The truth about overtraining

muscle building

If the progress in the gym does not work out as planned, the concept of the overtraining fast in the back of many trainees around. However, in practice, performance stagnation due to overtraining is much less common than you might think because, as a rule, stagnation is due to the neglect of other factors such as diet and exercise intensity. As a result, especially young athletes who do not exercise four times a week for six hours and are also favored by their hormonal milieu should first check other parameters. For experienced athletes, the onset of central nervous system overuse is much more common and associated with some warning signals, which we would like to explain to you in this article.  

How to recognize overtraining

Even though there are only a few sports science studies dealing with overtraining as such, it is certain that such negative phenomena can occur more frequently in athletes who demand too much or too much from their bodies over many years and decades. Although it is possible for the organism in the medium term to absorb short-term regeneration times through adaptation, in the long term this process reaches its limits. The result is the classic overtraining, which affects especially the central nervous system. In addition to the CNS, of course, the muscles are affected by the effects. An exemplary consequence that directly affects your performance is overload-induced rhabdomyolysis, which results in partial resolution of striated muscle fibers. In order not to stir up false panic, we would like to point out explicitly at this point that actual overtraining relatively rarely occurs in relation to the total number of exercisers. Whether you are in overtraining, you can easily check on the following four factors. If you recognize more than the mentioned warning signals with you, you can take this as an indication and you should treat your body accordingly a small break.

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Warning signal 1 - You are weaker than usual

In order to monitor and document your performance over the long term, it is imperative that you keep a meticulous record of every set and every repetition and weight used in a training session. If you omit this important step, it can happen, especially in the course of completely natural fluctuations in performance, that you falsely think you are in overtraining. For example, if you feel particularly good on a day and have a significant improvement in performance, it is unlikely that you will be able to repeat that achievement on a "normal" day in the short term. However, if the variables that underlie your training remain the same, and your power output decreases significantly over a longer period of time than just a single workout, then you should consider this as a warning signal.

Warning signal 2 - You feel listless and beaten off

If you have problems getting up in the morning, just choking your breakfast down and creeping around the gym in the gym, this may also be a warning sign that you're starting overtraining. In order to exclude misdiagnosis, however, other factors which may result in similar symptoms should be specifically excluded. If you feel listless and beaten, you should first turn your environment upside down and search for alternative causes. Often factors such as stress at work, pressure to perform at the university or a tense relationship with the life partner are reasons for the lethargy experienced.  

Warning signal 3 - You suddenly lose a lot of weight

When you suddenly look thin in the mirror in the morning, it's high time to get on the scales to check that you have not lost an unusually large amount of weight. This is especially the case if, despite hard training, you are not providing your body with enough nutrients to regenerate adequately. If you find such a change, you should urgently check your diet, because even if your organism has enough macronutrients, this does not mean that he would be adequately supplied. In most cases, it lacks micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, which your body also needs for regeneration. Most commonly, this phenomenon occurs in recreational athletes who are currently in a diet phase and are not supplying their body with enough micronutrients despite permanently hard training. In any case, make sure that your nutrient supply is adequate to the stress you are putting on your body.

Warning signal 4 - You become vulnerable to illness and injury

As already indicated, the lack of regeneration in the context of overtraining also directly affects your physical health, so that weaken the systems that keep you injury-free and protect against disease. If you are permanently struggling with seemingly intractable infections or notice that minor muscular injuries are piling up, even though you are usually unbreakable, this is a clear warning sign of physical overload. At this point you should definitely take a break from training and consult a doctor who will discuss with you more detailed steps.

A way out of misery

The best way to avoid overtraining is to design a training program that does not stress your body too much and leaves enough time for the essential regenerative processes. Obviously, you want to increase your performance as fast as possible, but without recovery you tend to get the opposite in the long run. The magic word to be named in this context is called periodization. The concept of periodization is used by all successful athletes and describes the division of the training year into different cycles within which different training priorities are set. By distinguishing between periodic strength, hypertrophy and strength endurance training, you ensure that your organism is as versatile as possible and therefore reduces the likelihood of one-sided overload. Another important component of the periodization is the observance of breaks, which you should integrate into your training schedule every two to three months in the form of a training-free week.