By Rj, StoneAgeFuel Junior Apprentice Coach
As an athlete at StoneAgeFuel School of Fitness, I have always strived to be the best I can be. To work as hard as I can in every workout. To push my body to the limit, rinse and repeat the next day. I believed that the more training, the better. Yes and no is the answer. Yes you must train in order for your performance to enhance, but you should slowly build up to be capable of training in more volume. Let your body adjust to the volume and intensity you put it through.
People will often increase their workout volume, but will continue to neglect rest, stretching and mobility and with all of this people generally don’t even realize that they have been overtraining. Some symptoms of overtraining may include less energy, losing strength, being stressed, and having muscle or joint pains. don’t get this confused with the feeling from doing new or different movements. That soreness should subside over time!
For example the back squat is a multi-joint movement. It uses almost all the muscles in the body and will leave you sore after doing it due to the large amount of muscles used. But if the symptoms are frequent and more painful than sore, you’re probably overtraining.
The most important thing to do is to listen to your body, yes push yourself but at the same time critique yourself. Listen to your body in training and once you realize you’re overtraining or you’re overly tired or in large amounts of pain it’s time to give yourself some rest. It sounds simple but if your body isn’t ready for a rapidly increased training volume in such a short amount you will run into the realm of overtraining rather quickly. This is why runners often experience issues when they rapidly increase miles without spending some time getting used to the new volume of training. If your overtraining symptoms become serious, you will need to do a lot of rehab and body work to get back to normal.
If you do get injured from overtraining you may train other parts of your body as usual but if something hurts in the area you’ve found to be painful, then don’t do it. This is called the don’t do it if it hurts protocol. Working around your injury is great and keeps you active, but you must rehabilitate your injuries so they don’t become chronic.
Lets take your knees for example, if you have been experiencing knee pain whenever you squat to sit down, or pick something up than this is a sign to give yourself some rest. Rest is key and arguably the most important aspect to recovery. Though interestingly enough it is the most often ignored.
Some steps to fix your overtraining issues are for starters to ice the spot of injury for about 10-15 minutes if this is an acute problem, this reduces inflammation and helps with recovery as well due to increased blood flow from the warming phase. The next step would be to get a massage in the affected area. You may be experiencing pain because the ligaments and tendons around your joints and the muscles may be tight. Stretching should be done often if not daily, but not to the point where you feel pain or numbness from the stretch. After the pain eases, you can start to strengthen it back up by focusing on working back up to where you were in a slow and progressive fashion. Start with balance exercises, then slow and controlled squats. Continue to massage and stretch.
What I suggest is that before you start a training program of your own, be sure to do some research on human anatomy and physiology. This is important because you may know how to exercise correctly, but recovery after the workout is a different story. You have to know what muscles to stretch, how to stretch, what to eat, and know your body. As an athlete at StoneAgeFuel I focus on proper recovery in my training every single day!