Don’t Overdo It: The Pitfalls of Overtraining

Weight training has been a permanent part of your life for years. You never skip doing cardio. You are used to getting hard-core results. Then, suddenly you lose interest in the gym. Your workouts lack animal intensity and your drive is going down the tubes. In addition, you find that your body is tired and achy, your sleep sucks, and you have even had the symptoms of a cold or flu that you just can’t seem to shake.

If you have found yourself in this sorry condition, don’t throw in the towel. You are simply experiencing symptoms of over training, technically referred to as cumulative micro-trauma. It is a sort of burn-out that affects all athletes and body-builders at some point or another.

There are basically two ways to cope with over training. You can avoid it or you can treat it. If you have to treat it, it’s too late! But you’re not sunk yet. Stop training at once and get some much needed rest. Assess what you have been doing in the gym. Consult your physician to talk about your fatigue, weight loss, aches and pains. Take some time off and do some reading and perhaps find an expert trainer who can put you back on the right course.

You can avoid over training altogether by following a few basic rules and using good old common sense.

First, incorporate sensible, scientific weight training principles into your training regime. Identify the goals you want to achieve and come up with a workout and nutritional strategy. Change your workout routine every three months. Use combinations of light and heavy weights. Split up your muscle groups, ie, work chest and back one day, lower body the next, shoulders and arms on the third day, rest on the fourth day and begin the cycle over again. Always incorporate at least one or two days rest into your training regime.

Secondly, vary your training methods. Use combinations of free weights and machines. Use good lifting techniques and perform each exercise according to proper form. Alternate between easy, moderate and heavy periods of training, this is known as periodization. As a general rule, one or two days of intense, ass-kicking training should be followed by an equal number of easier aerobic training days.

Thirdly, pay attention to sensible, scientific nutritional practices and get enough sleep and rest. If you are really training hard, chances are you will need to add supplements to your diet. Consult your physician concerning these needs. Remember, you can’t work a ten hour day, train hard in the gym, and deal with the demands of the “rat-race” on six hours of sleep a day. Eight to ten hours per day should be the norm for supermen like you.

Over training is a curse every body builder faces from time to time. When it occurs, meet it as a challenge with rest and your knowledge of the human body. Contact [email protected] for more tips on sensible but, challenging workouts.