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Avoid Over Training


Over Training

Exercise is hard on your body. The repetitive motions and stresses that are put on your joints during aerobic activity can work in your favor or end up giving detrimental results. In addition, muscle tissue typically requires at least 24 to 48 hours to repair the fibers that was damaged from the physical activity, especially from strength training routines.

That being said, avoid over training at all costs. It may seem like a good idea at first and you may see rapid results while over training. However, your vigorous training sessions will eventually catch up to you in the form of extended fatigue, injuries, long periods of no development and, in some cases, death.

It can be hard to tell when you are over training in the heat of exercise. Some people workout by losing themselves in their body and treat activity as an out of body experience.

Even if this seems like too spiritual of an approach for you, results of a self examination may illuminate surprising results. There are a few simple exercises that you can perform to get a better sense of how your body responds to activity and how to keep yourself focused and under control.

Are You Over Training?


80% of non-professional exercisers over train. Chances are, you are one of them. Even if you are positive that you do not over train, ask yourself two questions and answer them honestly:

  1. How many sessions do I typically train every week? The answer may depend upon a few factors. As a general rule, most goals can be accomplished in 3 or 4 sessions every week. Indeed, Olympic athletes may train 5 or 6 days a week. However, they do not over train. Adjusting into an intense 6 day workout week takes years. Even then, training sessions are broken up to provide the athlete with enough rest at night and during the day for their muscles to recover. No professional athlete trains at 100% intensity/14 hours a day/6 days a week. It is simply not possible to do so.

  2. How intense are my sessions? You should almost never reach 100% intensity in your workouts. Your heart cannot handle long periods of everything you have to give. Your workouts should be designed to gradually increase the meaning of 75% but never push yourself to the maximum in every session. Pushing yourself past fatigue is never beneficial or wise. Not even strength trainers dare to push themselves very far past what they know they can lift. If you are not convinced, consider this 2003 study:

A group of 10 males, aged 30, were asked to participate in a 4 week recumbent bike exercise study. They weighed between 265-280 lbs. and all admitted that they had not participated in regular exercise before the study. They males were split into two groups and asked to do perform their exercise group's routine and adhere to a strict diet provided by the study.

Group A


  • 2 Exercise sessions per week.

  • 90 minute sessions.

  • High levels of intensity. (75-80%)

Group B


  • 3 Exercise sessions per week

  • 30 minute sessions.

  • Moderate levels of intensity (55-70%)

The Results


  • Group A tallied an average weight loss of 12 lbs. during the entire study.

  • Group B tallied an average weight loss of 16 lbs. during the entire study.

Symptoms of Over Training


  • Performance Reduction

  • Sports Massage Injury
  • Increase in recovery time

  • Increase in technical mistakes

  • Increase in resting blood pressure

  • Trouble sleeping (while very tired)

  • Development of an eating disorder

  • Headaches

  • Diarrhea

  • Depression

  • Increase in Stress

  • Lack of concentration

The Dangers of Over Training


  1. Burnout: Do not consider burnout to be a low risk danger of over training. If you train too intensely for too many sessions, you are likely to either become too fatigued to adhere to your regular routine or get bored and quit your routine altogether.

  2. Injury: Injuries can (and probably will) occur as a result of over training. Common over training injuries include broken ribs, ankle sprains, liver damage and any type of overuse injury.

  3. Infection: Exercise places a large demand on your body. Training naturally causes your body to release cortisol that is bound to protein. The most marked losses of cortisol occur in the immune system. Over training causes an imbalanced loss of nutrients that will make you more prone to viruses and infections.

  4. Insomnia: There have been countless cases of insomnia in people that over train. This feeling of extreme fatigue without the ability to sleep for long periods of time is both unhealthy and dangerous.

  5. Performance Reduction: Inadequate rest coupled with workouts that are too intense will lead to performance reduction. This reduction will make it difficult to measure results, track goals and determine peak exercise limits.

  6. Death: The risk of sudden death while exercising is very low but it has been known to happen. One Rhode Island study (1975-1980) concluded that only 3 of 84,888 women died of heart failure while exercising. Men are about 19 times more susceptible to heart failure and death while exercising.

Healthy Alternatives


  1. Take Your Time: The best results occur over long periods of time. While it may be tempting to push yourself too hard to fit into those tight pants by this year's class reunion, planning to wow your former colleagues by next year's reunion will make even more of an impact.

  2. Increase Quality, Not Quantity: People often forget that focusing on doing an exercise well can make it more effective. Do some sit ups in front of a mirror and evaluate whether you really bring yourself up all the way and avoid waving your knees. Simple changes towards better movement can make a sizeable difference.

  3. Get Plenty of Sleep: 95% of muscle gains occur during rest. If you give your muscles more time to recuperate, you will give them more time to grow.

  4. Change Your Diet: Pumping up your exercise is not necessarily over training. However, whenever you increase the intensity of your exercise sessions, change your diet as well. You do not have to add calories! Eating a higher percentage of calories from carbohydrates is a quick way to give yourself more energy.

  5. Cross Train: The chances that you will over train are greatly reduced by simply adding another type of light exercise to your lifestyle. In addition to exercises, consider joining a softball or other sports team. Not only will you see improvement in your game due to your regular routine, you will get a little more exercise at a lot less risk.

Over Training Is Never An Option


Over-Training

There are many ways to increase your training effectiveness without resorting to over training. Do not be tempted to add more sessions until you are absolutely ready. Even when you do add sessions or intensity, make sure that you get plenty of rest between them.

At a bare minimum, 1 day or rest is what even the top professionals allow themselves. You should get 2 or 3 days of rest and at least 8 hours of sleep every night.

The people that you admire at the gym got that way due to years of a regular exercise routine, not weeks. By giving your body time to adjust to increased activity, you give your body time to develop.

Although over training is common, it is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. Injuries suffered due to over training will, without a doubt, eliminate the chances for fast gains that you sought in the first place.