There’s not a single reason why you should feel less than your best—it’s time to stop trading in your workout for excess exhaustion crap. Are you always battling bronchitis, tendonitis, or another type of “itis”? Have the drive and enthusiasm for workouts dimmed because of the routine?
These are just a few potential side effects of over-training and they don’t have to be reserved only for elite athletes. Our goal here is to help you understand what Otis times are, how they can’t be diagnosed, and what warning signs there are. We will also discuss the different ways of helping the body recover and return to its former performance level.
WHAT IS OVERTRAINING?
Our new edition of the NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training (7th ed., Jones & Bartlett, 2022) defines overtraining syndrome as “a condition in which an athlete or fitness client experiences excess exhaustion, declining performance, and burnout.”
Overtraining is a common occurrence among athletes and can happen to anyone at any time. The symptoms vary from person to person, but one of the most common is feeling tired all the time. Identifying these early will help you avoid further injury or other issues. Pediatricians noticed an increase in the number of overtraining syndrome cases among young people and children who participate in these activities in 2007.
No matter how much someone over-exerts themselves, a single day is not enough to cause bad health effects. It all depends on the frequency.
To help avoid going down that road, here are a few things to consider before beginning any workout:
- Did you sleep well last night?Studies show that the number of hours we sleep each night affects our mood, energy, appetite, and even how much food we eat. But how well do you sleep?
- How was your resting heart rate this morning?If your resting heart rate falls outside the range considered “normal,” it can be an indication of a health problem. Resting heart rate is an indicator of general physical welfare and is often monitored in sick people to tell them how fast their hearts should theoretically be beating. If you’re not feeling well, this could be a warning sign.
- Have you taken in enough nutrition and fluids today?With all of the requirements for living a healthy lifestyle, it can be difficult to remember to eat and drink. This article will discuss the importance of nutrition and fluids and what you should be doing to stay healthy.
It might not be a good day to take risks if any of these answers are “no”. Still not sure? Consider these questions too:
- Are you battling any major life stressors?Stress can be of many types, and the effects of that stress can vary depending on the individual. Some potential causes for stress include work, family, money, or health. Stress can have a really devastating effect on your overall health, so it’s really important to figure out ways to look after yourself and not let stress consume you.
- Are you dreading the workout or thinking about skipping it?A study by the University of Queensland found that skipping workouts leads to higher levels of stress. The study found that people who skipped workouts felt more stressed, had more cognitive impairment, and had more difficulty completing cognitive tasks.
- Do you feel more sore or achy than usual?Have you ever noticed how food affects your body? Different types of food can have a big impact on how you feel. With inflammatory conditions, it’s important to keep an eye on what you eat. Pay attention to flare-ups and try to avoid the foods that make them worse.
- Do you have an illness or injury?If you have an illness or injury, it can be difficult for you and your loved ones. You might feel like you’re unable to provide for your family, and that’s never a good feeling. Fortunately, there are ways that you can work with others to get the help that’s needed.
When you’re having a “no” day with your body, chances are you won’t be able to say “yes” to any of these five things.
9 POSSIBLE SIGNS OF OVERTRAINING
A lot of people have felt tired, sore, or stiff after exercising in the past and this can often be their first time doing a new exercise or increasing the intensity of what they’re doing. Unfortunately, these symptoms can last for as long as a few hours afterwards.
Resting, recovering, and refueling are key components of being an athlete. After doing these things, they’ll typically find themselves feeling ready to jump back into the action. When someone overstrains, they begin to experience symptoms that last longer and vary in variety. Common symptoms include:
EXERCISE-RELATED SYMPTOMS OF OVERTRAINING:
(1) A plateau or decline in workout performance or progress.
(2) A perception of increased exertion during “normal” or “easy” workouts.
(3) Excessive sweating or overheating.
(4) Unusual feelings of heaviness, stiffness, or soreness in muscles.
(5) A lack of feeling “refreshed” after regular rest and recovery.
(6) Recurrent injuries, such as muscle sprains, tendonitis, stress fractures, and chronic joint pain.
(7) A decline in enthusiasm for exercise (or skipping or quitting workouts).
PHYSICAL, MENTAL, AND EMOTIONAL CHANGES DUE TO OVERTRAINING:
(8) Persistent feelings of fatigue, exhaustion, or low energy throughout the day.
(9) A decline in motivation and/or self-confidence.
(10) A lack of enjoyment in favorite hobbies and interests or other signs of depression.
(11) Unusual mood or emotions, such as agitation, anger, confusion, irritability, and restlessness.
(12) New problems with sleeping, including insomnia and poor sleep quality.
(13) Problems with concentration and performance at work or in school.
SYSTEMIC HEALTH CONCERNS OF OVERTRAINING:
(14) A sickly appearance, including changes to skin, hair, and nails (such as acne or hair loss).
(15) An increase in resting heart rate and/or resting blood pressure.
(16) Unplanned/undesired weight loss or weight gain or disordered eating.
(17) Digestive issues, such as constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and increase in thirst.
(18) Reproductive issues, such as a decrease in libido (sex drive) and a change in menstruation (including irregularity or cessation of periods).
