29 Mar Are You An Exercise Addict? 3 Steps To Overcome Overtraining.

OvertrainingA serious problem with strength training is actually doing too much of it.

This is kind of funny, but exercising too much is almost as bad as not exercising at all (well, maybe not that bad).

What I’m talking about here is overtraining.

I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of this exercise sin in the past.

Training too much can really sabotage your results in a big way.

My guess is that 20% or more of regular exercisers overtrain or overreach and may not even know it.

Are you in that 20%?

Listen, I love to train.  I absolutely love it.

I want to train everyday, but that wouldn’t make sense for a lot of reasons.

As a matter of fact, for the goals I want, that would be pretty stupid.

How do you know if you’re overtraining?

Here are some of the classic signs:

  • chronic fatigue (joint and/or muscle pain or discomfort)
  • feeling tired all the time
  • decreased appetite
  • chronic or persisting injury
  • decreased training performance (or stuck in a plateau)
  • losing interest in training
  • persistent illness or feeling run down

WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?

The first step is to recognize and accept that you may be doing too much.

If you have any of the signs above, you may be overtraining.

The second step is to immediately reduce your training frequency, intensity, and volume.

At least for a little while so that you can recover appropriately and decide on what it is you really want.

Allow your body to recover optimally.

Burn this in your brain, rest and recovery is essential to getting great gains.

Let me tell you, there is nothing wrong with scaling things back sometimes.

This is necessary to avoid burnout.

The smart athletes and experienced exercisers apply the principles of periodization.

Periodization is simply training for a specific goal over a specific period of time, usually 4 to 12 weeks.

After this time there can be a built in rest or “de-load” period and then a new periodized approach with changes in training methods, reps, volume, etc. to match the new specified goal.

This approach not only allows for significant progress, but adequate rest and recovery, if done properly.

There are many things to consider when looking at why overtraining occurs.

Usually, most people that are overtraining train too frequently.

People training 5, 6, or even 7 days per week!

Sorry, but this is way too much for most people and if you’re training 7 days a week, you’ve got an unhealthy addiction.

Yes, I’ve actually heard people brag about training every day.  Well, that’s definitely not something to brag about.

Remember what I said about rest and recovery?

Now, if you’re training for a competition or athletic event, then increased training frequency is necessary and could be gradually progressive up to the date of the event.

Increased training frequency may be a really good thing, depending on the goal.

Again, it depends.

This is where the periodized approach is very effective.

Overtraining is simple to overcome.

Follow these 3 steps to avoid this HUGE training mistake that will, no doubt, sabotage your results and performance:

  1. Recognize the signs of overtraining. 
  2. Immediately cut back your training for one week minimum.  Rest and recover appropriately.
  3. Decide what it is you want and follow a specific periodized program to achieve that result – with periods of “de-load.”

It’s simple.

Simple is not always easy.

As much as well all love to train, you must understand what overtraining is and what to do about it.

Hope this helps in your training progressions.

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