There is a constant debate about the belief in which over-training is real or simply a myth. The truth in the matter, is that there is such thing as over-training and its far from what we believe it is.
When we train in the gym or exercise, the first thing that occurs is that we are breaking down muscle tissue or fibers. In this process, our body will go into a recovery stage for the muscles that have been broken down. During the recovery process, our body will feed our fibers with proper nutrients of not only protein, but sugar and carbohydrates as well as many other nutrients.
The reason for this is to help our muscles repair themselves, and the only way for muscles to repair themselves, is while they are in a recovery period or state. If you are constantly working out the same muscle fibers, chances are that you aren’t allowing your body an adequate amount of time to fully allow the muscle fibers to recover.
Signs of Overtraining
The first steps to take to find out if you are possibly over-training, is to figure out how sore you are becoming after your workouts. If you are a little sore, this is normal and it is not a sign of over-training. Muscle tissues will become sore after most workouts and will heal in the recovery stage within 24-48 hours usually.
However, if you work out and the next few days following the workout you feel that your muscles are constantly in pain and aching, chances are that you are putting your body under too much strain. If this is the case, it can lead to further issues such as increase in muscle pain, joint pain around the worked muscle groups, and even being left restless and more tired compared to normal. If this happens, it is best to take a few days off of the gym to help recover fully.
Although many people will work out hard and be left feeling exhausted and the next day have aching muscle groups in which they believe they are extremely sore, this isn’t always a sign of over-training. Simply mistaking a sore body part with what is believed to be a torn down muscle fiber that requires more days for recovery is usually the case with most people.
However, if for any reason you do feel like you are over-training and need more time to recover, you should:
✓ Feed your body with proper amount of nutrients
✓ Hydrate fully
Sometimes lacking a sufficient amount of water can lead to muscle cramps and spasms which can potentially create an increase in muscle soreness. Also, I recommend making sure that you are sleeping enough. If you are averaging around 4-6 hours of sleep, there is a chance that your body isn’t resting enough and in this case can lead to muscle soreness due to lack of recovery, since our muscles recover most when we are in a state of rest.
Increasing Your Results
If you are one of the people who lifts weights 5-7 days a week, maybe it will yield greater results if you alter your training schedule. Try training 4 days a week with around 3 days of rest to help promote muscle growth.
A 4 day split of training body parts with 3 days of rest is a great approach to take if you are feeling constantly sore after working out for 5-7 days a week. Don’t ever feel like you have to train every single day in order to achieve results. If your goal is to lose 30lbs of fat or gain 30lbs of muscle, constantly working out 7 days a week doing cardio and lifting weights isn’t always going to yield the greatest results.
Adjust your schedule if you feel like you are in a state of plateau of that your results are slacking. Sometimes a little time off will help get past the idea that you are not seeing results and help prevent any possibility of over training. With any sport or athlete, it is very possible for over-training to be an issue, however, if you aren’t in a state in which you feel extremely tired, increase levels in muscle or body soreness, and even the possibility of being sick physically or mentally, chances are that you aren’t over-training.
Take Home Message
If any of the above is a present issue, you could very well be over-training your body and I recommend to take a few days off and consume an appropriate amount of food to help replenish your bodies nutrients. It is very important to make sure you eat enough food, drink enough water, stretch, and sleep a healthy amount daily in order to prevent the risk of over training from occurring.