Have you ever felt fatigued during a workout that is usually easy for you? Lost motivation at the beginning or during exercise? Have you ever noticed mood swings that you typically don’t experience? If you answered yes to all three questions, there is a good chance you might be suffering from Overtraining Syndrome (OTS). This blog will explain what symptoms to lookout for, and why OTS can happen to an athlete or anyone trying to benefit from exercise.
The purpose to exercise is to expose the body to a load it is not accustomed to, in order for the body to adapt which usually results in the physical gains or cardiovascular gains. When one is using high volume/intensity weight training, the muscle tissue is damaged enough to where it can be repaired to become bigger and stronger. There is a certain amount of damage needed to yield these results, but too much trauma can lead to consequences. With proper exercise guidelines, or following a exercise program backed up with proper periodization one can ensure this wont happen. When proper guidelines and periodization isn’t followed, the training can be too much for the body to properly recover which leads to inflammation. Inflammation can be normal, but the body also needs time to recover before the next exercise session. If you are not allowing the body to recover but continue to exercise, the body will compensate by releasing cytokines created by cells to basically inform the body that an injury has occurred. When the cytokines are circulating the blood, they will interact with different organs to give out the message that something isn’t right. This leads to the symptoms usually associated with OTS. Common symptoms that can occur list as feeling lethargic, depressed, loss of appetite, disturbed sleeping patterns, muscle loss, lack of motivation and focus. Those are just a few of the symptoms. This occurs because of the cytokines related from chronic inflammation, that will send essentially signals to the brain and liver. These symptoms are basically a signal to that person that they need to recover and take time off from exercise, or else the symptoms and condition could worsen.
In conclusion, everyone needs to listen to their body and understand when it might be time to allow the body to rest. Exercise has great benefits, but when one doesn’t allow proper recovery time, results can be detrimental to ones health. To avid OTS, make sure you are using progressive overload properly, and not increasing your weights to quickly. Hydration and proper nutrition is key to recovery. Foam rolling and stretching are great tools to help recover from a tough workout. Stick to a workout regimen that incorporates all major muscle groups so there are no muscle imbalances such as chest, back, shoulders and leg.
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