Are You Overtraining?
Experienced bodybuilders will say that when they started lifting weights they thought that for fast muscle gain they had to hit the gym like crazy, only to learn that muscle grows when in the recovery state.
If you train a muscle before it has fully recovered the muscle tissue will break down before it has rebuilt, which means no muscle gain at all. There are many factors that can be involved with overtraining like diet and genetics, but the usual problem is the body not having enough rest, meaning your body can't recover before your next training session.
How Do We Know If We Are Overtraining?
Muscles that you have trained are sore when you try and repeat the same exercise. Weight or muscle gain is minimal. This can be because your body's resources are being used for recovery and repair and not for growth.
- Feeling of fatigue, and no energy to train.
- Lifting weights and underperforming.
- Lack of enthusiasm for lifting weights when before going to the gym used to be the best part of the day.
How To Combat Overtraining
- First look at your diet, without enough nutrients your body will not recover and repair muscle. Food should contain protein, (real food as well as protein shakes), carbs and plenty of water.
- Meals need to start with breakfast and you should feed your body every 2/3 hours to avoid the chance of catabolism (the breakdown of muscle tissue) which can lead to muscle loss. If you are shredding it can be a crucial time to watch out for overtraining.
- Rest and sleep. Are you getting enough? Having 7/8 hours per night can make all the difference, also being consistent with sleeping and waking times, at least on weekdays.
- Depending on your job, this can affect your training. If you have a physical job then beware of overtraining. As much as you may want to, it doesn't always pay to go the gym every day if you have been doing physical work. Your energy levels can be low and so will your progress.
- Less days doing weights can actually give better results as muscle grows when you are not in the gym and the body is resting. Never work the same muscle groups 2 days following.
Effects Of Overtraining
- The immune system is weakened. Colds and other viruses are not kept at bay so easily.
- Possible high blood pressure.
- Muscles can have micro tears and tendon damage.
- Mental and physical fatigue.
- No appetite.
- Possible repetitive strain injury, for example using incorrect technique for too long.