One of the biggest problems I see with my patients who do a lot of training is that they overtrain. They vastly underestimate the importance of taking time to recover and let their bodies heal. It’s easy to think that more is better, so they are constantly pushing their body to the max. Unfortunately, that’s when the most injuries occur.
During training you are actually breaking down the muscles in your body. Your body intelligently responds by rebuilding them stronger than they were before. However, your muscles don’t get stronger while you are working out. It’s when you are resting that you get stronger, faster, bigger, etc. That recovery time is so important for increased performance, as well as for avoiding injury.
It’s pretty simple when it comes down to it. If you are constantly breaking your body down and not allowing sufficient recovery time, you are going to injure yourself. The most common times I see this is with people who are training for endurance sports, like a marathon or triathlon, as well as people who do a lot of weight training. Quantity is not as important as quality.
All of the endurance athletes know the importance of tapering before a competition or race. The reason taper is so important is for the same reasons I described above. However, few people take that mentality into the rest of their training. If you don’t allow yourself time during your training to recover, you run the risk of injury. Increasing recovery time before a big race allows your body to be 100% for race day. Don’t you think it would be wise to try and be 100% for each training day? The more recovered you are for each training day, the harder you can push yourself, which results in making quicker gains in speed, power, and strength. Too often, endurance athletes get to their taper period injured. This time in the training schedule should be used to make sure the body is 100%, not crossing your fingers that your pain will go away.
Another key factor that intensifies over-training is lack of proper nutrition. What you eat and put in your body is the fuel your body uses when you are training. Proper nutrition plays an immense role in how you are going to perform, how effective your training is, and your likelihood of getting injured. Just like a car that needs the right fuel to run properly, if you aren’t putting the right fuel in your body, you put yourself at a much higher risk of getting injured.
Overtraining is much more common than people think. It’s something that I see frequently. Some common symptoms of over-training include always feeling tired or sluggish, having an increased heart rate, not recovering from previous workouts, chronic pain, and/or not feeling energized after you exercise.
As you are training, be sure to build in time to recover. You have to listen to your body to know what it needs. This will help you avoid injury and increase performance.
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