I’m normally here imploring readers to start moving and eating well but let’s look at the flip side of this coin.
Do you do regular and structured exercise (as opposed to the odd occasion or ‘kicking the ball about’ with the kids on a Saturday) – that’s great! But might you be either stale… or overdoing it?
A long-standing client who is passionate for classes and never misses a day, stubbed her toe badly on a tree root as she ran, and had to stop until it healed.
Knowing this was likely to be a week or more she was worried
she’d lose her fitness and hated missing her sessions. In fact, as I advised her – it was likely to be a blessing in disguise.
If you’re training week in week out, look out for: A decrease in performance, or the sense you are having to work much harder to maintain a level that was previously manageable. Nagging injuries that take forever to clear up (exacerbated by the fact you cannot or will not rest the affected area). Restless sleep or even insomnia. For me – during my high impact aerobics days (far too much of the same kind of exercise for too many sessions a week), my brain went completely numb when teaching once. The ‘well had run dry’ and there was zero creativity left to give – a HUGE wake up call as that is normally the one thing I can rely on!
Now I know the signs and take a break or stopwatch sessions (not participate)! Overtraining can also affect hormone production and in turn influence the sympathetic nervous system making you ratty. It is a physiological state, with psychological and emotional stress the body cannot cope with. It does no harm to take a week off (or longer). I call it muscle consolidation – you may well notice you look your absolute BEST once your body has been given the chance to repair.
There are other tricks too. Work on isolated areas of the body giving time to the rest to heal. Sleep, eat and hydrate optimally. Watch for the signs because the longer you go into the overtraining zone – the longer you’ll need to recover.