Are you Overtraining?
Over training is an insidious beast. It creeps up on you like the mold in the bathroom you never dealt with. It grows week by week and then suddenly you’re struggling to perform at anywhere near your best and your motivation is rock bottom.
Over training syndrome occurs much like mold, when you ignore the symptoms for too long you suddenly realize one day its out of control.
The end result of O.T.S (over training syndrome) is extreme lethargy, reduced immune system function- leading to frequent infections and illnesses, increased incidence of injury, low libido, depression and reduction in sporting performance – now doesn’t that all sound lovely!
So what causes O.T.S? O.T.S is caused when the body cannot adequately adapt to either the volume or intensity of training.
It most frequently occurs when the person has not followed a correct periodised routine, staging in adequate periods of recovery or has just added so much volume recovery becomes impossible.
Athletes during an over reaching phase of training, such as the fighter in the middle of a fight camp or marathon runner during the volume phase of their training are particularly susceptible.
It can also come about from the fitness newbie throwing themselves with vigor into an extreme exercise routine – one of the main reasons why extreme boot camp style training sucks!
When starting out I never recommend that people attend fitness classes (unless they are designed for the beginner) until they are not only in good physical condition, but have the motor skills to move their body correctly. Too many people are initially put off exercise because either the intensity of exercise breaks them down to a point where recovery becomes impossible, or the coaching standard is so low injury is inevitable.
What will cause O.T.S in an untrained individual is much lower than that of the conditioned athlete. Each person has their own threshold at which gains will not only diminish but also become a detriment to their physiology.
So how first can you spot O.T.S?
1. Your morning resting pulse is elevated . This is a great simple test to establish if the body is playing catch up. If your morning pulse is elevated by more than around 10 beats per minute you could probably do with some extra time off from training.
2. You’re results are diminishing even though you’re putting in extra work in the training room.
3. You’ve been susceptible to more colds and skin infections . This can also be more serious. With a reduced immune system so to does the work your body does to clear cancerous cells. You may find simple cuts and injuries also take much longer to heal.
4. Insomnia often goes hand in hand with O.T.S you may feel like you can’t sleep even though you’re exhausted.
5. Your libido may be significantly lower. Bummer right. As a man you may find that you don’t wake up..ahem hard! Testosterone can plummet if you are suffering with O.T.S (both men and women) and also women’s periods may become irregular.
6. Morning grip strength can be significantly lower. A test to see when an athlete is peaking or over training can be a baseline morning grip strength test with a dynamometer. Morning grip strength can fall as much as 40% in my experience when an athlete is red lining.
7. Lack of motivation for training and even depression can be experienced with O.T.S .This can be influenced by the fluctuation of hormones.
1.O.T.S is caused by too much training and not enough recovery.
2. The amount of training leading to O.T.S varies from person to person.
3. By sensible monitoring methods O.T.S can be prevented.
So now you know the signs what exactly can you do to combat this menace? I’ll be addressing that in the next blog post so stay frosty ☺
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