Saturday, November 3, 2012

I'm Overtrained

October was an extremely busy and fast paced month for me every weekend - a bachelor party, CF Oly Cert, ACL Music Festival, Unground Strength Cert., hosting and entertaining family from out of town, and a wedding.  I've also been distracted with some big changes coming up, which I'll post about soon.

With jammed packed weekends and distractions, I had to bunch my training together during the week.  Our volume has been relatively low, but intensity VERY high, so by the 4th day of training in a row, I was toast.  My weekends of "rest" consisted of eating like crap, LOTs of drinking and not a lot of sleep.  Needless to say, less than ideal training situations.  Don't get me wrong, I love to have a good time, but I haven't partied hard like that 4 weekends in a row since college.  My body definitely can't handle that anymore.

The end result is that I started missing lifts I should've easily made, strained my back, am absolutely exhausted, and am unmotivated to do much.  What does this mean?  I'm overtrained.  My body couldn't adapt to the stress I was putting it through with the lack of quality recovery and insufficient rest, leading to injury and exhaustion.

Most of the time, it is very hard to detect overtraining before it's too late.  Some people, however, don't realize when they are overtrained and keep pushing through, which can be very detrimental.  So, how do you know if you're actually overtrained versus just tired?  According to Mel Siff and his book, Supertraining (1), here's a list of variables and what happens to the body if you are overtrained:

1) Blood Pressure: Slight increase.
2) Coordination: Impaired, with increased reaction time.
3) Bodymass: Decrease.
4) Endurance: Tendency to tire easily.
5) Sleep Requirements: Increase.
6) Resting Pulse: Elevated.
7) Body Temperature: Slightly increased.
8) Appetite: Reduced.
9) Metabolism: Altered, with increased tendency to sweat; abnormally increased breathing rate under stress.
10) General Muscle Soreness: Mild to pronounced, with tendency to muscle stiffness and pain.
11) General Resistance: Tendency to headaches, colds, fever blisters; prolonged recuperation.
12) Recovery Time: Increased.
13) Psychological Changes: Nervousness, poor motivation, inner unease, eventual depression.

You have to be careful (unlike myself), so that once you start noticing any of the above, you take a rest from training.  If not, it can lead to overtraining injuries that may be the result of too many repetitions or sets, regular training with near maximal loads, training the same muscle groups too frequently, inadequate recovery periods, and insufficient rest.

Ultimately, the program I was on was not the cause of my overtraining, it was how I managed my recovery periods and rest.  My major point with this post is to stress this: you MUST be smart when it comes to your rest and recovery.  If you're not, you're walking down a road with lots of bumps and dead-ends.

I found the graph below that is a great illustration of overtraining from Sprint Malta.  This page also goes into greater detail about the specifics of overtraining, so definitely check the link out.

Source: Sprint Malta

1) Siff, Mel C. Supertraining. Denver: Supertraining Institute, 2004. Print.

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