(19) Repeated bouts of illness, such as colds and upper respiratory tract infections.
(Budget et al., 2000; HHS, 2017; Kreger & Schwartz, 2012; Kendall-Reed & Reed, 2020)
Note: Many of the signs of overtraining can mimic those of health conditions (such as asthma, anemia, depression, or diabetes) so it’s important to speak to a healthcare practitioner about any new or unusual symptoms that arise.
Athletes may also benefit from understanding a rare but life-threatening condition called rhabdomyolysis, which can result from a single workout that is intense enough to cause muscle fibers to rupture, setting off a dangerous biochemical chain reaction in the body. One of the hallmark signs of rhabdom is brown urine, , and athletes should be wary of this color if they are urinating more frequently or if they recently started exercising more intensely. Exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis can cause patients to experience muscle pain and tenderness, weakness, dark urine, light-headedness, headache, nausea and vomiting. It is most commonly seen in individuals with a history of
TOOLS FOR IDENTIFYING OVERTRAINING
This list of symptoms is helpful, but it’s subjective. Some athletes might ignore or deny their symptoms or think they are healthier than they actually are. If you’re prone to exercise addictive behavior or your career/identity is closely attached to fitness, it’s very important to take more objective measures.
Here at Lab spot, we specialize in sending lab tests for metabolites, hormones and other factors that can affect your body. However, there are some easier ways to quantify how you’re doing in comparison to previous weeks or months. Here are a few.
FITNESS JOURNAL AND/OR APP
Keeping an updated record of your workouts (including the time spent working out, the number of sets you did, and the weight you lifted) is important if you want to measure your progress. Athletes can also keep a written list of sleep, nutrition, and other factors that contribute to muscle growth.
High-tech (apps, smartwatches, tracking programs) and low-tech (a handwritten journal) both work. Participants should select whichever method they are most likely to adhere to.
The best way to measure progress and establish a baseline is by using periodic assessments. Certified personal trainers, for example, conduct an initial fitness test on a client and then repeat this regularly to take note of their progress. Cardiorespiratory fitness can be measured by the number of minutes someone can run without stopping or slowing down.
The NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) has a wide variety of tests to measure performance and also provides resources for creating assessments. Below are a few examples, but there is a lot more on the website.
RATINGS OF PERCEIVED EXERTION
The rating of perceived exertion associates different exertion levels with numbers on a scale from 1 to 10 (or 1 to 20). Exercisers can use this during any part of any workout. The number chosen should reflect on how the person feels overall. Recording these results can assist in spotting changes in perceived exertion that may be related to overtraining.
HEART RATE AND BLOOD PRESSURE
Higher resting heart rates are often a sign of an athlete’s endurance level. However, if an athlete is over-exercising, their heart rate could be high for a whole day.
Many fitness watches can automatically measure your heart rate, which is often ideal. Unfortunately, this feature can also be turned off if you choose to. To manually measure your pulse (which we recommend), count 10 seconds and multiply by 6 – that’s the number of beats per minute.
Overtraining can also cause your resting blood pressure to rise. You can monitor this with a home cuff monitor and should speak to your doctor about what target is appropriate for you.
Recovery heart rate—items heart rate immediately following exercise—may also be impacted by overtraining. This is used to observe how long it takes for an exercise-elevated heart rate to return to regular resting levels.
People who are generally more fit can usually experience a quicker return to their normal heart rate than those who are not conditioned. If this recovery rate begins to take longer than usual, it may be a sign of deconditioning (Sutton, 2022).
As we know, overtraining can occur for a number of reasons, not just due to training too hard or under prioritizing recovery. Things like stress and work pressure can also be the reason.
One effective treatment for depression is through the variety of activities you engage in. By limiting activities to only one area such as following a monotonous program or playing only one sport, among many other examples, it might help alleviate symptoms related to depression. You might also want to change your workout plan and/or diet, because these things cause changes to every aspect of your life, such as how you think and feel.
Environmental factors such as altitude, temperature, humidity, and time zone change can impact the body’s recovery from training. The more factors present, the more likely the athlete might need to adjust their training plan to avoid interference.
HOW TO RECOVER FROM OVERTRAINING
Everyone has a different set of needs, so the requirements to restore their equilibrium will be different for each person.
Overtraining is a serious issue that must be handled with care. If it persists, or exhibits systemic issues, the best course of action is to work with a team of doctors, coaches, and specialists. The tips they provide are key to recovering properly:
It may be best to stop training for at least a week and cancel any upcoming competitions or events. Many athletes have reported good results by reducing their hours in training by 50-80%.
Light activity such as walking or household chores is ok unless you played a sport and your body needs to rest. (Cleveland Clinic, 2020; Stryker, 2016)
Most adults in the U.S. do not get enough sleep. It is important to get more than 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night when recovering from overtraining, or if you just had a challenging workout.
Developing healthy sleep habits is the most important step in achieving a good night’s sleep. Sticking to bedtime rules will make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. On the NSF website, you can find tips to help make sleep come more naturally.
People often cut too many calories when they want to lose weight, which can lead to insufficient nutrition for recovery. For example, the body needs adequate protein intake for muscle protein synthesis (rebuilding muscles at the molecular level) to occur (Sutton, 2022).
