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Overtraining – Loss of Interest

by Mike Mahony

As discussed in my three previous articles, there are many symptoms that lead you to a diagnosis of overtraining. I will quickly review the three points already discussed and then get into the latest (and final) point about overtraining.

Overtraining is a serious problem with people in pursuit of fitness goals. One of the first things people notice is mood swings that are caused by the overtrained state. These mood swings can be subtle or drastic, but when examined in light of other evidence, they can indicate overtraining is present. The continual feeling that you need sleep is another major indicator of overtraining. You feel tired because your body is working overtime to recover from the training cycle you are putting it through. A less obvious, but probably more serious symptom of overtraining, is muscular atrophy. Because your mujscles have no time to recover you actually lose size rather than gain it. This leads to the final symptom of overtraining — loss of interest in training.

The body is an amazing thing. It works very hard to get our attention when we are doing something it doesn’t like. If you don’t believe me, put a sharp pin up against the tip of your finger and press gently and see what type of message your body gives you in a hurry. The body is wired to warn us when things are getting out of balance. It is no different when we overtrain. Losing interest in your training is one way your body alerts you to overtraining, but the clues can vary from subtle to blunt.

Of course, if you suddenly start feeling the need to miss workouts and have no motivation to hit the gym after a particularly intense series of workouts, you can assume that there is something wrong. However, many times it is more subtle than that. For instance, let’s say you love doing deadlifts. They are a brutally difficult exercise on the body, but you love the strength you feel when you do them. There’s just nothing like lifting something extremely heavy off the ground. You suddenly start noticing that as you approach the deadlift portion of your workout you are not particularly pumped up to do them. This happens workout after workout. That’s a huge clue that you are overtraining. Your body is telling you to avoid that extremely difficult, taxing exercise.

Listen to your body. Take a break from training. Taking one week off from training is generally enough to allow your body to recover from the burden you’ve placed on it. You won’t be sorry for taking the time off.

Any series on overtraining would be incomplete without some advice on how to avoid overtraining in the first place. Here are a few tips aimed at that exact thing:

– Vary your workouts on a regular basis.
– Every 12 weeks, change the rep range you are attempting to hit.
– Take a week off from training every 12 weeks of training.

If you follow this advice it is likely that you will never experience being in an overtrained state and that is good news for your fitness goals!

Michael’s sites include http://thefatburningmachineblog.com (where he chronicles his own training adventures) and http://fitnessexpose.com (where he exposes fitness misinformation overload). You can connect with Michael on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/michaelmahony and on Twitter @MikeMahony.

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