Shari Duncan

Facts about OVERTrAINING….

by on Feb.14, 2010, under Fitness, Natural Bodybuilding

Over-training occurs when we strive to improve performance and train beyond the body’s ability to recover.

Many athletes train too hard and too long. Over training takes place when muscles are not given the necessary recovery time. Unfortunately the desire to improve often results in over training. Many spend way too much time in the gym. When their efforts fail to give them results, they increase their workout time. And when that doesn’t work, they increase it more and eventually become frustrated, deciding that they just can’t build muscle no matter what they do. But, what is so difficult for many of us to grasp is that muscles will not grow or become stronger without sufficient recovery time.  —In fact, quite the opposite takes place. Performance suffers, and often injuries occur.

training log

Keep a training and nutrition log to monitor gains and progress

Athletes strive to push to maximum ability in order to improve. However, when training exists without allowing  for recovery time,  muscles stay in a stressed condition. It is normal for muscles to be sore when worked hard but be aware that there can be a fine line when balancing training intensity and overtraining.

In order to maximize and obtain desired results, it is vital to plan rest cycles into your training plan. This will help prevent overtraining. During the rest period:

  • eat carbohydrates
  • get a full night’s sleep
  • drink plenty of fluids
  • eat carbohydrates

Adequate rest cycles helps the body fully recover glycogen storage in muscles and liver, and enzyme systems within the muscle cells. During the rest period these systems overcompensate for the workout, which (if you have sufficient rest) causes your muscles to increase strength. The recovery period is very important to avoid overtraining muscles.

The Dangers of Overtraining

Simply stated, overtraining is when the body becomes overwhelmed by the demands being placed on it and is often referred to as “burn out”.

Muscles must be given time to heal. Recovery time varies by individual and the intensity of the workout. If your muscles seem to stay sore, take a break from training.

When the body incurs more damage than it has the opportunity to repair and rebuild, we become in danger of overtraining syndrome.  The goal of weight training is to initiate small tears in muscle tissue with the expectation that the body will then repair and rebuild that tissue to be stronger. These tears are necessary to stimulate muscle growth but they are, even if just temporarily, muscle damage.

If the body is not allowed the opportunity to adequately repair this damage,  overtraining ensues. OTS (overtraining Syndrome) is a progressive condition. If the training cycle continues beyond the body’s repair capabilities, OTS will continue to advance and further averting gains in the gym.

Symptoms of Overtraining:

Train Hard ...But Rest & Recovery is Vital for RESULTS!

Train Hard ...But Rest & Recovery are Vital for RESULTS!

Be receptive to the symptoms of muscle overtraining. Some of the signs are:

  • increased fatigue
  • physically tired
  • exercising often but not improving
  • chronic and persistent sore muscles
  • pain in tendons when moved
  • lower resistance to colds, sore throat
  • easily angered; depressed

How much rest does the body need?

The rate with which the body can properly repair and rebuild muscle tissue will vary by the individual.

Determining the correct training volume and intensity, eating the right foods, and getting the right amount of rest and recovery are all factors to be taken in to consideration.

To avoid OTS, give the body the opportunity to repair the damage

You must give the body adequate rest.

Supplementing with glutamine has also been shown to speed up recovery.

The intensity in which you train impacts how much recovery time you need. If the ultimate goal is to increase muscularity and gain mass,  then training must be done with maximum intensity. That said,  and done correctly —  a mass gain training session places great stress on the body.

To achieve maximum muscle gain, you must respect the value of adequate rest to the muscle building process. To work past a plateau, increased training can sometimes be effective but just as likely; backing off may be the answer to restarting muscle growth.

Proper nutrition is vital to recovery for strenuous workouts. Diet plays a huge role in any muscle building program. It helps regulate hormone levels, provides energy, and provides the raw building blocks used to create new tissue.  A couple of very important things to consider: Don’t skip breakfast. Skipping breakfast is very catabolic, and can promote muscle loss. Don’t allow too much time between meals – eat small, frequent meals. If you’re trying to build muscle mass, you have to constantly feed your body quality foods so that it never has the chance catabolize muscle tissue. Eat every 2-3 hours to ensure that your body remains in an anabolic state.

Rest and recovery is essential when it comes to avoiding over-training. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep nightly, and try to keep to a consistent schedule. As for recovery time, incorporate days off between weight training workouts. Try to have one rest day between strength-training sessions, and do not train the same muscle groups on consecutive days.

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