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Effective training is a combination of three classical processes: workout, rest, and recovery.
When you train hard, you need enough time to usual sleep and to the muscle recovery period. Otherwise, working too hard would not give a good outcome. And what is worse, it may lead to overtraining or, according to official classification, Overtraining Syndrome (OTS). Some athletes and trainers may also call it “burnout”, “overwork”, and “staleness.”
Long-term effects of overtraining can spoil life for many months and even years, and need detailed attention and training plan correction.
Symptoms of overtraining
Most professional physiologists insist that the danger of overtraining effects on health is a rare phenomenon and happens only to competitive athletes. Some muscle soreness and general fatigue after training is not an overtraining effect in most cases.
Generally people do not train hard enough or often enough to get that syndrome. Still, you have to be careful if you have the following symptoms after each training:
If you have only a few of the symptoms, there is no need to worry. But if you experience most of them, it is better to pay attention to possible overtraining syndrome. Some of the symptoms overlap with clinical depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. So it is advisable to visit a doctor to have a professional opinion.
Please scroll down to find out how to distinguish overtraining adverse effects and to avoid them.
1. Create a plan
If you dream of outstanding fitness results without overtraining danger side effects, make a detailed schedule and follow it. The best variant is to consult a professional coach to get an optimal program for your age and health level.
Some people think that it is better to do something, even if it is not enough and not regularly, instead of doing nothing. In general, this under-reaching activity is better for the body than no exercise at all.
The opposite side is overreaching. It is closer to overtraining syndrome due to its inconsistent and inadequate intensity. So, if you need a stable training system without health problems, make a plan and stay self-motivated.
2. Volume is important
Overtraining may occur when there is no right balance between training volume (the time of activity) and training intensity.
In other words, when you train too long and too hard, you can more likely have overtraining effects on your body than when you train just hard. So, lessen the time of intensive exercises. Forget about marathon running and control the number of sets in strength exercise sessions. You are better to make one rep in lifting and not feel tired, than making several reps with low weights and feel exhausted.
If you are keen on running, move to shorter distances from marathon habits. Do not run fast; do not run too long. Choose the distance that is suitable to your age and health condition—Balance the training.
3. Dietary regime
There is a semi-mistaken belief that you have to get fewer calories to lose weight correctly. In general, it works this way, though when you do not receive sufficient fuel for the body, you will not recover the proper way in time.
Incorrect consumption may also lead to overtraining physiological effects. That is why many athletes follow special carbohydrate diet plans that help to recover faster after the intense training. Carbohydrate consumption refills intermuscular stores of glycogen. It should be taken within 30 minutes after training. Some athletes drink carbohydrate-rich beverages; others prefer natural food like dried raisins, baby carrots and broccoli, fruit salad, or homemade semolina pasta.
4. Enjoy diversity to avoid overtraining effects
You can reach the fine line between overtraining effects on muscles and efficient training by changing various sports activities or CrossFit training. Change distances, time, number and type of sets, and speed of the exercises you usually choose.
Take one day of the week and devote it to the sports you have never tried before. New muscles involved in the training and new neural pathways would help to avoid the mental effects of overtraining such as insomnia and irritation.
Still, the whole training program should be planned around your favourite activities. Inconvenient activities may cause undesirable stress and increase the overtraining effect.
5. Avoid stress
People have lots of stress in everyday life. You may think about working problems, family and children stress, financial hardships, and many others. Though, our body considers demanding work out in the gym as a kind of stress as well. So, when you think that you get rid of stress while exercising, in reality, you collect more stress that may cause overtraining effects on mental health.
When stresses surround you, do not give up training. Better think of changing its intensity. Swap workouts with lifts for Pilates or yoga class. Add relaxing meditation during massage sessions after the cardio marathon.
Do not forget that cardio exercises may increase overtraining effects on the heart, even if you get the best workout shirts for men.
6. Find a balance
Body recovery is essential. No matter how hard you work out, even if it was a little afternoon hiking with friends, your muscles need complete recovery.
The solution of balanced training lies in helping your body to get enough rest right after the activity, enjoying sufficient nutrition, and having a full muscle recovery. Overtraining effects on immunity may become dangerous if you do not get this balance right.
As an effect of overtraining, immune suppression may show itself as an increased amount of respiratory illnesses, slow healing skin, or stomach and neurological problems. If you continue working out through these problems, you will increase the recovery time and stay in OTS for longer.
7. Listen to your body
Body fatigue and soreness are usual symptoms of any workout session. It is normal for active people. You do not have to worry if you feel them after training.
What you have to remember is to change the muscle group and to give 48 hours’ rest. If you still feel sore in the muscle group, give more rest up to 5 days. Some coaches say “no pain, no gain”. However, you are the only person who knows what is going on inside your body.
Do not let the training routine kill your progress and lead to overreaching and overtraining next. You have to restore glycogen, update hormone levels and muscle fibres to keep your body strong and healthy.
Overtraining is a complex problem. Though it mainly happens to professional and competitive athletes, everyone has to monitor indicating symptoms.
If you change your life and training by adding balanced rest and recovery, you can avoid overtraining effects on a workout routine.
Still, you have to draw a thick line between just a heavy-working in the gym and the real effects of overtraining. Also, the overtraining symptoms can be the signs of many other diseases. Your therapist can distinguish them, so check your health.
We hope this article will help you to create the right training plan. So, have smart workouts and stay healthy. Please share your results with us in the comments.
*About the author: Thomas Nemel is passionate about fitness and copywriting. He has been involved in sports since his father taught him to love it in childhood. Now he has got a strong background in athletics and shares his interests through writing. Thomas’ goal is to inspire others to engage in healthy living.
