Being physically fit is great and those who manage to balance a workout a few times a week are definitely taking a step in the right direction. However, the saying is always true that too much of anything is bad for you and overtraining is no exception. Overtraining is a surefire way to set back your workout routine and your health so it’s important to learn what to do and not do to keep this from happening.
There isn’t just one bad thing that can occur when you over train, there are several. First, overtraining can cause your workouts to become even harder to do and complete. When this happens, you tend to feel exhausted earlier and less likely to push your workouts further. Your progress can be set back greatly from overtraining. Too much strain on your body can cause your immune system to become weaker, making you more prone to getting sick. This means you can’t build up your body enough to stay healthy. Even getting too many colds can knock the wind out of you when your immune system is already down on its defenses. One of the great side effects of overtraining is the increased risk of injury. Pushing your body to the limits through a workout can cause a number of injuries, from muscle strain to joint pain and even slipped disks. Overtraining can also simply make you not want to workout. When you’re burned out from too much daily exercise, you’ll lose motivation to maintain your fitness schedule, which will basically undo all your progress.
One way to prevent overtraining is to know your body and your stats, especially your heart rate. If you notice that during your workout, your heart rate is slower than usual during intervals that could be a sign that your body is suffering from overtraining and needs a break. Another sign to watch for is if your heartbeat speeds up as you start your workout instead of later on in your routine. This means your heart rate zone is overworked and doesn’t know when to adjust to your workout levels. If your heart rate increases by 10% more than your normal rate, you could be suffering from overtraining. Check your heartbeat each morning and monitor your heart rate. If you notice that it’s increased over time, that’s a sure sign that your body is in overdrive and needs to slow down.
To prevent overtraining in the first place, you’ll have to discipline yourself and learn moderation. Chances are you don’t need to do an extensive workout 5-6 days out of the week for 2 hours. Cut back and try to do 30 minutes to one hour of exercise every other day, or however else you think you can fit it into your schedule. It also helps to keep a diary of your progress. Note what exercises you’ve done and for how long, as well as the dates and time. Play around with different schedules and see which one works best. If you start to experience signs of overtraining, write that down in your diary, too, and make some changes to your workout. Note whether those changes had any impact on how you feel.