Overtraining syndrome is easy to catch and hard to shake. With new year’s resolutions, goals and dreams in full swing this season, it’s especially something to be careful to avoid. When you’re starting a new routine there are a few things to take seriously so you can avoid being forced to take an unwanted break from working out due to to overtraining syndrome.
Overtraining syndrome occurs when the body is exercised at a frequency and intensity that exceed its recovery time. How can you tell if you’re over training? The results of overtraining can include exhaustion, a loss of progress in both strength and cardiovascular fitness and injury. Feeling sluggish after a workout instead of energized and having disrupted sleep patterns are also symptoms. If you’ve been overtraining, take enough time off to heal fully even it seems like forever. Of course, the best way to treat overtraining is to avoid it in the first place. Here are 4 ways to prevent it from sabotaging your plans for the new year.
1) Food is fuel. Make sure your diet isn’t the reason workouts aren’t going well. Eat enough calories to give you the energy you need to get through the day and replenish post workout. Stick with quality whole foods and remember that the what you put in is what you get out.
2) Mix it up. Your body needs constant change to keep adapting, getting stronger and improving. If you start to lose motivation or get bored, throw something new into your routine. Try a spin class or kick boxing while alternating hard and easy days to give yourself excitement and variety.
3) Take recovery and rest days seriously. Your next workout is only as good as your last recovery. If you’re not foam rolling or hitting mobility drills each day your body is going to get worn out quickly. Rest and recovery are just as important as exercise and not giving your body enough time to recover from strenuous exercise will inevitably cause fatigue, moodiness, and injury. Take at least one day a week away from the gym or running and be serious about it. Use the rest day(s) to replenish the things your body has burned through, like carbohydrates, proteins, fluids and sleep.
4) Listen to your body. Still feeling sluggish four days after a hard workout? Are your knees or shoulders hurting more than they should? Is soreness sticking around beyond two days? Is your performance slipping? These are all signals your body gives to let you know it needs a break. An extra day or two or five off won’t ruin the gains you’ve made. Take the time to recover your body is asking for and you’ll not only feel better, but come back to better results.