It can be easy to get caught up in the notion that ‘more is better’ when it comes to exercise, however, this concept is often misguided. We’re not saying slob on the sofa every day but what we are saying is that you’re more likely to achieve your fitness goals by scheduling in rest days..
We caught up with PT and fitness expert Caroline Langmead to tell us why...
ONE OF THE KEY SIGNS OF OVERTRAINING IS NOT BEING ABLE TO RECOVER BETWEEN YOUR WORKOUTS AND EVENTUALLY REACHING A PLATEAU OR EVEN A DROP IN OVERALL PERFORMANCE.
There’s a fine line between experiencing muscle soreness and actually being over trained. This is when we need to be able to distinguish between needing to rest and just skipping your workout because you don’t feel up to it.
Listen to your body as only you know how you’re really feeling. Here are key signs to watch out for...
1. YOU STRUGGLE TO MAKE THOSE MUSCLE GAINS
Caroline says that ‘this can occur when overtraining the same muscle groups back to back, and not allowing time to recover between sessions.’
Remember rest will make you stronger, as it will allow your muscle fibres time to recover and heal.
2. YOU FEEL EXHAUSTED
If you’re struggling to make it through the afternoon after you hour-long HIIT session, you may want to think about taking a day or two’s rest. Caroline says that ‘neural fatigue is linked to your central nervous system so you need to keep an eye on as it takes much longer to recover from’
Exercise should make you happy, not burn you out.
3. YOUR HORMONES GO OUT OF WHACK
Caroline says that ‘whilst it’s rare for this to occur from regular training, overtraining can cause negative effects on hormone status. This includes cortisol levels rising and sex hormones dropping, which not only affects speed of recovery but also menstrual cycles.
4. YOU JUST CAN'T SHAKE OFF THAT COLD
Whilst moderate exercise can boost immunity, over exercising can do exactly the opposite and may induce a greater chance of developing upper respiratory tract infections.
5. YOUR WEIGHT LOSS HAS PLATEAUED
Caroline says that ‘overtraining can put your body under more stress than it can handle. Chronically high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, can actually inhibit weight loss and lead to stubborn belly fat that just doesn’t shift. The better we manage our general stress as well as exercise-related stress, the better chance we have of shedding the pounds’.
Photo: Braden Collum
6. YOUR MOOD
Whilst there’s a runners' high, there’s also an over-exercisers low. Caroline states that ‘research has shown over exercising affects neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin,' which can lead to symptoms such as depression, anger, irritability and even anxiety.
CAROLINE'S CONCLUDING WORD OF ADVICE...
It’s always best to listen to your body! Train hard when you are in the gym. Stay consistent with your nutritional intake and make sure both your training plan and nutrition plan are structured towards your goals. Rest when you are out of the gym if you know it is needed. By applying these strategies, you will reduce your chances of over training and increase your chances of getting the results you are working for.
Caroline Langmead, Personal Trainer
Photo Credit: Braden Collum
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