As I was thinking about what to blog, it occurred to me that I spend most of my days trying to get people moving, but don’t think enough about those that move too much, that is, those that might be overtraining. I have done it because after all who thinking about overtraining.
While we always want to add more activity to improve our fitness level, we must be careful not to over train as that has consequences. So, how much is too much? Well, it depends on your body’s response to the demands you are putting on it. Be mindful of what you are asking of your body. I always follow the rule of progressive overload, that is adding on gradually. Use the 10% rule when adding to your current routine. For example, if you are doing 10 reps of an exercise and it is getting a little easy, add 10% (i.e. 1 rep) to your next workout. Or, for cardio exercise, if you were doing 30mins, your next increase should be to a max of 33 mins. Following this rule will help add challenge but keep you in a safe range.
What if you have progressed faster than the 10%? Being aware of the signs of overtraining can be very helpful to make sure you are staying safe. Check out the following signs:
-chronic muscle soreness (that is not related to an injury)
-increase incidents of colds and infection
-decrease in appetite
-increase in irritability
-increase in your resting heart rate-this is a significant sign and easy to measure. If you think you may be over training, chart your resting heart rate every morning when you wake (after you have recovered from the shock of your alarm!). Do this for a few weeks. As we become more fit, our resting heart rate should decrease, NOT increase. The increase is due to your body trying to continually recover from exercise and keep you moving through your day to day activities. Basically your body is telling you it can’t keep up with the demands.
So, if you suspect you are over training, what do you do? Decrease the volume and/or intensity of your work. Take a day off. I am this is very hard to do if you are training for an event but you really have to listen to your body. A few years ago I was working so hard doing two a days. I would do weights in the morning and cardio in the afternoon. When I noticed I was working super hard and my heart rate wouldn't go up I knew something was wrong. I was in fact overtraining and needed to cut it back. Doing to much is not a good thing, you could injure yourself. So listen to your body and find a good balance.
I had to take the morning off because of this issue! :) I tend to overtrain but now I know when to take a step back! Balance find it!