So many athletes suffer from overtraining syndrome, especially when training for big events and competitions. Previously we have spoken about the importance of including rest and recovery sessions in their training programs. However, there are still those that fail to do so and train longer and harder without increasing their recovery time. For an individual to see improvements in their performance the body needs to be overloaded to a certain extent. When the body is overloaded and exposed to a high level of demands it is forced to adapt to these demands and that is when performance gains are seen. The problem comes in when the overload exceeds the bodies recovery capacity. When there is inadequate time for recovery an athlete is at risk of overtraining and developing overtraining syndrome, which can have a detrimental effect on both the physical and mental state of the athlete.
So how can you tell if you are at risk of overtraining?
- Feeling washed out, tired, drained, and lethargic
- Elevated resting heart rate
- General aches and pains and an increase in the incidence of injuries
- Decreased levels in performance
- Headaches and decreased immunity with the development of colds, flu and other illnesses
- Irritability or depression
- A loss of enthusiasm or drive for their sport
- Decreased appetite and weight loss
If you are experiencing these symptoms and are at risk of overtraining or are currently in an over trained state, you can try the following:
- Ensure you are getting an adequate amount of sleep. 8-12 hours of sleep is necessary when training at intensities. Including a short nap in the day can also help reduce the stress on your body and increase your recovery levels.
- Take 3-5 days off from training completely. After adequate rest you will feel rejuvenated and want to return to training.
- Reduce your training volume and intensity for a few days.
- Get a deep tissue or sports massage. This will assist in your muscle recovery as well as allow your mind to relax.
- Ensure you are eating an adequate amount of food each day and getting the nutrients your body requires such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and mineral.
It is important to remember to listen to your body and give it the rest and time off that it requires. Take at least one full rest day a week and give your body time to rest between workouts in the week. It is great to work towards a goal but it important to remember that in order to achieve that goal you need your body to be at it peak.
For more information and training advise contact us here.