I’m “that guy”. Admittedly. I’m the guy that gets sucked into things and wants to do it bigger and better and ends up getting a bit burned out. I’m the guy that rides the roller coaster 20 times in a row when the line is short, because I can. I’m the guy that went out and bought a Christmas Tree Wreath for the front door after I first got married and we had to trim it to make it fit. Melanie said it belonged on a Cathedral’s door, not the door of a duplex. I’m the guy that thinks bigger is better according to my wife. So, I admit, although I hadn’t worked out in 15 years and really didn’t want to, when I started, I really got into it. I did 90 days of P90X, took no time off (although you’re supposed to) and went straight back into another Round. I’m the guy that purchased P90X+ as soon as it came out and then lifted too heavy and ended up with a shoulder injury that took a lot of time and then, a wise old martial artist using shoulder manipulation, to “fix”. I’m that guy. If one workout a day is good, two is better and three is best. That just makes sense, right?? No, actually it doesn’t. Overtraining is actually easier to do than you think, especially when you first start out. You get some results and then your friends start noticing and then you get addicted and then you want more of that positive reinforcement. Hopefully this will help you avoid some of those pitfalls.
Signs of Overtraining
There are actually many signs of overtraining. I remember reading once that you need to know what your resting heart rate is. You do that by taking it in the mornings before you get up and moving, before you start your new workout regimen. I know…I know…..when the alarm clock goes off it elevates your heart rate. Mine too. But, relax, take some deep breaths and then take your heart rate. If your heart rate after you train for a few weeks is elevated beyond “normal” for a few days in a row, take an inventory of your body. It may be that you are stressing yourself out too much with your training and you may need to back off a bit. I remember getting up and doing P90X and then going home and doing another cardio workout or something like Slim in 6 or Turbo Jam or one of Beachbody’s other great programs. I felt the harder and more I worked out the better the results I would get. Actually, I’ve found out nothing could be further from the truth. So, watch for some of these signs when you are in a workout routine.
- Joints hurt when you are resting or you can tell they hurt more than normal when you’re working out
- Eating a minimal amount of calories but still not leaning out or losing your leanness
- Hitting it hard every single day with no rest days
- Can’t complete your normal workout or are excessively fatigued when you do
- Sleeplessness or unable to relax and become easily agitated
- Feeling sluggish during the day
- Get sick more often (immune system breaking down)
- Feel lousy during the day
- Elevated heart rate, especially after sleeping
- Don’t feel like working out at all (repeatedly)
Your body WILL start fighting back at some point. Your body will make you sick to force you to take downtime or you will notice the other signs. Someone told me once, the best way to avoid Overtraining is to listen to your body. You will want to do more workouts, harder and faster but that won’t necessarily give you better results. Your hormones will get out of whack and you will start to just generally run down. Every now and then cars, planes, boats, etc. have to have some downtime for maintenance. Your body is no different. Force yourself to take that down time.
The main thing, as I said, is to listen to your body. There is a lot of good information out there on the internet. Enjoy the journey, expect results will happen but expect them to happen over time. You didn’t get into the shape you are in overnight and you won’t get ripped overnight. I told people, it took me 15 years to get into the poor shape I was in at nearly 300 lbs and if it took me 15 years to get back in shape, that would only be fair. The truth is, it doesn’t. The body is remarkable and if you start giving it what it needs by exercising regularly at a smart pace and adding in resistance, cardio and flexibility, mixing it up with muscle confusion and not pushing it past your limits, and eating for fuel and not fun, you WILL see results. One of the best things I ever did for my body was the Beachbody Ultimate Reset. I had to take time off for 3 weeks and not workout at all. The Ultimate Reset not only is a cleanse, but it teaches you to eat right and it also gives you a break from working out while “resetting your body to original factory settings”. You can read more about it and watch the videos at www.myultimatereset/jayfloyd I highly recommend it. The main thing is to listen to your body, get at least 8 hours of sleep and realize that “more ain’t always better!!!” Be careful because it’s better to take it slow and make progressive gains than to try to make fast gains and get injured.