As we advance in our lifting / exercise age, many of us find that the 3-day weekly training split that we used in our ‘youth’s’ is just not enough to satisfy our aims / goals. I myself have slowly progressed from the traditional 3-day split to a 5-day split, until finally finding a good balance in a program consisting of Monday-Thursday (2-a-day’s), Friday – Saturday (single sessions), Sunday (off). However, no matter whether we’re training one or seven day a week, the issue of overtraining is one about which we need to maintain constant vigilance.
I heard a great saying the other day – “people don’t GET overtrained, they COME INTO THE GYM overtrained – taxed by the stresses and pressures of life, work, diet and poor sleep”. This, I believe is a good reflection of the majority of casual gym-goers, who don’t invest nearly as much time / energy into the process that many others of us consider almost ‘sacred’. Regardless of your attitude to training, it is important to be able to recognize the signs of ‘overtraining’, whenever they occur to allow for both a timely and proactive effort at returning oneself to optimal condition. What I’ve noticed is that many find introspection difficult. Therefore, this blog post aims to identify a checklist of possible signs that can serve as a basic self-diagnosis of over-training for everyone.
The symptoms of overtraining include, but are not limited to:
- Altered / inadequate restorative sleep or insomnia.
- Fluctuations in mood – which can suggest an overtaxed central nervous system / hormonal imbalances.
- Decreased grip strength.
- Decreased vertical jump height.
- Decreased motivation both in the training environment and beyond.
- A sustained feeling of exhaustion.
- Cold-like symptoms.
- Chronic muscle pain.
- Joint pain.
- Loss of appetite.
If you start noticing yourself experiencing these symptoms, do your body a favour and take the day off – I can guarantee that once your body restabilises itself, it will thank you by exceeding your performance expectations.