Believe it or not, overtraining can cause injury, muscle fatigue and prevent compliance with established sports goals. This is why you need to be very careful to avoid overloading your muscles or that your workouts are much more challenging than your body can handle. We tell you more about the symptoms and consequences of overtraining in the following article.
What is overtraining?
Overtraining is the excess of exercise in terms of intensity, frequency, and volume of training. This means going to the gym every day, lifting far more weight than we should or choosing disciplines for which we are not prepared, such as a marathon.
But it’s not just about going to bed early or not resting the eight hours of “regular” sleep per night, but also not letting the muscles recover from day to day. When we train daily, the fibers are not reconstituted and it is easier to be injured and feel fatigued.
Overtraining often occurs in professional athletes when there is no good training schedule or if they are preparing for an important competition (for example, boxers or Olympic athletes).
What many people do not realize is that this over-exercise is counterproductive, since it can even ruin a sports career when injuries are very serious or require prolonged treatment.
Overtraining syndrome can be caused by several factors, some of which have to do with your body’s lack of acceptance or performance. Other factors can be, for example, a kind of psychological dependence on the well-being generated by physical exercise which later translates into depression, anxiety or distress during the resting phases.
In the latter case, the action of hormones such as adrenaline (which increases during intense activity) and serotonin (which generates good humor when it is produced in high doses) have to do with overtraining.
The symptoms of overtraining
In theory, everything seems very simple, but in practice, it is not so, especially when we are not able to recognize that we are training too much (or more than our body can support).
The “good news” is that the body gives us very specific signals about it. It is all about paying attention to them. Overtraining has the following consequences:
- Slow or incomplete recovery.
- Continuous muscle pain.
- Persistent fatigue.
- The sensation of tired or “heavy” legs.
- Loss of motivation (or need of increasing challenges).
- Irritability and sudden mood changes.
- Depression, anxiety, anxiety when you are not exercising.
- Changes in appetite (moments of excessive hunger and others of apathy).
- Do not recognize the results in relation to what you are training for (stagnation or regression).
- Sleep problems such as nightmares or insomnia.
- Increased heart rate (pulse) when you are not exercising.
- You need to rest all the time.
- Lack of concentration and memory.
- Muscle cramps.
- Difficulty relaxing (because you have very high adrenaline levels).
- Frequent injuries.
- Unsteady stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, heartburn.
- Susceptibility to respiratory diseases.
How to avoid overtraining?
The manifestations of the fact that you are training too much are different for each athlete. However, the symptoms can be recognized simply by paying attention.
If you have noticed some symptoms of overtraining, it is best to stop exercising for two weeks. Yes, that’s exactly what you’ll have to do, even if it seems impossible at this time of year, with a tight competitive calendar or with the need to achieve a certain goal.
We advise you to contact a professional sports trainer, who will help you establish an effective calendar that includes exercises but above all recovery periods. Maybe the personal trainer will even tell you to reduce the level of intensity or frequency with which you train: listen to them.
Keep in mind that overtraining is not good for your health, both physical and emotional. Unlike what is believed, the consequences of overtraining predispose more to injuries and constitute a setback in everything you have achieved so far. Therefore, in many cases, it is better to stop and rest for a while: your body and your mind will be grateful.