You could definitely call this my nemesis.
As someone who has the tendency to overtrain and who has been dealing with overtraining on and off throughout my fitness journey, I have implemented some practices to help combat overtraining.
Those who tend to overtrain have their own reasons for doing so.
For me that can include anything from me loving my workouts too much, not knowing my limits, ignoring signs of overtraining, and feeling really powerful in the moment but neglecting to think more long-term.
If overtraining is something that you struggle with as well, you may want to have a look at this video and keep on reading…
So, I have not fully overcome overtraining as I do fall into patterns where I frequent the Overtraining Zone (OZ).
I don't like going to OZ.
It's not fun there.
It actually really stinks.
No, it sucks.
But let me be real with you, sometimes too much of a good thing (in this case training) can lead to you going somewhere you don't want to go…OZ.
Ok, that being said here is what is helping me overcome overtraining and I am getting better about it but do have to work really hard and be mindful about it so I don't go to OZ.
Strategies to fight the urge to Overtrain:
Overtraining is symptomatic of short-term thinking. It's incorrect thinking that if you push it harder you'll get there faster.
Here's the thing, though. Fitness is not short-term. Fitness is a long-term lifelong journey.
Having perspective is an essential component of that. Recognizing that we're in it for the long-haul. Just like there are no quick and easy results, overdoing it is not getting us closer to our goals. If anything, it could potentially be taking us away from our goals. More on that later.
For this reason, what's been helping me is thinking about fitness as something I should sustain. And sustainable fitness and overtraining are diametrically opposed to one another.
I'm a visual person and I like to imagine what's happening in my body when it comes to overtraining.
It might be worth thinking about what's happening to your muscles and why you need rest days.
It's less to do with the tearing and more to do with the chemical pathways that get activated that increase muscle synthesis.
That allows me to recognize that my muscles need to undergo the repair processes.
Performing better in my workout sessions feels incredible. Being able to go at 90 or 100 instead of 60 or 70 feels really good.
And when you're able to go at your Max it feels like you're making much more progress if you work out rested.
You feel stronger. That's just an amazing sensation.
When you work out rested your muscles have time to repair and recover. You need to give your muscles time to grow. So taking a day or two a week to rest and recover actually ends up making you stronger.
Stretching every day throughout the day is super important. Not just after your workouts but also on recovery days.
I have started doing morning mobility either yoga or my own stretching routine. I really like this new “routine” because I wake up tight from my strength training.
So make it a point of stretching and staying mobile. Blood flow to the muscle while its repairing helps enhance the repair process.
This is something new that I've recently come up with. I have started planning something fun on my rest days because I want to replicate that feeling of excitement that I get when I'm working out.
That way, even on rest days I have something to look forward to. This can be something special that gets reserved only for the rest day.
For me, that's been drawing. I've started dabbling with digital illustration, and that's been good fun. I love making art and igniting the creative processes.
This could also be something like reading a good book (I'm in the middle of Starless Sea) maybe do some fun dance (I love a good impromptu dance party), meet up with friends for coffee, have a Zoom call with friends, things like that.
Think about the inability to make progress when you're injured.
For most people, the whole thing driving you to overtrain is to get to your goals faster, but as soon as you injure yourself, it's difficult to impossible to reach your goals until you've healed.
And that defeats the purpose of all the pain you suffered in pursuit of achieving that objective.
That's the harsh reality of overtraining, but injury prevention is very important and allows you to keep on track with your health and fitness goals.
One last thing before you go…
*Imagine yourself as an 80-year-old or 10-year-old. Do you want to be able to lift your grandchildren and go on hikes? Do you want to be able to move in a pain-free way?
Then keep this in mind. Write it down if you'd like:
There's no such thing as getting there faster. It's only about getting there.