Overtraining – Anna Lewandowska – healthy plan by Ann

It is commonly said that sport is good for health. It is impossible to disagree with it, however … It is important to balance physical activity with recovery and rest to maintain both physical and mental health. Today I would like to touch on an important topic, which is overtraining. What is it, how it manifests itself and how to prevent it. Regardless of how much you are related to sport, it is worth reading the information that can protect you from overtraining, because it can apply to both beginners and advanced in the world of sports and physical activity.

What is overtraining syndrome

Let’s start with the basics. Overtraining syndrome is an imbalance between training loads and regeneration, in other words, training loads exceed the body’s adaptive capacity. A number of unfavorable changes take place in the body, including:

  • the reserves of muscle glycogen are reduced,
  • the processes of disintegration are increased and the processes of synthesis (construction) of muscle proteins are reduced,
  • the functioning of the nervous system is disturbed,
  • the concentration of free radicals in the blood increases.

There are 2 types, depending on the type of overload of the autonomous system:

  • overtraining the parasympathetic system: mainly for people who train endurance sports: running, cycling, cardio training, etc.
  • overtraining the sympathetic nervous system: mainly in speed and strength sports: running, sprint swimming, weightlifting, but also simply strength training.

Overtraining is often the result of many factors, including:

  • badly selected training (too intense),
  • deficient and low-calorie diets. You will learn about what to eat before and after training HERE,
  • too little sleep
  • stress – I know that it is an inseparable element of today’s life, but it is always worth trying to minimize it. You can read about my ways to deal with it HERE.

It is important not to confuse the overtraining syndrome with post-training fatigue, which is a short-term, normal and physiological condition. You can always start to control your energy levels and overall well-being to prevent training-recovery imbalances. Unfortunately, alarm signals are very often ignored, which has negative consequences.

Symptoms of overtraining

Many signals in our body can indicate overtraining. They can be anatomical, physiological, biochemical or psychological.

It stands out here:

  • no training progression despite increasing training volume or intensity, which results in a decrease in form, strength and muscle mass,
  • problems with motor coordination, decreased efficiency,
  • long-lasting muscle pain, contusions, blood pressure disturbances and fatigue,
  • insomnia, night sweats, headaches, menstrual disorders in women,
  • mood disorders, lack of self-confidence, lack of appetite,
  • gastrointestinal problems.

Contrary to appearances, it is not easy to overtrain. Research shows that this condition is referred to when permanent fatigue and decreased efficiency last more than 2 months.

Better to prevent

I hope you also assume that prevention is better than cure! By observing your body, checking yourself regularly, taking care of the appropriate breaks between trainings, periodizing training and adjusting it to the current life situation, you can 100% prevent the occurrence of overtraining syndrome.

If you attend the gym, it may be worth consulting a specialist in terms of choosing exercises or arranging a training plan. If you exercise at home, I recommend training with my app Diet & Training by Ann (you can find her HERE), you will find there both training programs and balanced nutritional plans as well as the Balance tab, which will allow you to calm down and get away from everyday problems.

Personally, I try to take care of the right amount of sleep and regeneration, because I know how important they are for the body. The positive effects are really noticeable 🙂 Focus, better concentration, more energy, better frame of mind, more effective work and training. Isn’t that what it’s all about? You can read more about regeneration HERE.

If you have noticed some of the symptoms listed above, you train quite intensively, and yet you do not see any improvement, you feel tired, your desire and motivation to train decrease, I encourage you to rest. Reduce your training volume or take a break 🙂 Everyone needs training! Take care of sleep, proper nutrition, give yourself some relaxation and recharge your batteries.

Statistics show that the problem of overtraining affects between 10-20% of athletes, more often women than men. Unfortunately, there are no studies or statistics that would clearly show what this problem looks like among amateur sportsmen. Therefore, we should not take this topic lightly. Take care of yourself!

Bibliography:

  1. Kreher JB. Diagnosis and prevention of the overtraining syndrome: opinion on educational strategies. Open Access J Sports Med. 2016; 7: 115–122.
  2. Kreher JB, Schwartz JB. Overtraining syndrome: a practical guide, „Sports Health” 2012, 4(2), 128–38.
  3. Lastella M, Vincent GE, Duffield R, et al. Sleep Be Used as an Indicator of Overreaching and Overtraining in Athletes? Front Physiol. 2018; 9: 436.
  4. Szewczyk A, et al. The incidence of non-functional fatigue syndrome and overtraining syndrome in athletes, Medycyna Sportowa, 2018; 4 (4); Vol. 34, 213-218.
  5. Zielińska D, Szmit S. Chronic fatigue syndrome and overtraining syndrome. Cardiology after graduation. 2009, 8 (11), 64-69.