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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Psychological Effects of Over-Training

By: Alex Liska

Although it is great to workout and eat healthy, there is a fine line between going to the gym religiously; everyday and sometimes twice a day, to over-exerting yourself and over-training. Sometimes when you are starting to see very promising results, you're training for an event or you're a serious athlete you tend to think "mind over matter" and sometimes you might end up ignoring your body or some of the early warning signs of having over-done it at the gym.
Exhaustion and Fatigue can often be the results of unusual stress, emotional upset or even boredom. Since the cause is usually psychological, it can often go away with REST and CHANGE OF MOOD. It's CRUCIAL to get enough rest post-workout and feed your muscles the right kind of vitamins, nutrients and stay hydrated. Sometimes we may not realize it but if we are under stress due to work-related issues, family problems, financial dilemmas and many other lifestyle factors, our bodies and minds may be working over-time and not allowing us enough recovery time. If you have a lot on your plate it can be hard to remember to eat the right foods or eat 5-6 times a day. Maybe you can't sleep at night because of a huge project/deadline that you're thinking about at your job, or there may be a line of credit/unpaid bill that is just there pending and waiting to be looked after.
With all the pressure in different aspects of life it is important to understand early warning signs that you need to take a break.

Here are some of the mental and physical symptoms of over-training:
-Tired, Lack of Energy, Drained
-Exhausted
-Constant, almost compulsive NEED to train/exercise (psychological)
-Insomnia, Trouble Sleeping
-Muscle and Joint aches, pains
-Headaches
-Irritability, Frustration
-Decreased appetite
-Moodiness
-Depression (can range from mild to more severe)
-Lack of Enthusiasm in the Activity (Cardio/Weights/Sports)
-Inability to stay Focused


If you think you are over-training or experience any or more of the above symptoms it would be a good idea to take some time off from the gym. Continue eating clean/healthy but give your body some time to rest and recuperate. Try getting involved in different activities, such as reading, writing, drawing, walking (more for relaxation than anything), spending time with family/friends, baking/cooking (healthy of course unless you are baking/cooking for others...LOL), going out for coffee, lunch or dinner with a friend... Think of what you would do that is relaxing and convenient at the same time. Take this time to rest your body and eat healthy, stay hydrated, STRETCH! That is a very important part of recovery/training and can be performed to relax post-workout. Engage in light stretching activities, this will help relieve tension in your muscles and make it easier for you to relax. The most important part of over-coming psychological effects of over-training would be to take a mental-vacation! Allow yourself to think of things OTHER than your physique and training. As long as you are eating properly (proteins, veggies, healthy fats, fiber, staying hydrated) you will not lose any of your hard-earned work and your body will definitely THANK YOU for the much-needed rest!
Another important tip is to keep a training log to keep track of your workouts, how intense you have been training, how much cardio/weight-training you are doing. This is a great way to figure out by consulting your log/workout tracker if you are over-doing it at the gym! You can also tell whether it is time to change your program and perhaps try something new; new exercises, more/less cardio, more stretching etc... A training log is also a great reference for you of what works and what doesn't work. You can always look back on it and figure out which program(s) worked best for you.

I hope this helps some of you; I have definitely been a victim of over-training and I've even experienced mild injuries from it in the past, so now i know to
SLOW DOWN and take my time...my family members/friends also like when I take some rest because that way I can actually get the chance to pick up the phone and give them a call! :)

3 comments:

  1. Great post alex :)
    when you mention a trainnig log i pull a bit of a blank, never have been good at organising myself.

    guess ill go googling for it, but just an idea for the future, perhaps a post on how to set one out properly for all us unorganised cave men types ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sure!!! great idea Ruben!! i will be posting a printable training log soon!!!! :) thank you for your comment! :)

    ReplyDelete
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