Ever heard the phrase too much of a good thing is bad? Exercise is no exception to this. Many people are looking to get fitter, lose weight or begin on a fitness journey. They walk in with the best intentions and highly motivated, suddenly they are spending everyday in the gym working hard, but getting nowhere.
The stress placed on the body can be described as workload, both physical and mental demands can add to total workload. It is thought that an increase in workload is linked to overtraining and injury risk. Monitoring workload is the main way of reducing this risk, many professional athletes use GPS trackers but it doesn't have to be expensive with apps such as STRAVA accessible to all, you can monitor your own physical load.
Psychological workload is much more complex but should also be monitored, if something is causing you additional stress, such as; work and family, then your physical workload may have to be adjusted to prevent too much workload. Not pushing so hard in a session or taking an extra rest day that week aren't signs of weakness, they are signs of awareness.
Training is relative to rest, the work you put in the gym is only beneficial when you recover. Without recovery the body can fall into Overtraining syndrome.
As this graph shows training is not a linear path to improvement it is a constant cycle of training, recovery, improvement. As time goes on the base fitness level will rise and more demand can be placed upon the body, leading to improvement. Without the enough recovery the line will never return above base fitness level meaning a decline in performance is seen.
HOW TO TREAT OVERTRAINING
The only answer is rest, if your training is having a negative effect on you, never try to out train the problem. Re-evaluate, rest and come back stronger.
Top Tips to Avoid Overtraining:
Monitor activity and stress levels
Follow a well structured program
Get enough sleep
Speak to a professional