Sometimes Less Is More. A Cautionary Tale

You ever feel like you’re putting in so much time and effort in the gym but somehow nothing’s changing?
Say, in a typical month, you get over 23 high-intensity workouts and have been doing so for some time, but mysteriously, you feel blaaah?

You may be overtraining.

What is Overtraining?
Here’s what our friends at Wikipedia define it as:

Overtraining is a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual’s exercise exceeds their recovery capacity. They cease making progress, and can even begin to lose strength and fitness. Overtraining is a common problem in weight training but it can also be experienced by runners and other athletes.

Whoa. You mean spending more time in the gym can work against me??? Yup.
Everyone is different, and our capacity to endure the rigors of Crossfit varies from person to person, but it is something you need to be aware of.
I know what you’re thinking….
“But Ricky, if I stop I will lose what I’ve worked so hard for. Fat doesn’t take a holiday. It waits in the shadows, lurks in snack pantry waiting for me to fall of the wagon, so that it can once again make itself comfy somewhere around my midsection.”
If the voice in your head sounds something like this, tell it to shut the F&^$ up. Stop making yourself feel guilty and punishing yourself with more and more exercise.
It’s all about balance. So, before you came to Heyday, perhaps you had an imbalance towards laziness and couch surfing. But now, if you are training so hard you never feel all that good, you’ve only moved to the other end of the spectrum, overexertion. Still out of balance.
All you did was trade one problem for another. No bueno.
Time to step on the brakes. Recharge you batteries.
Yes too much rest is bad, but so is too much exercise.
More on overtraining…

Improvements in strength and fitness occur only after the rest period following hard training (known as supercompensation ). This process can take days to complete, depending on the intensity and duration of exercise leading to the overtrained state. If sufficient rest is not available, then complete regeneration cannot occur. If this imbalance between excess training and inadequate rest persists, then the individual’s performance will eventually plateau and decline. Mild over training may require several days of rest or reduced activity to fully restore an athlete’s fitness. If prompt attention is not given to the developing state and an athlete continues to train and accumulate fatigue, the condition may come to persist for many weeks or even months.

Overtraining occurs more readily if the individual is simultaneously exposed to other physical and psychological stressors, such as jet lag, ongoing illness, overwork, menstruation, poor nutrition, etc. It is a particular problem for bodybuilders, and other dieters, who engage in intense exercise while limiting their food intake.

That’s alot to chew on, but I want to make note of a few things.
Recovery is just as important as the exercise. As active individuals (which you all are now) the time you spend not working out is not time getting fatter or weaker, or whatever. As athletes, rest is where the magic happens. 🙂
Your body is in a very cool state of regeneration. It is rebuilding, but not rebuilding to get back to normal… No, it’s building a better version of you. One that is stronger, faster, leaner, and all around more bad-ass. It’s call supercompensation. But if you beat it to the ground this never happen.s 🙁
Aaaand overtraining can happen with poor nutrtion. So, you are definitely exercising properly now, but this begs the question: are you giving your body what it needs to make the changes to want it to make?
Yes? Or do you kind of slack on the whole “eating right” because you work so hard here?? It’s no use to work hard here if you’re gonna be lazy in your eating (this of course means eating right MOST of the time; doesnt have to be ALL the time).
If you’re trying to change your body just beware that unless you eat well too, you’ll plateau fast.
So, if you are experiencing any of the overtraining symptoms, just ask yourself if maybe you’re pushing too hard.
If you are, rest. And rest means rest. Not, “Oh I’ll just do an hour of cardio today”.
Listen, I’m not telling you to stop working out or stop anything, I just want to inform you that overtraining frequently occurs, and I want you to be aware of it. I know, I have over trained many times, and it only moves me backwards and puts me at risk of injury or burnout.
If you are working out tons and seeing none of this, fine. Keep on keeping on. Just be on the lookout if it does happen.
Ok, off the soapbox. See you guys tomorrow. xoxo
Power Clean
Amrap in 15
7   HSPU
14 Box Jumps
21 Ball Slams

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