Have you heard about overtraining?! Stay with us to learn more about its effects on the body!
One thing we rarely hear about is that exercising is quite addictive. Does this come as a surprise to you?! If so, you are not the only one. Generally, talking about the importance of regular exercise, we mainly focus on all the health benefits. However, one of the mental health benefits can also cause people to become workout addicts. Can you guess what it is?
Perhaps you have heard that when we exercise, our bodies release endorphins. These chemicals have effects similar to those of opioids, precisely morphine, and thus they are efficient in reducing pain. They also create this euphoric feeling that we have when we exercise. Do you see where we are going? That’s right, as positive as this workout-related euphoria is, it is also what can lead to addiction.
Okay, but we are continually told that exercise is healthy, right? So, what is the problem even if we get hooked? We will benefit more, will we not? Well, while you are generally right when you think that the more we exercise, the better we feel, there are also some side effects of it. One of them is overtraining? “Wait, over.. What?”! “So basically, it means that you work out too much”? It is not so simple really! But we understand that it sounds confusing for you as much as it did for us at the beginning! We are not professionals, and we had no clue about it. We wouldn’t even think about it if we didn’t start experiencing some bizarre symptoms. For example, although we are working out for years now, suddenly we started feeling worn out after each training. We also didn’t feel hungry no matter how hard we trained. And every single night, we had trouble falling asleep. So finally, after months of not feeling like ourselves, we talked with our friend, who is a consultant at home maker guide. He suggested that we might be experiencing overtraining syndrome symptoms the same as you, we were puzzled because we understood that he was saying we work out too much! “It is not that,” he said, “it is more about the point when training becomes an addiction, and you can’t stop even if it harms you in a way!” Then he explained some of the most common things that are seen as overtraining symptoms. “Don’t worry though, there are ways to deal with overtraining symptoms”, he told us!
So, What is Overtraining
As we said, overtraining doesn’t mean that you are working out too much! That is another issue called overtaxing. While some symptoms can coincide, there are two different phenomena. Overtraining happens when you don’t take enough time for your body to recover. As you know, it is recommended that you work out three to five days in a week. On other days you should rest and let your muscles recover. However, if you keep on going to the gym every day and for a certain period of time, you are likely to start experiencing signs and symptoms of overtraining. For many people they think this is something that can happen only to professional athletes engaged in specific types of sport, but this is a misconception. In reality, everyone can experience overtraining symptoms. But the severity is different. The important thing, though, is that there are ways to prevent and deal with it if it happens.
Lack of Appetite
Lack of appetite can be one of the symptoms of overtraining in bodybuilding. We don’t want to say that it is exclusively linked to this sport, though. However, bodybuilders and weight lifters tend to cut back on calorie intake in general. This is even more common when they skip on recovery days. Nonetheless, the body needs calories to function. So, when you are just burning the reserves, you might experience health issues such as anemia.
Continual Muscle Soreness
All of us who are physically active cannot say that we are foreigners to sore muscles! Soreness happens when we subject our muscles to more intense or exercise they are not adapted to. Usually, after a day or two of rest, everything comes back to normal. If you feel pain even after a few days, then we are talking about overtraining early symptoms.
One of the common overtraining symptoms is insomnia. As you know, sleep is critical for our well-being in general. When we are practicing sport, it is essential among other reasons, because while we are sleeping, our body releases hormones that enable the muscles to recover and grow. When we don’t sleep enough, or we sleep poorly, the body releases the stress hormone, called cortisol. This hormone disrupts sleep even more.
Changes in Heart Rate
You, perhaps, know that the resting heart rate of a healthy adult should be somewhere between 60 and 100. Of course, it depends very much on our fitness level, type of food, whether we drink alcohol, etc. Athletes can have lower heart rate. However, if you are training and notice unusual changes in your pulse, keep in mind that that can be an overtraining symptom.
Even those who know something about it rarely have enough information on overtraining mental symptoms. Cortisol, a stress hormone that is released when you are overtraining, can cause a wide range of mental health issues such as depression, mental fog, etc. Funny how something that generally positively affects your body and mind can have adverse effects if you overdo it, isn’t it?
Weakened Immune System
One of, in our opinion, the more severe overtraining symptoms is susceptibility to sickness. People who are regularly working out healthily have a strong and stable immune system. However, if you are continually pushing your body over the point of exhaustion, your defense system is likely to suffer. Hence susceptibility to viral and bacterial infections is one of the common overtraining symptoms when recovery periods are lacking.
If you start noticing that you are getting hurt during workouts more often than before, you should probably look for reason in symptoms of overtraining and muscle recovery. Here is the thing. When you are not letting your muscles adequately recover, you are exposing them to stress while they are weaker than usual. As such, they can’t perform the tasks at the level they would, in regular conditions. Hence you are getting injured more frequently.
Now when you know what overtraining symptoms are it will be easier to prevent them. The most important thing is to listen to your body and get enough rest. Apart from that, keep in mind that proper nutrition is equally essential for health. Thus, make sure that you don’t skimp on meals. We hope this text helps you to take care of yourself and maximally enjoy your workouts! Now, we would like to hear from you. How often are you working out? How do you make sure that you don’t over-train?
About the Author Thomas is a freelance writer, blogger, and fitness enthusiast based in Detroit and covering various topics related to health and fitness, including nutrition, gym equipment, supplements, etc. Since Thomas is an adventurer, he also often writes about traveling and extreme sports.