We have all done it at one point, or several points, in our lives. Sometimes we get a new workout program, met someone new, end a relationship, or get bad medical news we tend to go from 0-60mph with exercise. We work past failure and get up and do it again, sometimes training multiple times in a day. Justifying our actions by comparing our workouts with athletes who spend their days in the gym and on the field.
What we don’t take into consideration is the fact that athletes have been conditioned for excessive training. They are getting the nutrients and care to support their training. We, on the other hand, usually end a fitness spree one of two ways: injured or burnt out.
Overtraining is not limited to beginners but can also affect those in an established fitness routine. Wikipedia defines overtraining as “an emotional, behavioral and physical condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual’s exercise exceeds their recovery capacity.”
This is not to say you can’t train like an athlete. You just need to live like one too. It takes the body 12-24 hours post exercise to regenerate and repair. If there is inadequate rest, the body will plateau, strength will decline and injury is just a rep away. Counter this by alternating muscle groups on different training days to allow adequate rest.
The next thing to keep in mind is nutrition. The body can’t regenerate and repair without fuel from food. If you are training hard, but hardly eating, the amino acids (the building blocks for protein) become deficient and your body will not be able to keep up with your training. If your body becomes calorie deficient, it will breakdown muscle tissue to offset the deficit. You need to consider more than just calories. Your diet should be made up of a balance between healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
This gets tedious since we are repeatedly told that we need our calorie burning to be greater than our calorie consumption, if we want to be lean. But, there is a fine line between the two. And, if you have a hard time finding your balance, invest if finding some help! In the long run, you will save time, energy, frustration and injury!