Is There Such Thing As Over-Training?

The term over-training mutated very quickly from the moment it was coined – from the word that meant going over your limits when it comes to exercising to an excellent excuse for copping out and not doing your best.

When you are working out to achieve a goal, which can be anything from not being afraid to stand on the scale, to building up your strength and muscles, there will be obstacles. You should definitely know your limits, but there are some factors that might set you off in a bad direction when thinking about overtraining.

First of all, if you are not a professional athlete, you shouldn’t spend most of your day in the gym, no matter how much you believe it will give you quicker results.  You need to know your limits, so that you can push them, but don’t crank up an hour of HIIT with little or no rest, this is not going to help, but will rather knock you out for a couple of minutes.

Recovery time and recovery quality, this is what should concern us. Most of the times, when we think we are overtraining, we are actually not putting enough attention to our recovery periods. We don’t just think about those short periods of taking a breather in between different exercises, we are talking about the rest of your day and night when you are not working out.

Resting, as in sleeping, is one of the major factors that will significantly change your work out results, as well as the way you feel about exercising in general. Think about it – if you don’t get enough sleep, how will you feel during the day? There won’t be a pep in your step, that’s for sure. And if you don’t have enough energy for your daily activities, you can be sure that working out will be your personal hell when you gather strength to do it.

Everybody recommends at least eight hours of quality sleep (sometimes up to ten hours), after which you will be sufficiently rested and ready to nail your day and your work out. However, this regime might not be suited for everyone. There are people who thrive on six hours of sleep, and if you are one of those people, don’t push yourself into new sleeping habits unless you feel they will benefit you.

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The truth is that a few more hours of rest can enhance your performance in the gym, but if your sleeping patterns suit your needs, don’t change them at any cost, because they will bring more damage than improvement.

Another important issue when it comes to recovery time is most certainly the way you eat. Even when you are trying to lose weight, you should not be starving yourself while working out because doing so will cause fainting and fatigue. What you should do is lower your carb intake, not stop eating all together or barely eat. On the contrary, you should focus on eating real food – lean meats, vegetables, fruit (just bear in mind that fruit is packed with natural sugars) etc. and even eating a bit more of it, because your body uses it as a fuel, and the more intense you work out, the more fuel you will need.

Also, don’t forget the importance of digestion, which can cause a world of problems if your digestive tract is in misbalance. For your digestion to work without a fault, you need to know more about which foods should and shouldn’t be combined in a meal and you need to drink plenty of water (at least 8 cups of water a day). If you have a genetic predisposition for digestive issues, then think about taking probiotic supplements that will ease your troubles such as bloating, constipation, gas and other nasty buggers. Also, fermented food will help if you consume it frequently.

Last, but not least stress management is one of the most important factors in your life in general, so you better believe it will affect your working out as well. If your recovery periods are filled with stressful situations or thoughts, this not only drains you of much needed energy, but also poses a threat to your health. Whatever helps you unwind – be it yoga, therapy, going out with your closest friends, or sex – just do it.

It will be a world of help, and, alongside all other abovementioned factors, stress relief will make you feel better while working out and will enable you push yourself a bit further without the fear of fictional over-training.

Remember, if you take care of yourself properly, there is no such thing as over-training.

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