How to look stronger, prouder and use less effort
Running slumped is something that I see often. The people running slumped look tired. Here's the irony, when you slump it will make you more tired.
Here are three tips to get you looking stronger, prouder, and be able to sustain your running with less effort.
I've been running daily for a year on our local trails - it's been a fantastic daily break during our nearly year of working from home. When a fluid runner goes by, it inspires me, but when a slumped runner struggles towards me I want them to hold their head up, breathe more deeply, and find their rhythm.
You can lower your blood sugar with the right timing
If you have diabetes, you're always conscious of the need to keep your blood sugar under control.
Controlling your blood sugar can avoid long-term complications, including eye disease, kidney problems, nerve problems, cerebrovascular disease such as strokes, and cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks heart failure and high blood pressure.
Here's a way to dial up your efforts: Consider the timing of your workouts after meals.
This advice is aimed at Type 2 diabetics and in particular those who are not insulin-dependent.
My feet told me that they'd had enough
I have zero brand allegiance. I buy when a quality item is on special, including running shoes, irrespective of brand. But from the moment that I stood up in my Saucony Freedom ISO shoes (Black 8.0D) I knew that I could be a fanboy.
Just two years before, almost to the day, I hated running. You know, when you do a "power hour" and the instructor lines you up at the finish for the fireman's shuttle run. Hated it. Even just lining up for sprints across the room - not happy.
I could do it well. It was rare if I was not in a leading group. But I just wanted it to finish.
The gym went on a summer roster over Xmas (down under in Australia). Although classes were peripheral to how I trained at the gym, I liked to do one class each week for variety. I tried boxing classes and found them a waste of time. As there was nothing in the Xmas program that interested me, I decided to run, twice a week.
Newsletter: Cleveland Clinic Says Breakfast With Light Therapy Will Lift Your Daily Mood And Make You Happier
Plus, Grandma was right - eat your beets. They strengthen our lungs and keep Covid at bay
[Copy of my weekly newsletter] Simple light therapy helps maintain our hormonal balance, says Cleveland Clinic. Recent research found that beetroot is better for us then even Grandma said! Can you imagine eating lab-grown sushi - some call it FrankenFish - what do you think, read on. And there's a lying exercise with a towel that will strengthen your whole body, you can do every morning easily. #staysafe #keepmoving #stayhealthy
Here are my 4 Most Valuable pieces of content from around the web, to help you live longer better:
⭑ Serving breakfast with a side of light therapy will put you in a better mood
⭑ The humble beetroot deserves more credit
⭑ FrankenFish may be healthier than farmed fish!
⭑ How to extend your core and strengthen your back and shoulders
It's clear and simple but not what you might expect
The most confusing aspects of how to start exercising are to decide on how many repetitions, how many sets, what weight load, what rest between sets, etc etc. When I first enrolled in a gym more than 20 years ago, like most men I just started jiggling dumbbells about, then barbells. It was inefficient and ultimately unsatisfying.
To be honest, I wasted a couple of years which could have been better spent.
One of the things which held me back from asking the trainers was my age. I was over 50, and it was rare to see anyone else my age doing strength training. I knew enough to see that the younger ones were doing things that had little relevance to living longer better or fitness, which were my objectives. I drifted into classes, and kettlebells, and came back to barbell training years later.
Two recent studies provided the answers that would have helped me then, and it is clear and simple. These two studies compared young and old healthy adults, and older adults, across different strength training protocols.
The results are very interesting.
I replaced three warm-up movements with this one
I'm a stickler for warming up - I never miss. But I begrudge the time it takes. This one dynamic stretch saves me time and is more effective - that makes me feel better right from the start.
Whether I'm running, or in pre-COVID times when I used to go to the gym, I always warm-up. It takes me about 10 minutes before running, and 15 minutes before gym work. I believe that warming-up and warming-down helps keep me injury free.
Over 20+ years, I rarely see people warm-up outside of a class. That's because it's a bit boring.
Ideally, we want to eliminate those warm-up movements of little benefit and reduce the time needed. This dynamic stretch does that. It cut about two minutes from my warm-up time.
At home - three exercises, three sets, three times a week
As we age a loss of strength can lead to a loss of confidence in taking on resistance training. We imagine a power-lifter and the pain of training, and we revert to an all-aerobic exercise pattern. That helps our heart but not our posture and our increasing frailty.
Here's good news. Slow low-intensity resistance training will rebuild your muscle mass and help you stand taller and less likely to fall.
You can do it at home, and there is plenty of evidence of the "effect of very low-intensity resistance training with slow movement on muscle size and strength in healthy older adults".
By taking up a program, in your home, of regular slow low-load exercises, you will rebuild your muscle mass and enjoy an active life for longer.
This program will significantly slow, if not reverse, the 1% per year loss of muscle mass that is typical for adults aged 60 years and older. Just like slow cooking develops the flavour, slow training will develop your muscles (and your muscular coordination, tendons, and joints).
Do the opposite of what you've read elsewhere
For many years, after my gym sessions and before stretching, performed ab wheel exercises. I did them with good form and in full control. I added progressions and felt myself getting stronger and even more stable.
But I was puzzled why, no matter how strong I became, the dull ache in my lower back never disappeared.
I'm doing these daily
We're about the enter our 3rd week of Stage 4 lockdown during the second wave of the coronavirus, and the level of anxiety is noticeably higher than in the first wave.
It is perfectly natural that we should feel more anxious, but often this kind of cold logic doesn't help reset our thinking. On the other hand, following these three recommendations will help you reset your thinking and reduce your stress.
Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter