The Fitness Zone
SA Director and Fitness Coach, Annette Chatterton explains what signs to look out for it you’re concerned you or a client may be overtraining.
Training is a “stress” applied to the body, and adaptation to these stresses improve our fitness. There are many physiological and psychological adaptations.
But what if the stress is so great that the body fails to adapt? Or what if the stress is compounded with other stresses and adaptation fails? Or if the stress is constantly at too high a level for that person’s physiology?
If stress is not managed properly it may blunt the adaptation and thus decrease athletic performance, health and even happiness.
Distress signals fall into three categories. These are all signs of overtraining. Early warning signs may go unnoticed at first, but if they are not recognised they may lead to chronic illness, injury or de-motivation.
1) Physiological signs
Dizziness, headaches, skin disorders, pounding heart, increased resting heart rate (6bpm higher), breathlessness, stomach aches, gastric upsets, fatigue, insomnia, hunger but loss of appetite.
2) Emotional signs
Anxiety, depression, being temperamental or moody, panic, lack of interest, boredom, loss of self esteem, and “snappiness”.
3) Behavioural signs
Disturbed sleeping patterns, feeling overtired, frequently distracted, forgetfulness, lack of attention, or lack of attention to detail, abnormal eating habits, loss of appetite, withdrawal from and disinterested in training and competing, but feeling like you “have to” train.
Recognising the warning signs is the first step. Then taking time to rest and recover is important. Also seek support and counselling to address the training volume and/or intensity. An honest discussion with your Coach is important. Perhaps try stress reducing techniques, like meditation and yoga, as well as relaxing walks or recreation.
In the long term it is important to address the training plan in conjunction with the added stresses in your life.