Okay, I’ve been MIA (missing in action) this week I apologize. The following are not excuses, merely just a glimpse into the recent events of my life. I work a full time job, recently decided to also get a part-time job, training twice a day (or at least once a day if I can’t fit in two), try to keep up on my blogging (which I love, oh by the way; writing is a great way to relieve stress and relax), taking a certification course to better my resume, and try to spend time with my amazing husband and dog while also trying to maintain somewhat of a social life with our friends. So with all of these things, with life going on, how does one stay motivated? I’ll be honest, this last week was hard and my motivation was severely lacking so my training suffered. But I started to question whether it was all of these things dragging me down or if it was something else entirely. Why would all of this affect me this week when the previous week I had great workouts and motivation of a goddess? Could this be a sign of possible overtraining? Maybe, but what exactly is overtraining and how do you know if you’re a victim? (Or is it just your hypochondriac tendencies kicking in)?
7 signs you are a victim of overtraining:
- Sudden drop in performance or you repeatedly fail to complete your normal workout. If you are beginning to go backwards with your workouts, as in, you should be continuing to go faster, harder, stronger, but instead you’re slower, softer (that’s all I could come up with for opposite of harder), weaker, there’s a good chance you’re overtraining.
- You’ve reached a weight-loss plateau/you’re gaining weight (and I don’t mean muscle mass). We all know that working out is a great way to lose weight and that too much or too often can cause weight loss, but few understand that the opposite effect can also happen. This is because the body’s hormonal balance has been tipped. Too much cortisol (released in response to stress and a low level of blood glucocorticoids) increases insulin resistance and fat deposition, mostly around the midsection. Are you noticing a loss in definition, as in, you’re training like a goddess but your six-pack is fading?
- Family and friends are avoiding you because you are moody. Feeling irritable more than a day or two after working out may be an early sign that you are overtraining.
- Feeling absolutely exhausted all of the time, needing naps in the afternoon, and dragging through the day with the sole focus on resting your head and body in bed. Exercising releases endorphins (these make you happy!) and often you feel more energized and healthy post-workout. If instead you are feeling like you want to crawl back into bed, are so tired you can’t focus, and instead of the happy, healthy feeling normally experienced, you feel like the moody, irritable person in sign three above you need to take a look at your training and recovery schedule.
- Are you constantly suffering from a cold? Overtraining can negatively affect your immune system. Cortisol and adrenaline (those darn stress hormones again) raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels and suppress the immune system. With moderate exercise the immune system is strengthened, but if you are noticing an increase in cold systems and sore throats your immune system has probably been compromised.
- Pain in muscles and joints and an increase in injuries. Take note of how you are feeling each day to help you notice downward trends and rank your level of soreness. If you can barely make it down the stairs and every step you take hurts, you may need to take a few days of rest.
- Even though you are exhausted you are experiencing insomnia. Odd yes, but has been shown to be the case in many athletes that over train.
This list is not an all or nothing list. It is important to pay attention to your own body and know what your limits are and what your norms are. If you start to experience any of the above take a look at your training and recovery schedule to see if overtraining could be a possibility. Remember, rest is a good thing! As Kristen Dieffenbach, Ph.D., an assistant professor of athletic coaching education at West Virginia University said, “You don’t get stronger because you did an awesome workout, you get stronger because you ate right, slept, and recovered afterward.”
Sources: http: www.marksdailyapple.com/overtraining/#axzz2OMvZRZ21; http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/overtraining/a/aa062499a.htm; http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/are-you-overtraining?page=single;http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/9-reasons-skip-your-workout-sometimes; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortisol