How To Avoid Overtraining Injuries | Stephen Coleclough PT
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How To Avoid Overtraining Injuries

How To Avoid Overtraining Injuries

It is easy to become addicted to exercise.

Once you are accustomed to working out regularly you will look forward to the rush of endorphins during and after each session.

You will also come to enjoy the experience of setting new personal records and watching your body grow stronger.

Unfortunately, working out frequently does carry some risk in the form of overtraining injuries.

They are musculoskeletal injuries that occur when you push your body to do more than it is used to.

Overtraining injuries can affect both your physical body and your mental state.

They can seriously impede your progress and can be very frustrating.

Here are a few tips for avoiding these types of injuries.

How do you know if you are overtraining?

If you experience any of the following symptoms after a workout session, you may be overtraining and at risk of an overtraining injury.

Physical symptoms of overtraining

The most common physical symptoms of overtraining include poor sleep patterns, decreased appetite, difficulty concentrating, insatiable thirst, fatigue throughout the day, and pain that feels different to typical muscle soreness.

You might also notice that you are becoming sick more often and experience infections as a result of your immune system being run down.

Physiological symptoms of overtraining

Overtraining places a lot of stress on your body and can change your physiology.

If you are overtraining, you will probably experience an elevated resting heart rate and increased blood pressure.

Performance changes from overtraining

Changes in your performance are the first major warning sign of overtraining.

You may experience a feeling of weakness during workouts, impaired coordination, and an increased heart rate.

Psychological symptoms of overtraining

Overtraining will also affect your mental state.

You may experience a lack of motivation, lowered self esteem or mild depression, personality changes, and increased stress.

How to avoid overtraining injuries

The best way to achieve an improvement in your fitness level is to perform high intensity exercises on a regular basis.

However, there are certain rules that must be followed to avoid overtraining injuries.

They include:

Audit the condition of your body during and after each workout

It’s important to regularly assess the condition of your body when entering into a new exercise regime.

Pay particularly close attention to tendons and ligaments, which are a common location for overtraining injuries.

Look for the physical signs of overtraining listed above and regularly check your resting heart rate.

Don’t increase the intensity of your workouts too quickly

The intensity of your workouts must increase at a rate that your body can tolerate.

The best way to achieve a steady and gradual increase in workout intensity is by using a structured exercise plan.

The goal should be to increase intensity without straining your body too much and having extended recovery periods between workouts.

If it takes you longer than a day to recover from a workout, you are probably pushing yourself too hard too quickly.

Make long term fitness goals

The safest way to improve your fitness levels is by setting realistic long term goals.

Don’t set a very difficult and unrealistic goal for a month or two from now because it will increase the risk of an overtraining injury.

If you haven’t exercised for a long time, don’t set specific goals other than workout 4 to 5 times a week.

Ease into it and take your time.

Overtraining syndrome

Overtraining syndrome occurs when a person’s body cannot recover sufficiently between workouts.

You will experience many of the symptoms listed above, including an elevated resting heart rate, fatigue, a loss of appetite, and poor sleep.

Some of these symptoms can be associated with other illnesses, so you may need to see a doctor if they persist after you have had a few rest days.

There are three steps to combatting overtraining syndrome:

Get plenty of sleep

Your body competes various physiological processes to rejuvenate itself during sleep.

Make sure you obtain at least 7 hours of sleep per night so your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nervous system can recover.

If you are performing very high intensity workouts, try to get 8 to 9 hours of sleep.

Use rest days

Rest days are an essential part of any exercise plan as they ensure your body has enough time to recover before the next workout.

Don’t skip your rest days!

Eat a healthy diet

The human body requires a steady supply of nutrients to repair and rejuvenate after an intense workout session.

You should eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and high quality sources of protein.

Avoid calorie restricted diets when working out.

Instead, make sure the calories you are eating come from healthy foods.

How a trainer can help you safely reach your fitness goals

Hiring a trainer can be helpful in many respects:

  • They can help you by designing a fitness program with appropriate long term goals
  • They will be able to accurately assess your cardiovascular fitness, strength and flexibility
  • They can then help you understand what kinds of exercises are appropriate given your current fitness level
  • They can monitor your resting heart rate and blood pressure to see how your body is coping with the fitness program.
  • They can monitor you for symptoms of overtraining
  • They will ensure that you are using good form during your work out
  • They can provide tips on the kinds of foods you should be eating or refer you to a dietician

Thanks for reading How to Avoid Overtraining Injuries.

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Stephen Coleclough
Stephen Coleclough

Stephen Coleclough is a personal trainer and online fitness/nutrition coach from the UK. He loves heavy squats, smashing PRs and bacon sandwiches. You can follow him on Twitter at ColecloughPT.

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