Physical activity has many health benefits and is directly related to the management of many diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, as well as promoting more energy and helping with weight loss. Including exercise in your routine and devoting yourself to its benefits is critical, but overeating can bring the opposite result as expected.
It is common to hear the words “no pain, no gain” in the gym halls and on the internet, but can taking your training to the extreme be the best way?
When we do sports and physical activity, giving the body the time to recover is important, and when it does not, the body can become depleted and result in injury, mood swings, negative metabolism, unwillingness and motivation. , among other problems that are all symptoms of overtraining.
Although the limit is individual and there is no rule, it is important for everyone to promote a body rest between workouts and to allow yourself at least one full rest day each week.
Overtraining – What is it?
Overtraining is a term used for overtraining. People with this condition are easily found in virtually all sports and physical activities.
Overtraining is harmful and happens when the individual trains more than he can physically tolerate and the body cannot recover. The obsession with training and anxiety for results quickly generates a vicious cycle until the body runs out and the impacts begin to be harmful to the body.
The main causes of overtraining are rapid increases in the frequency, intensity or duration of training sessions, or performance without the time required for recovery.
Identifying overtraining is not easy as it can be different for each person. Stipulating a rule is also not valid, as its limit is often different from other people. Therefore, the best way to identify if you are in this condition is to know which symptoms of overtraining the body gives you when you are under a lot of physical stress and to watch for warning signs.
- Weight Loss Stagnation
The way to lose weight is to exercise more and cut calories, we know that; But in some cases this common rule can impair metabolism and fat burning. This may be because exercise affects your hormonal state and excessive and intense aerobic training increases cortisol levels, which ultimately impairs insulin sensitivity.
For the sake of clarity, high cortisol levels are associated with fat storage and insulin resistance that controls blood sugar. In the process, metabolism can also slow down fat burning, as it sends signals to the body not to burn calories, ensuring survival.
If your routine involves a very high exercise level and a very low food intake, your body receives the message that it must slow down to save energy and may eventually enter a state called catabolic, which causes changes in the your hunger and thirst level.
The opposite can also happen. Research has reported that many people eat more when they exercise often to make up for the calories they burn.
- Fatigue or adrenal insufficiency
Excessive exercise without adequate rest for the body to recover can cause chronic stress, which is related to adrenal gland problems. Adrenal insufficiency called overtraining syndrome occurs when the adrenal glands are so depleted that they imbalance cortisol production and adrenaline types.
According to the Texas A&M University Department of Kinesiology , overtraining syndrome can lead to fatigue, loss of appetite, insomnia, nutritional deficiencies and even the need for hormone replacement therapy. It is a type of serious condition called Addison’s disease, also known as primary adrenal insufficiency and hypocortisolism, which is a long-lasting endocrine disorder.
- Reducing or stopping progress
If you are working hard but your body has stopped showing results, this may be one of the symptoms of overtraining. Loss of muscle mass and decreased strength can happen when your muscle tissues do not recover quickly enough because there is not adequate rest between workouts.
Sometimes several days of rest are required for the process of muscle recovery and reconstruction of broken muscle tissue. This means that if you retrain your muscles before they are recovered, you will see no gains in strength and endurance, and your body will start to burn its own muscle for fuel.
- Changes in mood and sleep
When your body is suffering from overtraining, the glands that control the production of hormones responsible for maintaining your moods become unbalanced. Many studies show that adrenal axis dysfunction in overtrained and stressed athletes can cause insomnia, demotivation, irritability, anxiety or depression.
The combination of nervous and hormonal changes can cause insomnia or regular sleep disturbance, resulting in an inability to focus on routine. This can be because the brain will have difficulty producing enough hormones to balance cortisol levels.
Overtraining is associated with moodiness, fatigue and even depression such as suicidal tendency. A study conducted by the University of Miami Department of Psychiatry in 2013 found that overtraining coincided with increased symptoms of depression and suicidal behaviors related to increasing pain insensitivity.
- Lack of libido and changes in menstrual cycles
Overtraining can interfere with the production of sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, both associated with libido, fertility and reproductive health. Women are often most affected by the combination of over training and low calorie intake, because when the body gets the signal that it is being worked hard, it causes stress hormones to fire at a higher rate, which means It can lead to PMS-like symptoms including acne, insomnia, low libido, craving for sugar and other hormonal dysfunctions.
- Frequent diseases
Increased stress and oxidative damage from overtraining can accelerate aging and lead to increased colds, allergic reactions, and other infections. Fluctuating hormone levels that are constantly combined with joints and excessively fatigued muscle tissue often increase the chances of inflammation, which results in sickness, swelling, and pain that do not go away easily. In addition, being overly fatigued can unbalance the immune system, which will increase the body’s cortisol and inflammation levels.
