- Feeling of sickness: Colds, flus, runny nose.
- Loss of interest in training.
- Chronically sore joints and overly sore muscles.
- Loss of appetite.
- Nervousness and inability to sleep.
- Drop in strength.
- Lack of motivation or depression.
These are just some of the more common symptoms of overtraining. Another very visible symptom of overtraining is loss of muscular size and/or a drop in body weight.
A more scientific tool that you can use to monitor overtraining is to take your pulse first thing in the morning. If you discover that you pulse is elevated by more than 8-10 beats per minute over its normal range, then it is possible that you are becoming overtrained. Your response should be to cut back on your training load, or take some extra recovery time. In the past, whenever I have felt overtrained, I simply took some additional time off training.
If this is something you prefer not to do, then what I would recommend is that you employ several training sessions where you use lighter weights and higher repetitions. I like to perform higher repetitions periodically in my training regime anyhow, as a way to allow for "active recovery."
Active recovery is simply a term used to describe a period during which exercise is performed at a lighter intensity and workload, in order to allow the body to recover. "Passive recovery" is a term used to describe complete rest. That being said, I would wholeheartedly recommend that you utilize high-rep training to stimulate the increased flow of blood to your muscles, to build capillary supply, and to effect other components of the muscle which are not ordinarily worked as much with the heavy weight/low repetition regimen that I normally recommend.
How To Avoid Overtraining
Other things that you can do to avoid overtraining include:
- Increasing your caloric intake.
- Increasing your protein intake. Try Lean Body® meal replacement or ProV60™ Protein Blend.
- Adding L-glutamine to your diet. Rest more, sleep more.
- Use massage.
- Use hot and cold treatments to improve blood flow and circulation to sore areas.
- Change the workload in your training program periodically as I described.
- Use a Creatine Monohydrate supplement.
- Use Vitamin C.
- Increase your fluid intake.
- Think positive!
I hope that this helps you in identifying and correcting overtraining. Save this tip for some day when you feel you may be overtrained so that you can pull it out and reference it. Forward it all your friends and print out a copy for your gym.
If you are pushing yourself in your bodybuilding workouts like I do, then you're constantly flirting with the dangers of "red lining" your internal engine. You must train hard enough to stimulate the muscle, but if you do too much, then you end up overtrained. So, you're always walking that fine line. I hope that these guidelines truly help you.
About the Author
Lee Labrada, is a former IFBB Mr. Universe and IFFB Pro World Cup winner. He is one of few men in history to place in the top four in the Mr. Olympia seven consecutive times, and was recently inducted into the IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Hall of Fame. Lee is President/CEO of Houston-based Labrada Nutrition.