Overtraining Education for Your Health & Sports Performance

Overtraining is a controversial topic that is commonly discussed in health and fitness globally.

  • 10/26/2016 10:01:00 AM
  • MATT CRAWLEY, MS, CSCS*D, RSCC, USATF-1

Overtraining is a controversial topic that is commonly discussed in health and fitness globally.  Overtraining occurs when we push our bodies through extreme training conditions without proper rest between training sessions.  It can be defined as excessive frequency, volume, or intensity of training that results in extreme fatigue, excessive soreness, staleness, burnout, illness or injury which is associated with a lack of rest, recovery and nutrition habits (NSCA Essentials, 2008).  With the onset of overtraining, it can take several weeks to several months for recovery.   Individuals should engage in a planned training program to increase intensity when necessary and then taper training to improve performance.   A successful training program incorporates adequate rest between training days to prevent burnout and injury.  Below are four tips to help prevent overtraining to ensure an active and healthy training program.

Ways to help prevent overtraining

  1. Education on proper recovery for training programs.
    • Recovery can be defined as the ability to meet or exceed performance in a particular activity (John Mike).  If recovery intervals between training bouts are planned, this will increase the onset of supercompensation to improve performance. 
       
  2. Sometimes you just need time off - Plan rest days
    • Take a session or multiple sessions off with passive rest.
    • Engage in active recovery such as cross training-hikes, walking, and adding variety to normal patterns.
       
  3. Control what you can in your life - Sleep and diet
    • Ensure you are getting the necessary amount of sleep to function optimally.  At least 7-9 hours.
    • You are not only what you eat, but you are what you absorb!
    • If your session lasts 1 hour, you have 23 other hours to positively or negatively impact your body that day.
       
  4. Keep a training log to monitor your sessions with intensity, volume, duration, and frequency.

 

Works Cited

Baechle, T. R., & Earle, R. W. (2008). Essentials of Strength and Conditioning/National Strength and Conditioning Association- 3rd Edition. Champaign, IL.

Meeusen, R. D., Foster, M., Fry, C., Gleeson, A., & Nieman, D. (2013). Prevention, Diagnosis and treatment of the overtraining syndrome. Prevention, Diagnosis and treatment of the overtraining syndrome: joint consensus statement of the European College of Sport Science and the AMerican College of Sports Medicine , 45(1).