When your body lacks the proper energy to balance all body functions, it prioritizes and uses that energy to support vital functions such as keeping the heart beating, lungs breathing, digestion and brain thinking.
Some symptoms of overtraining are also related to increased risks of infections, including those of the respiratory tract, as tissue trauma reduces the body’s ability to produce lymphocytes that are responsible for killing foreign pathogens and producing antibodies, which is a crucial aspect of immune function.
In addition, higher levels of stress hormones (cortisol and catecholamines) hinder body and energy recovery.
- Altered resting heart rate
Being with an altered resting heart rate may be the result of an increased metabolic rate to meet the demand imposed by training, ie one of the symptoms of overtraining.
Over-training puts a strain on your cardiovascular system, so try to monitor your heart rate in the morning before you get out of bed. If you notice changes as high or low, you should probably talk to a doctor.
- Feeling Excessive Thirst
If you find yourself thirsty all the time and no matter how much fluid you drink it will not go away, it may be one of the symptoms of overtraining. If this condition coincides with your overtraining, you should be aware that when the body goes into a catabolic state, it is starting to consume its own muscle to convert to protein. Catabalism causes dehydration, which conditions the body to feel more thirsty.
- Extended Muscle Pain
It is normal to feel muscle pain after a workout. They usually last a day or two, but if exceeding 72 hours is the time to stop and rest. Prolonged pain is a sign that your muscles are not recovering, which negatively impacts your muscle strengthening efforts.
How to treat overtraining?
Overtraining can affect anyone who exercises regularly, not just endurance athletes, and if you are experiencing the symptoms of overtraining listed above, learn how to treat and take immediate steps to rest your body so that it can recover:
– take a break
You need to take a break from training to allow the body the necessary recovery time. Sometimes a break of one or two days is enough, but sometimes it takes a week away from the activities for the physical and the psychological to recover, and then when you return you will have more focus and motivation for the workout.
– Decrease the intensity
Decrease the intensity of the training. For example, if you always do five sets for each exercise, reduce to just two or three, and lower your weight.
– Get a deep tissue massage
Performing a massage is an effective therapy for releasing muscle tension and restoring the balance of the musculoskeletal system. Muscle tension can cause strain on joints, ligaments, tendons, and the muscles themselves.
Self-massage is also valid, you can use your own hands or a specific appliance to help relieve pain. Massage can be done on the hamstrings, located in the posterior thigh, calves, knees, hips, shoulder and back, any muscle or joint.
Constant practice of massage can help athletes prevent injuries caused by over exercising.
– Temperature Contrast Therapy
Temperature contrast therapy involves performing cold, hot and cold baths. This condition causes a reaction from the body, conditioning the nerves to carry the felt impulses in the skin more deeply, and the result is a stimulation of the immune system, improvement in circulation and digestion, stimulation of stress hormone production, blood flow and reduced blood pressure. pain sensitivity.
– Adequate food
Maintain a balanced diet with a calorie intake that matches or exceeds your calorie expenditure with exercise. To aid in the recovery process, it is important to ensure a diet rich in carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats such as omega 3. Carbohydrates fuel the brain, oils help relieve depression, and proteins rebuild muscles with overtraining.
– Balance vitamin levels
Foods are a source of vitamins, but in overtraining cases taking a supplement can be beneficial. They should be taken as meal supplements, as this will keep the levels balanced and adequate to aid in body recovery.
– Have a good night of sleep
Having a good night’s sleep will help the body rebuild and balance cortisol levels. The amount of rest varies for each individual and depends on training loads, but try to rest for approximately 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
– Smart Training
Make a division in your training program. Conduct programs to work on different sets of muscles every other day as this will give your body the rest it needs to recover from overtraining.
– Set your limits
After an hour of exercise, your body begins to lower testosterone levels and raise cortisol, which is the stress hormone. Keeping them balanced is crucial, as testosterone is responsible for muscle growth and maintenance, and cortisol can alter your metabolism and make you fat. Try to do your workouts in under an hour for best results.
How to avoid overtraining syndrome?
- Record your workouts and performance. Be willing to take rest days and decrease training intensity if your performance drops or you feel excessive fatigue;
- Honor the rest days;
- Avoid always performing the same training. Diversify;
- Promote proper hydration, nutrition and sleep for the body;
- Try to identify stress triggers to lessen their overall health impacts;
- Pay attention to your mood, try to notice changes and frequency;
- Allow your body to recover after an illness or injury.
If you identify symptoms of overtraining, seek rest and give your body the time to recover, but if after several days or weeks of rest you are still feeling tired often, it is time to pay a doctor a visit. understand the real impacts of overtraining on your physical and psychological condition.