October 06, 2022 4 min read
It’s a pretty common belief that if you push yourself too hard in the gym, you’ll eventually over-train and end up hurting your progress. But is this really true? Or is it simply an excuse we use to avoid working hard and pushing ourselves? Let’s have a bit of a closer look at over-training, to find out whether it’s really as some of us might think.
Simply put, over-training is understood to be a result of pushing yourself too hard too frequently in the gym. Symptoms attributed to over-training include: feeling tired and fatigued all the time, having a decreased performance in the gym, or experiencing pain and inflammation in your muscles.
But, if you think you may be over-training, maybe you’re just not giving yourself enough of a chance to recover. Three of the biggest ties with under-recovery are – lack of sleep, dehydration and poor nutrition. If you don’t give yourself chance to recover, things might take a more severe turn resulting in you taking a prolonged break from the gym.
It’s important to remember that over-training is not always easy to recognise. If you have any doubts about whether you’re over-training, your best course of action is to speak with a personal trainer like the ones in our PT Academy.
People say they over-train for a variety of reasons, but it’s often caused by a desire to see results as quickly as possible. They believe that if they push themselves hard enough in the gym, they’ll eventually see a big change in their body composition. Others might over-train because they enjoy the feeling of working out hard and pushing their body to its limits and find it fun and challenging, and they don’t want to give it up. And those new to an intense exercise routine may over-train because they think it will help them burn more calories and lose weight faster. If you’re reading this one of these is likely you.
You might have felt the consequences of over-training before and will remember them well, because they can be significant and can include decreased performance, muscle pain and inflammation, and a general feeling of fatigue and tiredness. Sound familiar?
If you’re over-trained and under-recovered, you might find it difficult to complete your regular workouts, and your performance in the gym will likely decrease significantly. You may also experience more muscle pain and inflammation, as well as a general feeling of fatigue and tiredness. This can make it difficult to work out regularly and can even lead to burnout.
In extreme cases, over-training and under-recovering can even lead to serious health problems. So, if you think you may be over-trained, it’s important to take a little longer break from the gym than normal and let your body recover, or at least take your foot of the accelerator a bit. But reducing the length or intensity of your workouts or taking a complete break from the gym altogether for an extra day or two might be beneficial.
It can be tough to know when you’ve pushed your body too hard and are starting to over-train. But if you’re aware of the signs and symptoms of over-training, you can take steps to avoid it.
Stay hydrated! More exercise = more sweat. You need to replenish any hydration lost during your workout. Not only will it help to foster a faster repair and recovery from your workout, but it’ll also help you avoid cramp!
Make sure you eat! Eating after an intensive workout is essential, you need to replenish any carbohydrates and glycogen lost during your workout. The golden triangle of post-workout nutrition includes carbohydrates, protein and fluids to help repair and rebuild your body after all it endured during the workout.
Don’t skip out on sleep. Try and bank between 8-10 hours a night to ensure optimum recovery. Catching a few Zz’s will help more than you think.
Set yourself realistic goals for your workout. Pushing yourself too hard in the gym can actually have negative consequences, so it’s important to find a healthy balance working hard and taking care of your body.
No, not always, really it depends on the individual. Over-training can lead to an increase in muscle mass and strength, as well as a better tolerance to pain and fatigue and a generally higher level of health, fitness and confidence. But without proper recovery, over-training can also lead to decreased performance, muscle pain and inflammation, and a general feeling of fatigue and tiredness. So, it’s important to find a healthy balance between working hard and taking care of your body.
So, no matter how hard you push yourself during a workout, the key way to truly give yourself the best chance of not overtraining, and causing yourself health issues, is by giving yourself the proper time to recover, every time. And remember drink plenty of water keep your diet rich in protein to aid muscle growth and muscle recovery and make sure you get the sleep you need. Stick with these things consistently and you’ll find that the negative results of over-training will lessen or disappear altogether!
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