The term overtraining refers to a physical condition caused by persistent too high and too frequent training impulses, without maintaining sufficient regeneration phases between the individual training intervals. Overtraining in strength or endurance sports can lead to significant physical injury, without the athlete itself is aware. Chronic fatigue, injury and eventually rapid muscle loss are the serious symptoms that overtraining can trigger. Especially in bodybuilding, the consequences of overtraining are obvious, as in this sport, a maximum muscle growth is to be achieved quickly and therefore trained with great intensity and with the heaviest weights for a long time.

How does overtraining affect the health of the athlete?

Overtraining can have an adverse effect on the sympathetic as well as on the parasympathetic nervous system. Higher heart rate, continued loss of appetite, increased blood pressure, rapid weight loss, and persistent sleep disturbances are just some of the negative symptoms that overtraining can cause. Especially an increased irritability with an unwanted aggressiveness in combination with fatigue are serious consequences of overtraining. Hormones, which play an essential role in muscle building, are also affected by overtraining. Overtraining can result in decreased testosterone and thyroxine levels and increased cortisol levels, which can lead to rapid muscle loss. Exercising may also reduce the number of antibodies and white blood cells in the body, which in turn can cause colds and disease. To help you understand the consequences of overtraining in muscle tissue, here are some examples of health problems:

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  • single micro cracks in the muscle tissue 
  • a chronically reduced glycogen level 
  • slowly weakened muscle contractions
  • a reduced creatine phosphate storage
  • an excessive accumulation of lactic acid in the tissue
  • an excessive hyperacidity of the muscle tissue
  • Damage to tendons, ligaments and connective tissue

How does overtraining occur?

The term overtraining is understood to mean a training session in which the training volume and the intensity of the exercise routines are too high over a long period of time. If the trained body does not have enough time to recover, a new training session may cause health damage before the end of the necessary physical recovery time. If the training sessions are increased and the regeneration phases are not adapted to the strenuous new training intervals, it can lead to a rapid decline in performance. This overtraining can cause a lowering of the luteinizing hormone, which can lead to decreased testosterone production in the male athlete and even to a disturbed menstrual cycle in the athlete. Therefore it is important to know that training volume and training intensity are always closely related. If the training volume is high, the training intensity should be relatively low. In an overtraining, the athletes have now chosen the highest intensities together with the largest training volume. Overtraining also occurs when exercising daily, or when too many sets or workouts have been incorporated into a workout plan.

How to avoid overtraining?

In order to avoid overtraining, you need a personalized training plan, not too high intensity, proper nutrition and sufficient regeneration phases with enough sleep. Pay special attention to the signals of your body, which give you exactly the decisive commands, so you know when you have to finish the training. Sore muscles do not have to be the result of overtraining. Sore muscles only affect individual muscle groups and do not prevent you from exercising, while overtraining pollutes the entire body and can only be eliminated by sufficient rest periods.

The right diet against overtraining

Your diet plays a vital role in your muscle building program. It is important for the regulation of the hormone balance, it provides you with energy and forms the basis for new muscle tissue. Always make sure that you have a generous and nutritious breakfast. If this most important meal is not kept, you risk a catabolic state and thus the reduction of muscle mass. If hunger sensations should occur immediately a food intake. Especially when muscle mass is to be built up, the body must be supplied with high-quality nutrients. Feeling hungry before a workout should be avoided. One hour after completing exercise, you should have an extensive meal. Always make sure to eat a snack or protein shake at least every 2-3 hours to keep your body in an anabolic state. The workouts should last no longer than a maximum of 60 minutes and if you suddenly feel tired and tired, the workout must be stopped immediately. These symptoms are mostly signs that the recovery phase has not been long enough since the last session. You should therefore always keep a recovery day between the individual training days and never stimulate the same muscle groups on subsequent training days.

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