More and more athletes are taking on new challenges, running a marathon or setting a new time in a triathlon, but practised at too high a frequency and intensity, physical activity can become dangerous to health and may lead to overtraining. Knowing how far you should not go to avoid overtraining is not so simple.
To prevent you from crossing the red line, here are 5 tips to avoid overtraining!
1. Know your body and the warning signs
It's a basic rule: you have to know your body! And know how far you are able to train. Coaches have found that once the athletes' ability to handle the intensity is gone, they no longer progress, get injured or get sick.
Overtraining does not prevent muscle loss, and symptoms do not come on suddenly. It takes several weeks to experience unusual changes. For example, you may feel that you are no longer making progress or even feel that your work is regressing. You will be more tired than usual, and you will suffer from muscle and joint pain.
This is when you need to be able to take your foot off the pedal! Take a step back to favour a complete recovery without losing all your gains and overworking yourself.
2. Plan a rest day per week
It's simple, the more you train, the more stress you put on your body and the greater the risk of overtraining.
Indeed, after an effort, your muscles and joints need to recover, to regenerate and develop. Too much running training in terms of both duration and intensity prevents your body from replenishing its energy and strengthening itself.
The more you work on the recovery aspect, the more you will be able to train. The combination of these two elements will allow you to take on your workouts.
In all sports, the rest phases are crucial, they allow you to become more efficient, to develop your muscles and to rebuild your energy reserves.
3. Keep a training log
Do you train 2 to 3 times a week if not more? We advise you to keep a training log!
The training log will allow you to keep track of what you have been doing each week, with the content of your sessions and their duration. You will be able to see what works for you and how you are progressing!
You will also be able to note your sensations, suspicious pains, the desire to vomit, difficulties after 20 minutes... etc.... This is the best way to detect any anomalies in your recovery and to become aware of your state of fatigue, which may be too severe or persistent. In order to take a step back from your practice and avoid overtraining!
Nothing beats a good old notebook or an Excel.
4. Listen to your body
It is important to remain sincere with yourself, when you can no longer, it is better to stop or reduce, before you notice the symptoms of burnout.
According to one study, overtraining sometimes leads to constant fatigue, a lack of desire to train, a gloomy mood, sleep disturbances, injuries, unusual weight fluctuations and a decrease in libido.
You don't want to get to that point, so listening to yourself is the golden rule. In all circumstances.
Avoid forcing yourself on your body in case of infection, fever or injury. Fatigue after repeated efforts can trigger the appearance of these small symptoms. It is better to cancel a training session than to be bedridden for several days! It has been proven that cancelling a training session has never led to a reduction in performance, quite the contrary. Recovery is the key to progress.
Your personal environment plays a central role and ignoring it can quickly lead to a state of physical and psychological overwork. Just as stresses tend to add up.
5. Sleep is key
After having emptied all its resources from the body, your body needs a good night's sleep to recharge itself. The balance between sport and sleep is essential because one favours the other.
Indeed, doing sports leads to a better quality of sleep, due to energy expenditure and hormonal stimulation. But too much of any sport disrupts sleep, and this is one of the signs of overtraining!
Poor quality sleep makes you perform less well, will increase the feeling of fatigue, diminish recovery, increase the negative effects induced by your training such as aches, inflammation, etc.
Sleep is therefore essential in a training programme. Since recovery during sleep allows you to rebuild the muscle fibre, develop your muscles and become more efficient!
It's no secret, but we advise you to sleep at least 8 hours a night to optimise your recovery.
Now you have all the keys in hand to avoid overtraining. We advise you to have a complete diet with protein and BCAAs to progress in your favourite sport! The protein powder Näak Ultra Recovery™ is a great classic in sports nutrition as it contains 24g of protein and 4g of BCAAs per portion, ideal for accelerating muscle recovery after your training.