There certainly can be too much of a good thing when it comes to most things, and fitness is certainly one of them. Odds are if you are super psyched on training here this may be a very important read for you. There are many people that we have been having this conversation with lately and we don’t want YOU to be one of them!
Let me paint a picture for you. Guadalupe was an athlete when she was younger but hasn’t been very active in the 15 years since high school. She begins training here and is super psyched to have an unlimited membership. She hits the ground running and does 3 classes her first week. She is a bit sore, but is feeling amazing overall and can’t get over how such a short time has made her feel so much better.
Her second week she decides to try out a couple of doubles! Oh what a sweet deal, she can come in and get 2 different classes back-to-back! She still feels awesome about herself and all of the cool new people she is meeting in classes.
Her coaches notice her increased attendance and commend her for it, but bring to her attention the fact that she needs to be mindful of how rapidly she increases the amount of vigorous activity in her life. She thanks them and thinks to herself “What do they know, I feel great!”
Her third week she thinks “If doing 5 classes is good, doing 8 must be even better!” Time to go big and try out the famed triple banging out 3 classes all in one day!
At the end of her second week she was feeling a bit sore but otherwise super energized. Something weird happened during her third week, however. She started to feel more tired. The last couple weeks she was sore in a way that made her know that she got something accomplished, but now she just felt plain uncomfortable and it didn’t seem to be going away like it was before.
She started to feel tired all the time, but still had trouble falling asleep. “This doesn’t make and sense. Why would I be tired but not be able to sleep?” she thinks. To top things off, little things that her husband did were starting to make her really upset; things that never previously would have bothered her at all.
All of a sudden her incredible motivation to train that she had been so excited about was starting to fade. Instead of looking at it as a super fun time to go and meet all of these supportive and positive new people, she began to think about just going home and taking a nap before dinner.
What the heck happened to Guadalupe in just 3 weeks?!?!?!
We need to differentiate the difference between overreaching vs. overtraining. Many people will experience symptoms of overreaching if they are training hard for any length of time. It is totally expected that if you are pushing hard, you will begin to slide into the overreaching zone.
“There may even be phases of training where an individual experiences short-term performance decrements that are easily recovered from with several days of decreased exercise stress. This is called overreaching, and when carefully prescribed can contribute to long-term progress.” (ACSM)
The above link involves a bit of info that may be beyond what many people need to know, but it is reasonably short and will give you a ton of info.
The important thing is to recognize overreaching quickly and modify accordingly so as to minimize any negative impact. Rest and recovery are when the benefits of all the hard work are truly realized, so making sure that you have those things sufficiently handled is imperative!
If you have a question as to where you stand and what you should (or should not) do, please talk to your coach immediately!
The following is taken from Wikipedia in case you would like to follow the links for more info.
Overtraining may be accompanied by one or more concomitant symptoms:
- Persistent muscle soreness
- Persistent fatigue
- Elevated resting heart rate
- Reduced heart rate variability
- Increased susceptibility to infections
- Increased incidence of injuries
- Mental breakdown
I’m not going to re-hash info that has been put out many times before so I have selected a few links that I think offer some good info that you can peruse:
This is what I referenced above. No fluff, just the facts!
I really like the “Solutions” part to this one:
There is a lot going on at the top of this that may or may not interest you, but once you get to the list there is some good info.