SHOULD YOU WORRY ABOUT OVERTRAINING?
Overtraining can be broken down into different sections (functional overreaching, nonfunctional overreaching and overtraining syndrome) and can be defined as an imbalance between training and recovery, leading to a decrease in training performance that lasts for several weeks to months (1).
For the average gym user, overtraining should not be a worry and possibly applying more intensity to your sessions should be the priority. Majority of gym users, training effort would not cross over into any possibility of overtraining, but functional overreaching is a possibility. Functional overreaching is when training is increased leading to a performance decrease, thus recovery should be prioritised during the period to reap the benefits during recovery and rest (supercompensation effect) (1,2).
The imbalance of training and recovery will have cause certain symptoms to occur and the awareness of these should be a priority for anyone serious about their training (1,3):
- Decrease in performance.
- Low energy.
- Unusually super difficult workouts.
- Excessive fatigue.
- Increased stress.
- Agitation and moodiness.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Nagging injuries from muscles and joints.
- Metabolic / hormonal changes.
- Higher resting heart rate (4).
- Longer recovery time to a resting heart rate (4).
Overtraining should be a factor that is considered as a possibility but mainly by athletes or serious gym users. Being aware of the above symptoms is important for getting the performance benefits during recovery of the overreaching phase. Having structured deload periods (a period of decreased volume and intensity) is a good management tool for reducing fatigue and improving results (5,6,7,8). An autoregulated approach (intrinsic feeling) for a more advanced experienced trainee could be used, but the symptoms of overreaching need to monitored closely to not allow the chance of overtraining syndrome to occur.