Over-training: Too Much of a Good Thing
The number one question I am asked when approached by a new client is how many times a week do I need to train? Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits all answer. Honestly, it depends. It is hard to give an exact answer because several factors play a role: How intense is each workout? Are you warming up correctly? Are you following a nutrition plan? The thing we need to watch out for is over-training. While over-training can occur in a variety of different ways, it typically results from a combination of hormonal, neuroendocrine, and nutritional imbalances, secondary to heavy training.
The Signs of Over-training
Although it can produce positive outcomes, intense training completed too frequently without sufficient rest, can compromise a client’s muscular, endocrine, and immune systems, as well as psychological state. Signs and symptoms of over-training can be:
Extreme muscle soreness or stiffness during and in-between training sessions
Non-injury related joint or back pain
Swollen lymph nodes
Depression and/or anxiety
When a client has over-trained
If over-training is suspected, a few simple changes can help promote recovery while minimizing stress. To assist in the recovery from over-training, we may suggest dietary modifications, as well as support the need for rest and off days during training.
1. Dietary Modifications: Consuming a clean, well-balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory Omega-3s, and antioxidants can help support recovery. We encourage our clients to add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, to help manage inflammation
2. Rest: Five weeks of rest, which should include off and light training days, supports sustainable recovery. Although clients will recover at their own rate depending on the severity at which they’ve over trained, steady and constant recovery should not be rushed.
I understand that we all have goals, and we are often willing to do most anything to reach those goals, but when we do not listen to our bodies that is when we can do real damage, Training 6 or 7 days in a row, has been shown to do more harm than good especially if it goes on for several weeks at a time. You will start to break down muscle, and with no recovery days, you will never give your body a chance to build and repair. Maintaining a proper exercise schedule along with a good diet, will keep you on a path to your goals.
Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about achieving your fitness and nutrition goals.
Kreher J. (2012). Overtraining Syndrome: A Practical Guide. Sports Health. 4(2), 128-138.
Zoorab R. (2013). Sports Nutrition Needs Before, During and After Exercise. Primary Care. 40(2), 475-86.