Avoiding Overtraining

One of the risks of getting excited about your training program is trying to do too much, too hard, too soon. With your wedding coming up, the last thing that you want to do is undermine your health by overtraining. The American College of Sports Medicine has a comment paper titled “Overtraining with Resistance Exercise” that explains causes, signs, and symptoms. Avoid overtraining by progressing your program safely and sensibly.

Causes of overtraining include the following:

  • Training too many times a week

  • Doing too many exercises per session

  • Lifting too many sets

  • Consistently lifting overly heavy weights

Signs and symptoms of overtraining include the following:

  • Strength loss

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Poor sleep

  • Appetite loss

  • Excessively sore muscles

  • Mood changes

  • Loss of interest in training

  • Increased frequency of illness with slower recovery

If you recognize any of these symptoms, take a look at your program and modify it to include more rest and recovery and a lower intensity.

Use the following strategies to prevent overtraining:

  • Progress your program as outlined

  • Avoid repetitive training (training with no variety)

  • Avoid straining muscles or joints through overuse

  • Combine your weight training with aerobic, stretching, and mind-body exercises

Because you're likely to be so busy planning your wedding, the odds of overtraining are slim. However, because it does happen to some people, it's worth understanding, if only to give you a good appreciation of the importance of rest, recovery, and variety in your program.

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