Overtraining & Overreaching: Know the Signs, Symptoms, and Risks

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How many days of resistance training, weight lifting, or cardio training do you perform a week? Do you schedule rest days or give yourself enough time to recover? Are you feeling burnt out or is your performance declining? These are just a few questions that you should be asking yourself as an active individual or an athlete who trains consistently. With the hustle and bustle of daily life also comes the need to recover from it all. As a current soccer coach, I hear all the time about kids going to practice and leaving to attend their second practice of the day. Along with practicing at least four times a week, partaking in games and tournaments on weekends, and playing additional sports simultaneously comes an increased risk of injury. The duration, frequency, and intensity of your workouts all play a role in determining how much recovery your body actually needs.

The moral of this article is to make you aware of the symptoms of overtraining so that you can avoid overexerting yourself in your exercise regimen. It is our job as trainers to prevent you from ever experiencing the overtraining/overuse stage, however you have to let us know how your body is feeling throughout your training as well. Overtraining is defined as “excessive frequency, volume, or intensity of training that results in extreme fatigue, illness, or injury (often due to lack of sufficient rest, recovery, and perhaps nutrient intake).” A similar term, overreaching is defined as excessive training on a short-term basis. Recovery for overreaching is more acute and easy to achieve, however, if you get to the point of overtraining, the recovery process is not as simple. As qualified trainers here at Momentum, not only do we tailor your workouts to fit your needs, but also to complement previous workouts that you have done. For example, within a week, we aim to give each client a mobility-based workout, strength-based workout, and muscular endurance workout. This varies also depending on your goals and such, but if we can keep you moving and moving well, that is the big picture.

I believe it is also appropriate to mention that your training threshold is the reason you see results! As pictured, training starts with exercise progressions and increase the more you train and the more advanced you become. Sometimes you will be sore after working out and, over time, you will not because your body has adapted to your current training routine. It is at this adaptation period that we begin to vary your training and either increase or decrease weights, sets, or the rep scheme. If we never progressed your workouts, you would reach a plateau of training and your performance may decline. This is one of the reasons we are sure to ask our athletes who train here when their last game/sports event or what they did at practice recently? We ask these questions to ensure that we are not doing too much too soon for that specific athlete.

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Cortney Welch, B.S., NSCA CSCS

Cortney Welch, B.S., NSCA CSCS

Remember to recover. It is okay to feel sore after workouts as long as you are not working out 7 days a week with no rest in between. Stretching, Icing or applying heat when needed, performing active recovery during long breaks of not working out, hydrating, eating healthy, sleeping enough, not working out while sick, are all some ways to properly recover. Stay tuned for more on recovery and optimal ways to do so.

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