We tend to get addicted to things that have a strong psychological impact on our brains. When we workout, our bodies release neurotransmitters - endorphins, endocannabinoids, and dopamine which put us in a state of euphoria, giving us a sense of accomplishment and pleasure. You can’t say no to a satisfying feeling like this!
The thing about embarking on a fitness journey is that the first couple of days are very challenging. Pushing yourself out of bed, eating healthy meals, resisting indulgences and maintaining discipline and consistency. That’s when the results start to show, increasing the hunger for more progress. The next thing you know, you are hooked!
Many of us might say, fitness and workouts - what healthy addictions to have! But that is often not the case. An excess of anything is bad, and exercise is no exception. Pushing your limits at the gym, endlessly practicing to excel at your sport, or striving to reach the end line a few seconds earlier are all great goals to have. However, the problem begins when your mind is addicted to the idea and stops listening to your physical body.
About 60% of athletes suffer from Over-Training Syndrome, OTS. This happens when you don't give your body enough recovery time and keep pushing. If not addressed on time, this can impact your performance and overall health adversely.
How do we end up overtraining?
Overtraining occurs purely because of a lack of awareness, be it your workouts or your nutrition. Here are a few instances:
- When following a fitness goal, we tend to alter our diets. While cutting down on calories, unknowingly we cut down on essential nutrients. Being deprived of our micronutrients can hamper the absorption of our macros. Irrespective of how much protein powder you consume, it won't aid muscle recovery if not absorbed. Hitting your workout without muscle recovery leads to overtraining.
- Performing poorly at the gym makes us want to push harder. What we don’t realize is that our poor performance is owed to our fatigued muscles. By overdoing it, we land up with OTS and other repercussions that are much worse.
- We pondered upon the fact that exercise helps manage stress. People with desk jobs or stressful lives turn to physical exercises for a breather. While they enhance our moods, the post-workout feeling can have us hooked, leading us into overdoing it, followed by OTS.
Signs, Symptoms and Repercussions
Our body has a mechanism of indicating when things start going wrong; sometimes we ignore the messages, sometimes we don't read them right!
- There is a thin line between soreness after a strenuous workout and overtraining. Prolonged soreness is one of the most prominent symptoms of overtraining. It makes you feel tired and robs you of the motivation to push yourself harder. The workouts start becoming shorter, and on the worst days, you wake up with no motivation to workout.
- Many of us workout to feel refreshed. Due to the pain that OTS leaves us with, that feeling begins to fade, followed by anxiety, depression, and poor temper. Instead of refueling, your exercise leaves you tired and moody. The quality of your sleep degrades, hampering your rest mechanism.
- Overtraining can impact our immunities. We start falling ill, losing weight, and some might even suffer from constipation. For women, missed periods are another common symptom.
It goes without saying the more severe and prolonged the symptoms, the longer it’s going to take for you to recover. Let's see how we are going to address them.
How to recover from OTS
To solve a problem, we first start by identifying it, planning what solutions to adopt and how to go about executing it. Speaking of fitness, it all rolls down to getting exercise, nutrition and rest right.
Step 1: Monitor your body; acknowledge the symptoms.
Step 2: Consult an expert - your coach, trainer, or a doctor, for a clear diagnosis. Once you are sure it’s OTS, do not panic, and pan out a recovery plan under the expert’s guidance.
Step 3: Follow the guidelines, be patient and positive. Results will show.
- Based on the severity, take a complete break from your workouts for a couple of weeks or a month or two. Avoid strenuous activities like lifting heavy weights, walking long distances, etc.
- Fix your nutrition. Poor muscle recovery is an indicator of falling short on required nutrients. Most fitness enthusiasts include protein supplements in their diets. Sometimes, these supplements can be difficult to absorb and can cause discomfort. Trying more absorbable alternatives like grass-fed whey protein, plant protein, or vegan protein powder can help.
- It is also important to note that, the absorption of our nutrition and supplements is reliant on our gut health. While adding probiotics like yogurt, kombucha, kimchi to your plate can improve your gut health, supplements like Terra Origin’s Greens Superfoods ensure that you get your daily dose of probiotics. Make the most of the nutrition you consume.
- Not being able to workout can be frustrating. Speak to mental health professionals about your feelings. Use scented candles, essential oils, or the best ashwagandha powder available to calm your nerves.
- Consult a professional to know if you are ready to start exercising. Reduce the volume and intensity by 60% and scale up gradually and sustainably. Plan well by inserting enough rest days into your routine.
Prevention is better than cure!
While some of us learn it the hard way, here are some practices that can help prevent overtraining altogether. It involves mindful planning, discipline, and patience.
- Plan smart; do not focus on the same group of muscles consecutively, give them a break of a day or two, but not one that’s too long.
- Schedule rest days post high-intensity workouts. Include rest intervals between your sets; they can last from 30 seconds to 5 minutes.
- Keep some days aside for low-impact activities like yoga, swimming, walking to relax your muscles while you keep them active.
- Understand your nutrition requirements and include holistic nutrition supplements and proteins to give your body what it needs to recoup and build.
We at Terra Origin, serve those who commit to fitness, break comfort zones, and strive toward holistic well-being. While you work it at the gym, our scientifically formulated protein supplements and superfoods, ensure your body recovers and is prepared to push harder without it taking a toll on your health. We believe pairing mindful physical exercises with complete nutrition and adequate rest can do the trick. Closely listen to your body at all times!