take another day off or reduce the intensity of the workout.
Remember that we all recover at different rates based on:
- The Intensity of the Workout
- Your Genetics
- Your Age
- Your Stress Levels
- Your Nutrition
The secret is to look at the big picture and understand that more isn’t always better.
Look after yourself and listen to your body for maximum results.
Over To You
How many times per week do you find you need to exercise to get results?