Also of interest is the recent increase in the daily recommendation for fluid intake. Today, 11.5 cups per day are recommended for women and 15.5 for men. After exercising for more than an hour, another 12 to 16 ounces per 15 minutes is recommended (Sutton, 2022)
If an injury or illness is present, these should be assessed and addressed before returning to sport. Depending on what’s wrong with them, the athlete may need to modify their training regimen, make adaptations to their exercises, or cross-train in other areas until they are able to best guide these areas of recovery.
“Treatments” can also include using tools and strategies that have been proven to aid in recovery, such as water immersion, compression garments, massage, active recovery, and self-myofascial release (e.g., using a foam roller).
Downtime is a great opportunity for exercisers to review their training program. It’s important to remember that OTS need not be caused by workouts. For example, NASM recommends adopting an integrated training regimen based on evidence-based programming. This includes all forms. It’s also important to use a systematic approach, such as the NASM Optimum Performance Training™️ model.
The first step is mastering balance, cardio, core, flexibility, plyometrics and speed exercises. Fundamental movement patterns (an essential aspect of everyday movements). Both integrated and systematic, this approach will help you gradually get closer to your goals. The use of AI workout assistants in the workplace is becoming more widespread, and with good reason. They not only save time and effort but also provide a high quality of content.
Read More: The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
OTS is a very common condition, and it should be taken more seriously. It has been spurred on by countless articles, and instead of being treated like a viable ailment, it’s been ridiculed like UFOs or little green men.
There are many symptoms that can indicate overtraining, but there is no clear test for it. In a recent study of 22 indicators, there was no consensus on which symptom is the best indicator of OTSAccording to a study on resistance training, researchers found that OTS is defined bya sustained decrease in performance. (Grandou et al., 2020)
People have proposed different names for this condition, such as “paradoxical deconditioning syndrome” or “unexplained underperformance syndrome.” They also argue that using the word “overtraining” in the name could imply that there are no legitimate symptoms of overtraining. which may not be the case. The belief that OOTS is caused by one or two factors that are only connected to the workout has been disproven. It’s now understood that it’s a combination of things, many of which are outside of the exercise session.
This more comprehensive understanding of overtraining is represented in the NASM textbook’s definition as excessive frequency, volume, or intensity of training. This can lead to a reduction in performance which occurs from improper amounts of rest and recovery.
ADAPTATION VS. OVERTRAINING
For an athlete to achieve their exercise goals, they need to keep introducing stressors or stimuli into the body. This will result in some of the following outcomes being obtained:
This means that the stressor needs to be graded gradually to allow for a progressive adaptive response from your body. For example, if you always go out of your comfort zone by running two miles, next time you will need to run three miles, and then four.
Healthy exercise programming can be a complicated process. It requires a lot of thought to choose the right exercises and how to progress them in a safe way. Consider registering for a NASM-certified personal trainer course if you want to learn more about it.including fitness enthusiasts who are not pursuing a career in the industry.)
THE THREE STAGES OF GENERAL ADAPTATION SYNDROME
According to the General Adaptation Syndrome model, you go through three stages every time you face a stressful event: Working out is good for you! But, it can be hard to push yourself and get the most out of your workouts. Gradual exercise is your way to prevent exhaustion. Injuries, pain, and more serious issues can be prevented by not overloading.
Maximize your health benefits without unnecessary risks by doing so. The systematic approach to fitness training reduces the risk of overtraining, while still allowing you to achieve desired results. The phased approach of the NASM Optimum Performance Training™️ model is designed to help athletes work towards their respective goals in . A safe, systematic way. The program includes a multistage, multiphase approach that evaluates participants’ current state and sets strength, balance, integrated movement, flexibility, and other improvements.
Rick, who is a certified trainer, provides insights into the OPT model in the podcast which you can listen to or read.
OVERTRAINING VS. OVERREACHING
Many fitness fanatics will overexert themselves from time to time. For instance, when engaging in a competitive event or returning to sport after a long break. But when overexertion leads to fatigue and decreased performance that persists for
When you follow periods of overreaching with adequate recovery, this will improve performance. This is because the body can recover by “super-compensating” and return to normal levels once the stressor has been removed. Nonfunctional overreaching occurs if the body does not enjoy rest and recovery following periods of overreaching. regenerate before the next workout.
Too much training can be as harmful as too little. It’s important to have a well-balanced training regimen. Too much training can lead to underperformance in the long run, whereas too little training can lead to underperformance in the short term. The key is to find a happy medium.where training doesn’t feel too easy and doesn’t last for unreasonable periods of time. • Overtraining syndrome is characterized by two months or more of underperformance. Recovery from OTS can take months or even years.
Overtraining syndrome is a common occurrence for athletes. Athletes are at risk of overreaching because of their intense training schedules that require an increase in physical activity and intensity. Overtraining syndrome occurs when the body can’t handle the increased workload.ad and Overtraining can lead to serious problems, even for a professional athlete. OTS can be difficult to identify, so it’s best to learn the symptoms and take steps as soon as you notice one.