When training—in sports or just for fitness—one of the dangers you must be aware of is overtraining. Stress is a large part of any long-term exercise program—adaptive body stress. Often, the physical stress can manifest itself in a variety of ways—both physical and mental.
When there is appropriate tension on the body, an athlete will develop. However, if there is too much of a workload, overtraining and burnout could result—and in some cases, leading to physical damage of the body.
Many of the signs of exercising to excess are subtle—and can be easily mistaken for other problems. The challenge is to understand overtraining properly—and make necessary changes to your routine. Sometimes it is only a matter of pulling back a little to keep you at your peak performance.
If you think you may be overtraining—watch for some of these signs:
• Movement becomes heavy or disturbed—with cramps, instability or delay.
• Disturbed patterns in motion or movement—not feel the steady stream of motion that you once did.
• There is a distinct lack of concentration, or you find yourself easily distracted during (or immediately after) a workout.
• You have a lower tolerance, strength and speed.
• Suddenly it takes a longer time than usual to recover from a workout.
• You have less enthusiasm for working out, or a lack of a competitive nature.
Any of these signs—or a mixture or signs—may signal overtraining. Proper recovery is necessary to avoid burnout, as well as giving yourself enough time to get back to your schedule after injury.
Lifestyle can also be a factor—including alcohol use, smoking and excess caffeine. If you feel like you are overtraining, review any recent changes in your behavior.