Only a few people understand the real implications of overtraining and yet this word is casually thrown around in gyms all around the world. You’ll usually see bro scientists use this word to garner attention and show how much more they know than everybody else.
If your progress has halted and you’re looking for possible reasons online, chances are you see overtraining listed as the main reason. While there might be possibilities of you being overtrained, there are other factors like diet and recovery which might be the true reasons for you hitting a plateau.
This is especially true if you’re a beginner or an amateur. To hit a plateau you need to be exhausting your body and muscles which are relatively harder to do in the beginning stages. Without any further ado, these are six ways to tell if you’re overtraining:
1. You Frequently Fall Ill
Falling ill is the exact opposite of why we workout. Most of us workout to lead a healthy lifestyle. Overtraining affects our nervous system in a negative way. The process of overtraining means your body is in a continuous catabolic state.
A catabolic state also means you’ll be losing muscle for the entire time you’re overtraining. You don’t want to be hearing this if you’re a serious bodybuilder. A catabolic state also leads to a weaker immune system and increased chances of falling ill.
2. Inability to Sleep
Insomnia is one of the biggest signs you’re overtraining. Sleep is when your body recovers. You know there is some problem when you can’t fall asleep even after an exhausting workout session. No matter how hard you workout, you won’t see results until your body is properly rested.
You need at least six to eight hours of sleep every night. This is the time frame your muscles need to recover and grow. If you’re unable to sleep for several nights in a short period of time, this can be a serious indication that you’re overtraining.
3. Increased Injuries and Joint Pains
When you overtrain, your body doesn’t get enough time to recuperate between workouts meaning that at some point you begin training in a weakened state. Overtraining can also lead you to re-aggravate old injuries.
Joint pains are also a prominent sign of overtraining. If you’re facing joint pains but you’ve made no changes in your workout schedule for 8-10 weeks, it can be because of overtraining. Most people who are overtraining will get joint pains at one point or the other.
4. Feel Tired and Sluggish Throughout The Day
If you’re a weightlifter and are overtrained, your parasympathetic nervous system becomes overly stimulated, leading to a decrease in testosterone, an increase in cortisol, a crushing fatigue (mental and physical), and a stubborn tendency to hang onto body fat.
Overtraining can make you feel tired and sluggish throughout the day even if you’re getting six to eight hours of sleep every night. Overtraining drains your body of all the energy making you drag your feet throughout the day.
5. Loss of Motivation and Depression
If you live, breathe, and sleep the gym life, then suddenly become disinterested, you’re probably overexerting yourself. This can be heartbreaking for serious lifters. People might blame the lack of motivation on a lack of sleep, a long day, etc., but it’s actually because of overtraining.
Exercise is typically good for your mental health — but if you’re overexerting in the gym, it could have the opposite effect. Depression could stem from various reasons like a mental image you set for yourself but an inability to achieve it.
6. No Major Muscle Gain
The bro scientists in your gym might be correct after all. If your gains have halted, chances are you’re overtraining. Overtraining leaves your body in a state where it does not get enough time to recover after workouts.
Before you know it you’re hitting the same muscle group again. The already torn muscle tissues are torn further and have no chance of repairing and growing bigger. Expect no major muscle gains if you’re training in an overworked state.
Recover From Overtraining
1. Get Your Diet on Point
One of the reasons you’re not recovering after your workouts can be because of your weak diet. Make sure your diet is on point and you’re meeting your macro and micro nutrient requirements daily. Consult a professional if you’re unable to chart a diet plan for yourself.
Rest is the key when it comes to combating overtraining. You need to be taking adequate rest between workouts. If you find yourself going through the sets too quickly, force yourself into taking rest by walking to the water cooler. Also, make sure you’re getting six to eight hours of sleep every night.
3. Supplement Your Way to Recovery
One of the reasons you’re not recovering can be because of an inadequate diet. If you’re unable to meet your daily nutrition requirements through real food, feel free to take supplements. Using protein supplements is a good way to speed up your muscle recovery. Micronutrient supplements like Vitamin E, C, D can be a great boon in recovery.
4. Deep Tissue Massage
Deep-tissue or sports massage of the affected muscles. A skillfully applied massage is the most effective therapy for releasing muscle tension and restoring balance to the musculoskeletal system. Receiving regular massages may help athletes prevent injuries, which might otherwise be caused by overuse.
5. Take A Break
We know this can be hard. In knowing that you may be doing more harm than good at the gym, set aside today and tomorrow as a break. Some people allow one week away from fitness to revive their bodies and mind, and then when they return to training, they have more focus and are enjoying themselves again.