What Is Overtraining?

When more isn’t always better.

If you have ever performed strength training, CrossFit, weightlifting, or been an avid runner before, and done so consistently, you may have experienced overtraining at one point or another. While excessive training is something you want to stay away from, those of us who want to improve will likely encounter this no matter how hard we try. However, there are signs that can shed light on when overuse injuries may be starting and strategies to not only make it go away but also to be proactive on muscle recovery.

There are many beginners who often confuse soreness with overtraining. This is certainly understandable as knowing how much training load one can handle or what training intensity your body can tolerate is more of an unknown. Delayed onset muscle soreness is relatively common but not everyone gets it nor is it an indication your workout was productive.

What Is The Definition Of Overtraining?

Overtraining occurs when a person’s ability to recover from strenuous exercise is exceeded. Overtraining is defined as the point at which a person’s performance in their training efforts decreases. They are training at a load or volume that exceeds their recovery capacity.

How Does It Happen?

Overtraining can occur for a variety of reasons including; too much volume, too high of a training frequency, not enough rest, or sleep deprivation. Individuals that have overtrained usually either stop making progress or even possibly lose strength, muscle, or cardiovascular endurance. Overtraining is often also described as burnout. 

What Types Of Overtraining Are There?

There are various types of overtraining, as well as actions that cause overtraining. For starters, a monotonous program involving repeated repetition of the same movements can lead to performance plateaus. The second type of overtraining is chronic overwork caused by using an excessively high training intensity for an extended period of time. You could also be training at an excessively high session or weekly volume and not recovering sufficiently before your next training session.

What Are Some Of The Things That Happen To Performance

Performance Issues

  • Early-onset of fatigue, sore muscles can happen quickly or you may even feel fatigued even before your training session begins. 
  • Decreased aerobic capacity
  • Poor physical performance – your lifts or repetitions are lower than your previous workout
  • Inability to complete an entire workout
  • It takes longer to recover from your workouts

Signs Or Symptoms It Is Happening

  • Persistent muscle soreness
  • You have consistent aches and pains that do not seem to go away
  • Persistent fatigue or fatigue that continues even after getting adequate rest, usually 48 – 72 hours
  • An increase of injury or joint pain occurring
  • Poor Sleep – this is usually because your body is trying to recover and working overtime
  • You’re more irritable than normal
  • You just feel burnt out and need a break

It is critical to understand the distinction between overtraining and over-reaching. Over-reaching is a deliberate increase in training intensity, or volume, and a way to push yourself beyond what you normally do, but you follow that up with additional rest and/or recovery to compensate for pushing significantly higher for a short period of time. Overwhelming stress is typically resolved in a matter of days.

What To Do When It Happens

If you normally perform active recovery during deloads or breaks, try passive recovery. This really just means not doing anything, except maybe walking. The most effective way to treat the effects of overtraining is to allow the body enough time to recover and there are several ways to do this.

  • Take a complete break from training to allow time for recovery.
  • Reducing your volume, training intensity, or frequency of intense exercise.
  • You can split your training program up in a way where different groups of muscles are worked on different days or some have high intensities one week and lower intensities another week.
  • Do something different. If you normally strength train try Yoga on your week off. 
  • Increase how long you sleep.
  • Get a massage
  • Try using a Sauna
  • Increase your caloric intake so your body has more to recover with

How About Supplements?

Let me be clear, supplements can assist or help but it is certainly less important than the items listed above. Supplements don’t build great physiques, dedication to a strength training program and sound nutrition do. With that said, supplements can aid in recovery, and the right ones can help.

There are definitely safe and scientifically proven products that deliver benefits like increased strength, muscle endurance and growth, reduced recovery time, fat loss, and more but do your research and make sure you are also buying from a reputable company.

You can either be proactive or reactive when it comes to overtraining. I prefer to be proactive and regularly schedule in deloads and breaks in my resistance training routine. This does not mean that overtraining can always be prevented so knowing what you can do is important. 

If you prefer to have programs created for you, use someone with years of training experience, juggling multiple responsibilities, and with a specific time frame in mind. Then Renegade can help.

I want to help you reach your fitness goals and stay healthy at the same time.

To The Core

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