Training is a pivotal part of an athletic career. Most athletes make the mistake of overtraining. If you are an athlete or the parent of a young athlete, understanding the difference between overtraining and a healthy level of athletic training is essential.
The recovery from overtraining may take months and weeks of rest and care. The article will give guidance about overtraining prevention and recovery. Let’s have a basic understanding of overtraining.
What Is Overtraining?
The biggest issue athletes face is overtraining. An athlete may overtrain due to immense pressure or enthusiasm. But doing too much exercise produces harm rather than benefits. There are two types of classifications for too much exercise: overreaching and overtraining.
Overreaching occurs when you don’t sufficiently recover from excess workouts. It is a temporary condition that develops as a response to an intense load. On the other hand, overtraining is a bit more complex than overreaching.
The athletes reach the stage of overtraining when they neglect the signs of overreaching and continue to train. It will result in the weakening of the body.
What Are The Symptoms Of Overtraining?
Mood swings, sleep disorders, and fatigue are the common signs of overreaching. Once an athlete reaches the overtraining phase, the symptoms may get severe. Some of the common symptoms of overtraining include:
- Visible decline in the performance level. Inability to manage performance compared to earlier times
- Delayed recovery
- Prolonged fatigue
- Anxiety, tension, and recovery
- Lack of energy
- Inability to relax
- Increased occurrence of illness
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Higher blood pressure
- Constipation or diarrhea
Once you notice signs of overtraining, seek medical help. Compared to a late diagnosis of overtraining, an early diagnosis is better because the recovery will be easier.
What Are The Strategies To Avoid Overtraining?
An athlete should implement effective strategies to avoid overtraining. Some of the common methods include:
- Periodization: Your body needs to adapt to the stress of training. To prepare your body for intense workouts, you need to plan the training sessions effectively. A well-planned workout session should include a period of intense training followed by recovery phases.
- Rest and recovery: Ensure your body is getting enough rest days between training sessions. Proper rest days are crucial; they will allow your body to recover from the stress of intense training.
- Listen to your body: Now you know the symptoms of overtraining. If you notice any signs of overtraining, do not avoid these warning signs. To address the symptoms, consider consulting your doctor or adjusting your training sessions and taking additional rest.
- Getting a good night’s sleep: Never underestimate the benefits of quality sleep. Sleep repairs your body. An athlete should consider getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Professional guidance: Consult with a coach, an athletic trainer, or a medical professional before you plan your training. A professional sports healthcare team can help you develop an efficient training plan according to your goals and needs.
- Cross-training: Always incorporate a variety of workout activities like swimming, cycling, or yoga to prevent overuse injuries and burnouts.
- Balanced nutrition: Implement an effective diet plan. A diet that will address your training needs and goals Make sure you are consuming enough macro- and micronutrients. A sports dietician or nutritionist will be able to help you draw up an effective diet plan.
- Hydration: Do not let your body dehydrate since it can slow your recovery. Always drink sufficient water to hydrate your body.
- Stress management: Stress is an unavoidable part of an athlete’s life. Learn stress management techniques to manage extreme stress. External stress can contribute to overtraining.
How can I Recover From Overtraining?
Recovery from overtraining includes certain steps. If you notice signs of overtraining in your body, seek professional help. You may be asked to stop your training for a specific period of time.
As a part of your recovery, you may be asked to do some aerobic exercise. You will be under strict monitoring as well. The following are the essential steps involved in the recovery process:
- The first step is to get rest; it is crucial for proper recovery. You need to stop your training until your body recovers from the stress of overtraining. Your healthcare providers will determine the accurate rest period after careful evaluation of your condition.
- During the recovery period, you need to follow a balanced diet. Consumption of the right food can heal your body. Incorporate foods that contain vitamins, minerals, and proteins into the diet for a speedy recovery.
- You need to take care of your mental health as well. A setback from training can be challenging for an athlete. You need to train your mind to face the recovery stage. You can also seek the help of sports counselors or mental health professionals.
- The return to play is the final stage of the overtraining recovery. Your healthcare team will decide the time of your return to play. After careful physical and medical examinations, your sports healthcare team sets up a plan for your return.
- In order to prevent further complications, you must adhere to the injury prevention recommendations given by your healthcare team once you resume training. A timely medical review is also recommended for an athlete who has returned to play after overtraining recovery. You need to follow these strict guidelines to reduce the risk of future injuries.
Overtraining happens when individuals push themselves beyond their capacity to recover. Even sheer enthusiasm, pressure, or set goals may be the reason behind an individual’s decision to overtrain the body.
But remember, overtraining is wasted training. Overtraining can lead to adverse physical problems. Since your body does not get enough time to recover from the intense training routine, it will result in health complications. If you notice any signs of overtraining in your body, seek a medical opinion.
Always listen to your body. Periodization, seeking professional help, a balanced diet, eight hours of sleep, cross-training, and stress management will help you reduce or eliminate overtraining complications. Rest, proper nutrition, facing the recovery period with a strong mind, and adherence to your return-to-play guidelines will speed up recovery from overstraining.