Tag Archives: overtraining

  • The curse of overtraining

    The saying "No pain no gain" has its merits. It is no secret among athletes that you have to work hard in order to improve your performances and attaining your goals. Our body works like a fine tuned balance, on which everything has its designated place, timing and amount. Too much or too little of anything will disrupt that balance, and your body will eventually suffer. We all know that regular exercise is good for health, but too much exercise can also be harmful. Improvements from exercise only occur during the resting period after hard training, where your body tries to compensate the stress exerted on the cardiovascular and muscular systems by improving the efficiency of heart, muscles and energy production/utility, resulting in a higher level of performance. This process is called over-compensation, the body's way to keep itself in balance with demand.

    Doing exercise without sufficient rest will not allow the body to have enough time to recover and regenerate, and consequently preventing the occurrence of over-compensation. This imbalance between excessive exercise and inadequate rest will eventually results in fatigue, decreased performance and "staleness". If not corrected, prolonged imbalance will stress the athletes to the point where resting is no longer adequate for recovery, this state is called overtraining. The symptoms of overtraining differ from daily fluctuations in performance that all athletes experience, it is characterized by a state of exhaustion that persists even after a period of recovery.

    The most common symptom of overtraining is fatigue, but it does a lot more to your body than just making you feel tired. Overtraining can also alter your psychological state and immune system, increases the level of stress hormones in your body, decreases testosterone levels, increases muscle breakdown, and causes adrenal insufficiency. It may take from a few days up to months of resting to recover from overtraining depending on the severity of the symptoms. During this period many will experience exercise withdrawal and therefore should do moderate amount of exercise to manage the symptoms.

    Exercise can be chemically addictive due to its effects on hormone levels in the brain. This may result in the fixation/dependence on exercise, which can lead to overtraining. A stressful training plan that does not incorporate enough recovery periods can also cause overtraining. As with everything in health, prevention is the best guarantee to a good life. Understand your body and be discreet with your training plans will do wonders to your health. Sometimes, having a good rest won't ruin your fitness, quite the contrary, it might just be the missing ingredient required to attain your next goal.

  • Overtraining - Signs, Symptoms and Prevention

    For all we read in the news about how most of us don’t get enough exercise, there are a significant number of people who are actually getting too much exercise, or overtraining. This can inhibit progress toward your weight loss and muscle gain goals. We discuss the signs, symptoms and methods to prevent overtraining.
  • A Review of Overtraining

    Overtraining is a behavioural condition which tips the delicate balance between training and recovery. Don't get sucked into it!
  • Jay, I see you perform dips for both chest and triceps. Would this not induce overtraining in the tricep muscles?

    Jay's journal is updated daily and is located here.

    On chest day, these are the bent over dips which will target the lower pectorals major. The upright dips target the three heads of the tricep muscle more effectively.

    Sure...for both day's I'm still using both pecs/shoulders/triceps in this compound exercise (as with most chest exercises). But the relative intensity of each muscle group is altered. Therefore on tricep day in particular, I should not be overtraining my triceps and thus inducing overtraining syndrome.

    A similar scenario is with squats and deadlifts - both use many (many) muscles - primarily the quadriceps, glutes, lower back and hamstrings. However squats target the quadriceps more effectively than deadlifts which target the lower back. A slight variation in execution can make a very significant difference regarding muscle stimulus.

    Based on results, I have been making consistent progress over the last seven weeks in each macrocycle which suggests that each muscle group is receiving sufficient recovery. Note that it is very hard to compare different macrocycles (eg. my 10-12 rep macrocycle versus my 6-8 rep macrocycle) because different energy stores, muscle fibre ratios etc. are being used.

  • If I exercise more, I seem to lose less weight!

    It seems like a weird situation and could be due to a number of factors.  I suspect it could possibly be due to 2 primary reasons:

    1. If performing resistance training exercise, you may be experiencing gains in muscle mass.  Whilst the magnitude of these gains are going to be small relative to the amount of fat you can lose in a period of time, it may lower the rate at which your body mass is reduced.

    2. You may be performing too much exercise.  Too much exercise can result in overtraining - a condition whereby your body does not receive enough time to recover and is continually run down.  The breakdown of muscle mass associated with overtraining could lead to a lowered basal metabolic rate (BMR) thus limiting the amount of calories consumed each day.  In addition to this, overtraining causes fatigue.  The fatigue experienced could lead to a reduced output when exercising - resulting in less energy expenditure and thus less weight loss.

    It's important to realise that more is not necessarily better.  You need to find a balance between exercise and recovery in order to receive optimal results in and outside of the gym.

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