It's that time of year when you're feeling extra motivated to reach your fitness goals, so you've got a plan, and no one can stop you. That's great! But the only thing to watch out for is that when faced with mega-motivation to build a new body, many people spiral into overtraining. The key is to keep the motivation high while being smart about how you approach it. You don't want any of your positive attitude to slip, but you need to know who to avoid overtraining while you're obliterating your goals.
High motivation is an absolute necessity, but that's just the mental aspect, and you have complete control of that. What you can't control is your recovery ability, at least not beyond your efforts to eat well and rest enough.
That's not to say that you shouldn't put in 100% effort. You absolutely should! But you have to remember that shorter, high-intensity workouts allow you to accomplish that while giving you more time to recover. Spending several hours exercising every day won't help you achieve your goals any faster, and that approach will likely lead to burnout or injury which will make it take even longer to reach your goals.
If you're a beginner, it can be very easy to fall into an overtraining rut. Especially if you're younger and notice how quickly your body and athletic abilities will change within the first couple of weeks. That level of positive change and adaption can't last forever, though, so keep your long-term goals in mind, or even your â€œmedium-termâ€ goals within the upcoming weeks and months.
How to know if you're overtraining
So, how do you know if you're overtraining or getting close to the point of over-stressing your body? According to Dr. Hans Selye, the founder of the stress theory, your body will react to stress in three stages:
Alarm: Your body recognizes a stressor and begins to make changes in order to adapt to that stress.
Resistance: This represents the actual changes induced by the Alarm stage. Most people consider this the good stage of Selye's general adaption syndrome, as it's when beneficial changes occur, such as increased muscle size/strength as a response to workloads.
Exhaustion: This is what occurs with overtraining, as your body becomes overwhelmed by the stress and can't adapt quickly enough to keep up. Obviously, you want to avoid this stage, as you won't be moving forward with your goals and might even regress as your body forces you to find recovery time.
How to avoid overtrainingThe best ways to avoid overtraining are to know what not to do.
- Don't suddenly increase the amount of time you spend training or the frequency,” build up to new levels instead.
- Don't skip recovery time,” take days off as needed and get enough rest.
- Don't do the same thing all the time”monotony will ruin your motivation as well as possibly lead to overtraining, so change it up regularly.
Based on that list, it's easy to see that you can avoid overtraining and burnout by changing your exercise routine often enough to avoid stagnation, allow your body adequate recovery time (both in regards to sleep and time off from activity), and keep your motivation high without trying to do everything you can possibly do at once.
Work with your body instead of against it, and you'll maintain good health while reaching your goals. And don't forget to keep up with your nutrition and supplement with premium-quality recovery products.