A lot of weightlifters and bodybuilders live for the pump that exercise sessions provide. The feeling of bulging muscles, increased flow of blood, and mental alertness can easily lead to workouts that occur too often or last too long.
The natural high obtained via such high intensity workouts keeps many people pounding away day after day thinking that if a little is good then more is better. However, this mindset often leads to overtraining which can be devastating to a fitness program if corrections are not made soon.
Symptoms of Overtraining
Luckily, your body has an early warning system for practically every imbalance that comes along. The trick is learning to listen to what your body is telling you and determine the imbalances which are causing the signals. Here are some common symptoms that can occur when you are overtraining:
- Continuously sore muscles and joints
- Lack of training desire
- Chronic fatigue
- Not able to get a pump from workouts
- Loss of strength
- Lack of appetite and subsequent weight loss
- Drop in sex drive Sickness
Common Training Mistakes and How to Correct Them
Overtraining can easily be corrected by training smarter instead of training harder. Following are some of the more common training mistakes which lead to overtraining and suggestions for how to correct them:
Training Too Frequently
A lot of bodybuilders (especially newbies) love the pumped feeling they get from a workout so decide to hit the gym every day believing that it will hasten the development of their bulging bodies. However, proper amounts of time are needed between workouts because each exercise creates microscopic tears in the muscle fibers, as well as tremendous stress on bones and the central nervous system, which need to heal before stressing them again. Daily training can be accomplished, but only under specific guidelines and by seasoned bodybuilders who know how to control their weight training program.
Training the Same Muscle Groups
A lot of weightlifters start off blasting away at arms and chest because they want to develop big guns and an impressive bulk as soon as possible. However, this is often done at the expense of under training other muscle groups and overtraining the ones targeted. If muscles aren’t allowed to recover adequately, they atrophy (go into decline). To prevent this, you should plan a balanced weight training program that hits different muscle groups on different days. This gives worked muscles time to recover before being worked again. The best bet is for beginners to start out at 2-3 days a week before moving to 4-5 days a week with rest days occurring after heavy compound exercise sessions.
Not Eating Right
Improper nutrition also contributes to the symptoms of overtraining. When you’re involved in fitness programs and high intensity weight training sessions, your body, mind and nervous systems need the proper nourishment to recover and respond from the stress of such workouts. Although there are multiple nutrients required when bodybuilding, you should particularly ensure that you are getting sufficient amounts of carbs, healthy fats and proteins. Basically, carbs and fats provide energy and protein is used to increase muscle mass.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
Insufficient rest and sleep is a biggie when it comes to suffering the ravages of overtraining. You body, mind and nervous system are subjected to brutal stress during a workout and they require periods of sleep to repair damage. It is also during this time that high levels of HGH (human growth hormones) are released in order to increase muscle and bone strength. Getting an uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep at night and taking occasional naps give your body the downtime it needs to recover.