We always hear, no excuses, keep going even when you don’t want to, heck I’ve even said this to myself. So, when do we know it's time to take a break, not just a physical break, but a mental reset?
So, what are things we should be noticing and doing to help aid in this, so we don’t overtrain, and we are taking adequate rest & recovery?
Proper program planning, if you are working with a trainer they should be doing this for you, and if they are listening to your wants, needs, goals, and lifestyle! If you have children who are in sports, you're working a full-time job, plus all the other things that need to be done such as groceries, house cleaning, animals etc, your time becomes important and adding in health shouldn’t mean overfilling your plate that it becomes overwhelming. Your health should help your quality of life, not add extra stress.
If you are working with a qualified personal trainer don’t be doing extra workouts or extra cardio. Everything they plan is prioritized specifically to your lifestyle, time, goals, and abilities, if you aren’t telling them everything, they can’t properly help you and you're wasting your money and their time. If you aren’t using a trainer, then make sure you're giving yourself adequate rest days, if you are a beginner program 2-3x a week to give yourself at least twenty-four hours of recovery between working days. If you are an advanced athlete, programming 4-6x a week should be adequate, as long as you are fueling properly, focusing on rest,
adequate sleep, getting in your recovery days, chiropractor, massage, and physiotherapy if needed. A minimum of 10 minutes of stretching, foam rolling, and mobility work should be done every day, especially as you age. I do this to decompress, especially with my children and teach them to breathe. This can easily be added in at the end of the day or early morning, if you’re an early riser after your morning routine gives yourself 10-mins to meditate, stretch or work on mobility. If you like watching TV at night, lay on the floor for 10-min and stretch or foam roll.
So, let's dive into what are the signs of overtraining.
It is perfectly ok to take a week or two off from working out to recover, and reset mentally, emotionally, and physically. The physical symptoms of overtraining are.
I. If you're dreading going and this is something you used to love doing all the time. You know it's time to take a rest. Working out or being active, especially if it's something you love doing, you should dread doing it, you should love doing it as it is supposed to make you feel better overall.
II. If you are noticing your overheating or sweating more than usual.
III. If You aren’t recovering as quickly or are more sore than usual or the soreness is not going away. This is a big sign that a rest or break is needed. Symptoms of extreme soreness can also be dangerous. Rhabdomyolysis, or is often called Rhabdo. This is a severe medical condition that can be life-threatening and fatal if not treated by medical staff. This occurs when damaged muscle tissue releases its protein and its electrolytes into the bloodstream. This by-product can damage your heart and kidneys. This is why it is important to find a qualified personal trainer who knows how to properly prioritize your programming for you.
IV. If you are noticing that you are extremely tired or never feeling fully rested or recovered, even though you're eating efficiently enough, getting adequate sleep, and taking proper rest days. Then you know this is time to take a break.
V. If you are experiencing re-occurring injuries or lots of injuries such as sprains, joint pain or even fractures. This also should be taken seriously with your doctor so they can do the proper check-up to make sure nothing serious is going on as well. Overtraining can cause these medical issues as well.
VI. If you're noticing that your not improving in your personal best and your having to lower your weights, noticing your running times are not improving, or noticing your weight, measurements, or body fat isn’t moving at all, then we know the body is to stress and a break is necessary to take.
Those are just some of the physical, now there are mental and emotional aspects of overtraining. Here are some of these symptoms.
I. If you’re feeling low energy, or fatigue even though you feel like you're getting adequate rest, especially if this isn’t a part of your routine, you know it is time to take some time off.
II. If you are dreading going to something that used to find you a lot of joy, especially with something you love doing.
III. Mood and emotional changes, such as irritability, anger, and restlessness.
IV. If you're finding you're not sleeping well or experiencing insomnia.
V. If you are experiencing problems with concentration, and focus, at school, work, or home life.
The health concerns:
I. You may experience a higher resting heart rate and higher blood pressure.
II. You may see unwanted weight gain or weight loss.
III. Prevalence in disorder eating or eating disorders may happen.
IV. Loss of menstrual cycle / No period
V. Increase in Illness
Training is a balancing act, make sure to take adequate days off, take proper recovery days, make sure your nutrition is on point and your not depriving your body is the proper calories it needs to function, get inadequate water, and sleep. Make sure you're prioritizing your workouts properly and if you don’t know how to seek out a qualified personal trainer to help, even if it's for a consultation to see how they do things, interview a few who align with you and what you want. They will be able to help you structure a workout and give you proper advice on programming, and form.
Take care of yourself!