Competitiveness has long been a feature of elite sports. To assist athletes in reaching their maximum potential and cultivating a winning attitude, training techniques are being sought after. Researchers in the field of exercise science have developed rigorous and effective training programmes for coaches and athletes, but they are to be followed only under supervision.
It's commendable to train assiduously to excel in your chosen sport. You may reach your athletic goals by logging a lot of kilometres, putting in a lot of time at the gym, and working hard every day. However, overtraining without enough rest might impede your development and may even cause a drop in performance.
Also, do you know? The amount of stress from too much training that the human body can withstand has a limit. Only when an athlete has enough time for rest and recovery will they be able to endure an increased training load. In his 1936 letter, Hans Selye, known as “the father of stress research”, spoke about the general adaptation syndrome (GAS)- a description of the physiological changes the body undergoes in response to stress. The General adaptation syndrome is divided into three phases: the alert phase, the adaption phase, and the exhaustion phase and it is also related to overtraining.
What is Overtraining?
Widely there are two divisions of too much exercise or too much training: Overtraining and overreaching. There are numerous meanings for overtraining. But, in a study published at NCBI by Jeffrey B Kreher and Jenifer B Schwartz, overtraining syndrome (OTS) appears to be a maladaptive response to excessive activity without enough rest, resulting in disturbances of several physiological systems (neurologic, endocrinologic, and immunologic) along with mood abnormalities.
High levels of exercise duration and intensity must be combined with recovery to ensure adaptation. Overtraining will surely occur if the recovery is insufficient in response to the time and/or intensity.
On the other hand, overreaching is a concept similar to overtraining in that it also has a detrimental effect on performance. A planned interval of rest is followed by a well-timed buildup of training load. Overcompensation occurs throughout this time, which causes performance to significantly improve. Extreme and inappropriate overreaching can lead to overtraining, which in turn can cause physiological, psychological, and biochemical alterations like systemic inflammation, low mood, and central tiredness. Overtraining is referred to using a variety of different terms. Burnout, staleness, stagnation, overstrain, and persistent weariness are a few of them.
What Causes Overtraining?
When you repeatedly skip a suitable recovery period after working out, you run the risk of overtraining. Overtraining is usually a result of inadequate recovery, but some workouts and training programmes will make you more prone to it. Researchers have found a few training scenarios that render runners in particular more susceptible to too much exercise, even though all motivated athletes are prone to pushing themselves too far without adequate recovery.
Severe levels of training frequency, volume, and intensity, or a combination of all these factors, without enough rest or recuperation, lead to overtraining. Overtraining Syndrome is quite synonymous with overtraining. This can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to a few months, depending on how much or how long you have been overtrained. In other situations, overtraining syndrome has ended sports careers.
In a study published by NCBI, Systemic inflammation and its following impacts on the central nervous system, such as low mood, central exhaustion, and ensuing neurohormonal changes, may be the root cause of Overtraining Syndrome.
The simplest explanation for overtraining is trying to do too much, too soon in the hopes of seeing fitness gains and improving as an endurance athlete more quickly, without any major hustle. In an ideal world, it would be fantastic, but the greatest training method is one that gradually increases the volume, intensity, and frequency to give your body time to adapt and prevent overtraining.
Symptoms of Overtraining
Do you also start a workout with this thought: Crush a workout, and you'll rule the world! No doubt working up a good sweat makes us feel strong, unstoppable, accomplished, and sexy. But too much of anything can be dangerous just like too much training.
12 Signs of Overtraining you should watch out for:
1. Unusual post-workout muscle soreness that gets worse with further training
2. Inability to train or compete at a previously acceptable level even at reduced activity intensities
3. Delays in post-training recuperation
4. Performance plateaus or worsening
5. Considerations of skipping or reducing the length of your workouts
6. Consistent fatigue or tiredness
7. Elevated stress, confusion, irritation, and anger.
8. Finding it difficult to rest or take off days.
9. Deteriorated Sleep Quality
10. Unusual mood swings, less energy, and lack of motivation
11. Frequent illnesses
12. Other chronic issues
How to Recover from Overtraining?
Rest is the ‘not so secret’ key to recovering from too much exercise. This means that for a predetermined amount of time, you must restrict or even cease your training. Depending on the sport and amount of exercise, the duration may vary, but generally speaking, recovery takes four to twelve weeks.
Additionally, You can choose to continue to be active and fit while recovering from overtraining by performing a small amount of low-intensity aerobic activity. These need to be quick interval workouts unrelated to the activity for which you typically train. You will be prepared to gradually resume a workout plan after all of your symptoms have vanished.
Other Overtraining recovery tips include:
1. Proper Nutrition and Adequate Hydration:
Adequate consumption of carbohydrates, water, protein, fibre and electrolytes in a regulated and scheduled manner is necessary for the body to be able to withstand physiological stress. It is generally known that replenishing cellular fluids and glycogen is necessary for enduring intense exercise.
2. Ensure adequate sleep:
It is advised to sleep for at least 7-8 hours for ideal recovery. Therefore never miss out on this fuel when approaching the road to recovery.
3. Relax your Body:
Take a chill time binging on your favourite Netflix show. Relaxing your body and mind can eventually turn out to be helpful in recovery. Moreover, don’t forget to stretch your body or perform regular stretching exercises to ensure less muscle soreness and muscle strain.
Tips to Avoid Overtraining
Overtraining can be avoided by taking certain actions. Getting enough rest from intense training is one of the most crucial actions to consider. This can include allowing your body to recuperate by taking at least one day off from exercise each week. To recuperate and recover from muscle soreness, muscle strain other overtraining issues, or sports-related ailments, athletes or fitness enthusiasts may benefit from taking time off from competition each year.
Our body speaks for itself through several signs and indications, therefore it is strongly advised to not overlook these signals and listen to your body. This way, you can learn when to slow down by keeping a training record of your workouts and how you feel afterward. Just while you feel bad about skipping a day, you shouldn't try to exercise while in discomfort.
Overtraining can be avoided in part with proper nutrition. To assist in fuelling and recovering from muscle soreness, make sure you're eating a balanced diet with enough amount of protein and carbohydrates. Additionally, you should consume enough calories daily to replace the ones you expend working out. To stay hydrated, you should also consume at least eight glasses of water each day.
When to consult a healthcare professional?
If you find it difficult to recover from prolonged intense training on your own or by other tips, it is advised to see a healthcare professional specialised in sports science or sports nutrition. In case of any emergency, it is recommended to see a general practitioner ASAP.
In a nutshell, that’s all about overtraining, my endurance pals! So, If you have friends who overtrain or are currently overtrained, share this blog with them. Until the next time, Keep yourself fuelled, swift, and healthy. Don’t push yourself too hard and give your body time to recover.