There are many benefits for using a personal trainer to help you improve your health and fitness levels and when you one of the things you avoid is overtraining your body to the point where your workouts are not actually doing you any good.
Overtraining can be put into 2 categories: general and local. General overtraining is seen to affect the whole body whereas local overtraining affects a specifc body part. In both cases overtraining affects the Central Nervous System (CNS) and Endocrine System, the effects of which are shown in various physiological and psychological signs & symptoms.
Some of the signs & symptoms of overtraining are noted below; this list is not exhaustive and you may only experience a few of these at any one time……
- increase in blood pressure during & after activity
- impaired coordination and reaction time
- tendency to tire easily
- lack of progress in your training
- resting heart rate can increase / decrease dependent upon the type of overtraining
- body temperature can increase
- resting pulse can be elevated
- appetite & metabolism can be reduced
- tendency to sweat more
- increased breathing rate under stress
- muscles can be stiff & pained for long periods (unlike DOMS which wears off relatively quickly)
- tendency to get headaches & colds and take a long time to get over them
- longer time to recover from your normal workout
- poor motivation
- general feeling of unease which can lead to feelings of depression
Overtraining in gym-goers can also be caused by a lack of recovery due to poor sleep patterns, lack of quality calories and a balanced lifestyle. Add the stress of work, children and social lives it is easy to see how copying a workout programme designed for a full time athlete from the internet or magazines will quickly lead to over training. At Results by Design when we design a workout programme for a client who has taken on our personal trainer services it is effected by all of the lifestyle factors mentioned above, this will always lead to compromises to get maximum results whilst intelligently avoiding over training.
Most people think that just going to the gym will get results – this is not how training works and gym overtraining actually has a very simple solution. Everybody needs to follow a workout programme. A good workout programme will enhance results and will help prevent overtraining and overuse injuries.
How you can create overtraining injuries from taking part in strength training:
- Too many reps / sets
- regularly train with near max loads
- train same muscle groups too frequently
- inadequate recovery periods
- insufficient rest
Detecting overtraining can be tricky, especially if your symptoms are not obvious. One way I recommend is to monitor your heart rate when you wake up in the morning. If your heart rate is elevated (compared to your normal waking heart rate) when you wake up then this can be a good indication of overtraining.
Another method I’ve used with athletes is performing a performance test before training. I like to use the standing long jump or med ball chest throw – you have a baseline figure and if you reach or exceed it then you are OK to train. If you didn’t make that score then we swap your hard session for an easier / recovery session.
The majority of overtraining seen in gyms is local overtraining. People tend to gravitate to what they are good at and ignore areas they need to work on. Guys bench press way too often with too much load and too many total reps per workout and not enough variety . This leads to local overtraining of the chest and shoulder muscles causing their strength levels plateau. Instead of backing off they try to bench press more to break the plateau, which leads to a vicious cycle of local overtraining and normal injury.
Keeping a workout journal that combines your workout progressions, sleep patterns, how you feel and tracks nutrition is great way of detecting the early onset on overtraining. Often writing these things down means that you acknowledge how you feel and you start to recognise patterns.
Top tips for avoiding overtraining:
· Proper recovery
· Proper nutrition
· Smart programming
For more in-depth information on overtraining please read Supertraining by Mel C Siff.
If you think you have been over doing your workout at the gym and would like more specialised help from a personal trainer we are more than happy to take you through a week of free personal training at our personal training studio on Battersea Park Road so you get to know how we can help you.
Call Carol on 0203 551 6739 or click here to complete our personal training enquiry form and we will call you.