Yep- that's right there is such a thing as overtraining which can lead to burnout or injury. You know when you just get so in the zone and in the habit that you want to get up and train each and every single day? Turns out intense training every day is not a good idea- let me explain.
The inflammatory response
When we train our muscles are put under enough stress to cause tiny, microscopic tears throughout. This triggers an inflammatory response in the body so that those tears can be repaired, your body can recover and you can begin to build up muscle strength and endurance. Our body needs a period of rest in order to properly execute this response and prepare the body for your next training session. If you are continually pounding those muscles the tears will have no time to be repaired, your body will not be able to continually restore itself to full function and you will face exhaustion.
What are the side effects of overtraining?
If your body is feeling exhausted and as if you are pushing yourself too far with your training, it will let you know about it. Here are some of the common side effects:
- Your performance is going to decrease- perhaps both in and out of the gym.
- You might feel fatigued more than usual.
- Your hormones may be pushed out of whack.
- Your sleep quality and patterns of sleep may be disturbed.
- Issues may arise with your reproductive system.
- You may notice a decrease or loss of appetite.
- You might be a little moodier than usual and notice that your mood swings have become erratic.
So how many times a week should I be exercising and resting?
This one is all dependent on you and your body. According to The American College of Sports Medicine adults should be doing around 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio per week. TACSM also recommend that if you are more into the strength training side of things you should train each muscle group 2-3 times per week with at least 48 hours of recovery in between. This 48 hour gives your body enough time to recover but not enough time to lose muscle.
When deciding on how many rest days you should have per week, make sure to consider the following factors:
- Your current physical state.
- Your current mental state.
- How intense your training sessions are.
- Are you taking active rest days?
You should maybe take a rest day if..
- You have a nagging ache or pain that is increasing in pain or will not go away.
- You feel sluggish while training instead of energised and ready to go.
- You dread working out instead of looking forward to it.
You can only train as hard as you can rest.
The key to seeing progress in your strength, endurance and mental state is taking the rest that the body needs in order for you to keep pushing yourself- remember that.