Bodybuilders and athletes work hard to look their best, feel their best, and perform their very best. In order to achieve those results, they often push their bodies to the limits day after day, month after month. Overtraining does exist, and it can cause significant setbacks and make all of your training for naught.
Overtraining occurs when people push themselves too hard and too fast in the gym. It comes in many different forms, too. There are people who overtrain because they are experiencing too much stress in their lives. There are people who do it because they have low self-confidence and they want to rush their bodies to perfection. There are even people who do it because they are confident their bodies can handle the stress, even though they have exceeded their limits and they are on the verge of exhaustion or injury.
What are the Signs of Overtraining?
It’s often hard to tell if you’re pushing yourself too hard, but there are some warning signs to keep an eye on. While one of these alone may not mean you’re overtraining, two or more is a cause for concern.
- A decline or plateau in your performance;
- Chronic muscle pain or tenderness;
- Inability to concentrate;
- An elevated heart rate while training;
- Getting too much or not enough sleep;
- A lack of appetite;
- Unexplained weight loss; and
- Fatigue or a sense of lethargy.
Although many people don’t realize they’re overtraining until they’ve realized they have some of these symptoms, the good news is that these signs and symptoms are easy enough to turn around.
If you think you’re dealing with overtraining, there are a few steps you should take to get back to your old self again. First and foremost, if you drink, skip the booze for at least a week. This can exacerbate sleep problems and cause your cortisol levels to skyrocket, which leads to muscle wasting, fat gain, and feelings of anxiety. Next, do your best to get nine hours of sleep per night for one solid week. Don’t go to the gym during that week, but instead eat a healthy diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, fiber, and good proteins with only complex carbohydrates.
Are Overtraining and Supplements Related?
There are some who believe that taking supplements like creatine, protein, or amino acids can lead to overtraining since they can provide bursts of energy. This is not at all the case. In fact, science shows that continuing to take these supplements while recovering from overtraining can actually improve your recovery significantly. These will help get you ready for the following week, when you go back to the gym. Along those same lines, though, if you are taking stimulant supplements for energy, you should stop using them as they can just add to your stress and anxiety.
Overtraining is a real problem, and it presents itself differently in different individuals. For some, it’s about exhaustion and extreme muscle tenderness. For others, it’s an elevated heart rate and feelings of anxiety. Just remember not to push yourself too hard or too fast and to take a break if you notice two or more of the aforementioned symptoms.