Are You Overtraining?

By Zach Bashore

Many people start bodybuilding because they want to either gain muscle or lose fat, and feel the need to exercise six hours a day to achieve their fitness goals. Training for that long will not give you the results you are looking for, in fact, it will lead to overtraining. This article is going to explain the basics of overtraining and the problems associated with it. You are also going to learn about methods you can use to prevent overtraining in the future.

Overtraining is a severely bad physical and mental state which occurs from training without adequate recovery. Overtraining can also be caused by excessive intensity of weight training and not giving the body enough time for rest and recovery. Not only is overtraining common in weight lifting, but it can also be experienced by runners and other athletes as well. Studies show that 10-20% of intensely trained athletes are currently overtrained.

Overtraining can effect an athlete in many different ways but the most noticeable symptoms come in a physical and mental state. The following list tells you the most common symptoms of overtraining in both states.

Mentally
* Lack of energy
* Insomnia
* Headaches
* Inability to relax
* Dehydration
* Slower recovery after exercise
* Decreased appetite
* Decreased desire to exercise
* Depression
* Increased chance of infection

Physically
* Achiness
* Pain in muscles
* Increased resting blood pressure
* Decreased athletic performance
* Decreased maximal blood lactate concentrates
* Weight loss
* Increased risk of injury

If you are experiencing any of these problems, chances are good that you are overtrained.

Okay, so I am overtrained. What should I do to get myself back on track? The first thing you need to do is take a step backwards and rest for a few days. You also need to to drink plenty of fluids and alter your diet if needed. Even if you are not currently overtrained doesn`t mean that you can`t be in the future. You should keep your training sessions under forty-five minutes and make sure that you stretch before and after exercising.

I could write a book on the many different psychological and physical effects that overtraining can cause, but I simply don`t have enough space in such a short article. Remember to always listen to your body and never try pushing yourself to more than what you can handle. Bodybuilding is the only sport I can think of that uses the "less-is-more" approach and is another one of the reasons that we are a breed apart from the rest of society. Until next time, later.

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