One of the great aspects of exercise is the rush of endorphin that you get after a workout. In fact, that rush can make exercise somewhat addictive, which is surely a good thing seeing as it’s so good for us. However, fitness fanatics beware – it’s easy to fall into the trap of overtraining. Here’s how to make sure you can continue exercising safely and avoid overtraining or injuries from exercise.
Are you overtraining?
Injuries from exercise are pretty obvious, but overtraining can be a little trickier to recognise if you’ve never experienced it before. Here are some of the signs:
- No longer seeing results from exercise…
- Or have even reversed somewhat
- Loss of motivation
- Gain in fat
- Loss of muscle mass
- Irritability and moodiness
- Decreased immune system
Fuel your workout
A good diet is especially important for avoiding both injury and overtraining. It’s easy to get preoccupied with whey protein, particularly when trying to build muscle mass, but carbohydrates are essential too, as are other types of proteins. Without carbs, your body may instead use that very muscle mass you’re trying to build for energy when you exercise.
Short and sweet
Of course a three hour workout will feel like a great achievement – and it is! However, completing workouts of this length too regularly can lead to overtraining. It takes about an hour for our testosterone levels to dip, and cortisol to rise. Testosterone is good for training, as it enables our muscles to grow, but cortisol can cause weight gain, so extra long sessions at the gym can do more harm than good.
Take a look here for a great hour long cardio workout.
Swap dumbbells for your duvet
allowing time to recover after a workout is essential, but as well as planning in rest days it’s important that you get a good night’s sleep. As well as being a great way to avoid overtraining and injury, sleeping well is one of the best ways to recover from overtraining. Try to make sure that you get at least seven hours per night, preferably nine if possible.
This article offers some great advice on sleeping soundly.
Warm up and stretch
It’s such a basic part of a workout that often we can underestimate the vital importance of the warm up and cool down. Taking five minutes to warm up the muscles before exercise can make a huge difference to how they’ll perform, and forgetting to complete a warm up can lead to injury. Always make sure that you plan an extra ten minutes into your workout time – unless you want to spend even longer resting an injury.
Hi there, my name is Jonathon. I work at Nature’s Best and I am something of a fitness fanatic. I love reading and writing about nutrition and I also enjoy running and picking up heavy things. I have been known to overdo it, so I am more than familiar with the risks of over-training.
Thank you Jonathon for your contribution to Grainddiction! It certainly has expanded our knowledge on over-training and exercise-related injuries! We hope to have your writing again one day.