Overtraining: Know the Risks and When to Slow Down
It’s tough not to get excited about a new workout – and even tougher not to put one hundred percent determination and enthusiasm behind a training program or preparation for a big race. We want to get in shape, push ourselves to the limits, and prove to ourselves that we are stronger and tougher than we were the day before.
Sometimes, however, that unbridled energy can keep us from reaching our fitness goals. Overtraining can tax our bodies, minds and spirits, causing injuries that keep us on the sidelines.
“I’m consistently asking my clients what they are doing when they are not training with me. If they are exercising seven days a week at a high intensity, then they are most likely overtraining,” said Patrick Gilpin, Coors Core Fitness’s newest trainer. “I’ve been in the field long enough to tell if they are or not and if they are doing P90x-Insantiy or some form of CrossFit on the days they should be resting. More is not always better.”
Patrick recommends his clients listen to their bodies and slow down as soon as they feel they are working to hard for too long.
“I make sure my clients are getting the correct rest periods through the different phases of training, proper nutrition, water and sleep,” said Patrick. “And I tell them to try to live stress free.
Coors Core Fitness owner Lisa Coors discusses the risks of overtraining and how to tell if its time to slow down.
Why is overtraining so risky?
Lisa: Usually, most people don’t know they are overtraining. By the time they figure it out, they are injured. Once injured, the injury cannot just affect their ability to exercise but their ability to work or go to school. Some injuries require surgery and rehabilitation, which can cost a lot if the patient does not have the insurance.
Why do people overtrain?
Lisa: I see overtraining come from two major areas: Coach/Trainer led programs and self-induced exercise addiction. The first category could be a high school athlete whose coach/trainer dictates a program to progressive for that athlete. This can also be an adult athlete training for their first marathon. The second area comes from exercise addictions. I see this more in adult runners and triathletes. Some of these athletes can’t say no to their routine even if all the signs are there for overtraining.
How do you know if you are overtraining?
Lisa: Most common are: can’t fall asleep at night, irritability, lack of mental clarity and tired during the daytime.
How can you recover from overtraining?
Lisa: Overtraining can only stop when the athlete is injured or sees the signs listed above. I recommend the athlete write down their workouts and show them to a trainer or coach. Usually some tweeking to the workout schedule will help take down the intensity unless the athlete is so injured they are told not to exercise by their physician.