How to combat Over Training Syndrome (O.T.S)
If you’ve read the last post you’ll realise what a nightmare O.T.S can be on the body and your performance.
Knowing what causes OTS is just as important as recognizing the symptoms, once symptoms have begun performance will have already started to drop, and it can be a long process to claw back gains. So, *HINT* – Get on and read the previous post ☺!
1- The main issue here is to ensure that you are following a proper periodised routine. There’s too much ‘bro science’ in the world of training. ‘Going hard’ and ‘Beast Mode’ each session will leave you ultimately as sick and weak as Donald Trumps foreign Policy.
True you need to ensure adequate periods of intensity and volume or you’ll never make progress, but without scheduled in periods of lower volume and extra recovery time you’ll soon plateau and OTS will creep in.
How much recovery do you need? Well that’s as long as a piece of string. It depends on your training experience, current condition, hormonal profile, which recovery methods you are using regularly (see below) and a host of other factors. This is why it is extremely worthwhile hiring a professional to work alongside you to make sure you don’t hit these bumps in the road.
2. Sleep. Sleep is vital to performance and recovery. Much of our recovery takes place while we sleep. Vital hormones for growth and repair such as HGH (human growth hormone) pulse out while we sleep and the body is given a chance to heal and repair.
Just a slight reduction of sleep time each night can have profound affect on the recovery we experience. If you are in a hard training phase, up to 10-11 hours sleep may be indicated. One way to make up extra sleep time is napping. A quick power nap after training is always recommended ☺
3. Correct nutrition. You need to eat well to recover well. Your micronutrient balance should be always optimized if you are training hard. The RDA for many vitamins is not sufficient for most athletes. Hard daily training is not a natural state for the body to be in and requires a higher balance of many micronutrients. Supplementation here can help, especially with Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin D3, and omega oils.
4- Sauna has been clinically proven to have a host of recovery benefits. In studies sauna has been shown boost endurance capabilities and has also been shown to reduce all cause mortality by a significant degree. This last effect is through the production of heat shock proteins that seem to have a protective effect (which is far to long and complicated to go into here!)
Sauna use has been also shown to help prevent muscle wastage in periods of injury without the use of weight training and after a fairly long sauna session growth hormone output is massively increased.
5- Cold/Ice Baths. A foul invention! I only recommend these on an irregular basis as daily ice baths have been shown to mitigate some of the inflammation response from training. Although excessive unchecked inflammation can be a bad thing we actually need some of it, as it seems this is by one of the complicated processes with which the body gets stronger and lays down muscle tissue.
That said however if I find a student has a resting pulse of over 15 beats extra per minute than normal I will recommend a couple of sessions of ice baths to help reset the Sympathetic nervous system.
6.Mobility and Yoga work. Yoga has been a saving grace for me over the last couple of years. Originally I scorned it, probably because I found it pretty tough! However the slow yoga flow I practice each day has improved my recovery from hard sparring two fold at least!
Just 20 minutes a day in the evening is enough to bring my resting pulse down back to baseline and also improves my oxygen sats (how much oxygen your blood is carrying) back to a normal level.
Often after training my SATS would be at around 97% well into the evening, after yoga these returned to baseline of 99% and you can really feel the difference, plus I get to wear cool yoga pants ☺
7. Meditation gives you plus points on all of the above recovery methods. It seems to enhance all of them. That’s purely anecdotal but I’ve seen it in many of my students too. When they start to meditate all the other methods get a +1 bonus point.
Much in the same the ice bath works, it helps calm the sympathetic nervous system reducing resting heart rate and improving heart rate variability.
8-The Gut Biome! A Healthy gut is important. The good bacteria that live in your gut is literally a whole eco system, and weighs around 2kg!
We are only just starting to realise the importance of a healthy gut biome for the immune system, psychological and physical health. There seems to be several things that are beneficial to the gut biome. First up avoiding simple sugars, starves the bad bacteria in the gut. Starving them out gives more room for the good bacteria to have a home.
Secondly adding good bacteria to the gut to bolster populations can be very beneficial. Kefir is excellent for this and is being stocked by many mainstream super markets. Also Sauerkraut is a great choice and you soon get used to the taste!
The knock on impact from both a healthy and unhealthy gut cannot be understated.
Ok so until next the next post keep strong!!
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