Friday, August 5, 2011

Strength Training 101: Overtraining Syndrome

Overtraining could be defined as a point reached between the stress of training and inadequate recuperation. At this point the athlete feels fatigued or tired even after recovery periods. Some common symptoms include:

  • Diminished desire to train.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Persistent muscle soreness.
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Chronic fatigue.
  • Strength loss.
  • Weight loss.
  • Tendency to abandon the struggle or in other words “quit”.
  • Increase in recovery time.
  • Elevated resting heart rate.
  • Depression
  • Loss of motivation.
  • Over sensitivity to criticism.

So, avoiding the Overtraining Syndrome is the trick. Making sure we recover from our workouts is most important. Identifying reasons for overtraining is vital for prevention. Possible causes for OS include:

  • Recovery time is insufficient.
  • Training is too intense in relationship to current physical condition.
  • Excess training volume.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Too many competitions and/or too many maximum reps in training.
  • Use of alcohol, nicotine and other chemicals.
  • Excessive fluctuation of Body Weight.
  • Difficult personal relationships.
  • Stress

Simply put, if an athlete fails to have sufficient recovery time after training sessions he will eventually feel fatigued and have symptoms we have described. To avoid the overtraining syndrome you can take the following actions.

  • Schedule recovery time just like you would your training sessions.
  • Increase training loads gradually.
  • Utilize the principle of Periodization. Alternate high intensity days and light intensity days.
  • Monitor workouts. Always keep a training log.
  • Monitor resting heart rate.
  • Always eat well. Good nutrition is a big key to recuperation.
  • Insure calorie intake matches calories burned.
  • Utilize nutritional supplements if needed.
  • Keep sufficiently hydrated.
  • Use post workout recovery techniques. (contrast showers, ice, stretching, “active rest”, Deep-tissue massage)

Pay attention to early warning signs of overtraining. Prevention is always the best way to go. Being a little undertrained is probably better than being overtrained in most cases. Always remember you get stronger when you are away from the gym.

Keith Payne
Functional Strength Systems

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