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10 Indications of Overtraining

by Robb Beams

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10 body indicators to gauge when to work out and when to back off

If you don't take time to rest and recovery, your body wont adapt to the stress of training and racing - and as a result you won't get stronger or faster. If you neglect recovery for too long, you will start to lose strength and speed.

Remember, over-training is not applicable only to elite athletes and professionals, recreational athletes have to balance, personal, professional, bills, children, inadequate sleep, etc., which is what makes recovering from your workouts and racing even more difficult.

Need for Rest - Symptom Evaluation

See if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  1. Symptom #1-Body Mass
    A 2% drop in weight from day to day indicates a body-fluid fluctuation. More than likely, you didn't hydrate enough to offset heat, humidity, intensity and duration. Dehydration negatively impacts both physical and mental performance and could compromise the quality of your next workout or race.
  2. Symptom #2-Elevated Resting Heart
    An elevated resting heart rate is a significant indicator of stress within the body. An elevated HR indicates that your nervous system is in a” fight or flight" mode which results in elevated hormone levels to provide more oxygen to the muscles and brain. Your body doesn't know the difference between and physical and psychological stress. A hard day at work and/or a hard workout or race both require additional recovery protocols.
  3. Symptom #3-Sleep Quality: you wake up and don't feel fresh.
    Quality sleep: falling asleep quickly, deeply and staying there for a long period of time will allow your body to release the much needed growth hormone (hGH) necessary for rebuilding muscle and burning body fat. Several low quality nights of sleep will decrease your reaction time, immune system, can cognitive functions - not a good scenario when it comes to quality workout or high end performance on race day.
  4. Symptom #4-Hydration: your urine is dark yellow
    Unless you are taking B vitamins, a dark colored urine can be an indicator of dehydration. Your urine is an easy indicator of your water levels throughout your body.
  5. Symptom #5-Energy Levels are Low
    Honesty is the key here. You know the difference between being tired and having low energy. Being tired is about recovering from yesterday's workload. Being low on energy is a at a completely different level. Athletes think they can block out signs of fatigue and push to the next level of fitness, performance just doesn't develop in this environment.
  6. Symptom #6-Mood State: your moody (and even cranky).
    When your body is overwhelmed by stress (training, racing, work, family, etc.), it produces the stress hormone cortisol that can cause irritability and/or anxiety. Stress also halts chemicals like dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that has a big bummer effect on mood when depleted. Crankiness means not enough recovery.
  7. Symptom #7-Sick Frequently
    Any illness or even a woman's menstrual cycle, will increase your need for energy to refuel your immune system, which is having to work overtime. This translates into fewer resources available for recovery from training.
  8. Symptom #8-Pain: you’re excessively sore or have a nagging injury.
    Whether you are sore from over worked muscles or have an injury that continues to linger is an indicator that your body needs more energy to put towards the repair, which extends your total recovery time.
  9. Symptom #9-Performance is sub-par.
    This is a subjective measure of workout quality, not quantity nor intensity. If you perform well on a particular workout, you would rate that workout as "good". If you have a sub-par performance or feel like you are struggling to complete that same workout, you would rate that workout as "poor". Trending workout quality - multiple poor workouts in a row - is one of the easiest ways to identify the need for more recovery.
  10. Symptom #10-Oxygen Saturation: low oxygen levels.
    The amount of oxygen in the hemoglobin of the red blood cells can be measured and is thought to be an accurate assessment of recovery because of the association of high oxygen saturation levels and higher energy levels.

Evaluation Time: count how many of the above symptoms you have experienced over the last week and then compare this against the following:

0-1: Green Light: you are recovering adequately and can maintain your normal volume and intensity.
2-4: Caution: You can complete your hard workouts; however, cut the workout short if you are struggling to complete the first couple of intervals after a long warm up.
5-6: Warning: This is the zone where you are close to tipping the scales and becoming over-worked, sick and injury prone. You need to add a second rest day to your week.
7-10: Danger: You are IN the danger zone and need to take one week completely off (no sport specific training); increase your high quality food intake and take 2 hour naps each day.

 

About the Author: CompleteRacingSolutions.com is a premium resource center for motocross, supercross and GNCC riders of all abilities and ages. Visit his website & subscribe to his bi-monthly newsletter that outlines the training solutions used with great success by multi time Loretta Lynn’s & Mini O Champion’s Jordan Bailey (Factory Red Bull/KTM) & Factory Kawasaki/Pro-Circuit’s Adam Cianciarulo, national champion & Factory JGR/Yamaha’s Jon Jon Ames, Off Road racers Charlie Mullins, Chris Bach & GNCC Quad racer Roman Brown along thousands of riders all around the world.

Additional resources available include the MotoE Performance Training Facility in Haines City, Florida, eBooks on various human performance elements and online instructional videos. To discuss your current program or have a new one developed for you; feel free to contact Robb Beams at CompleteRacingSolutions.com or 407.701.7586 directly.

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

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Discussion

  1. Gravatar
    Harry Leary August 30, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    enjoyed the article!

    I have raced BM\X on an elite level for 40+ years and it is always good to get s reinforced opinion on overtraining!

    Thanks!

  2. Gravatar
    patrick September 04, 2014 at 10:43 am

    hello ; I would like to know which is the best way of eating for physical training in the gym and on the bike 2 times x week.,
    thks!

  3. Gravatar
    Racer X Virtual Trainer September 04, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Patrick - I think the Paleo diet is good to follow. You can also check out the Nutrition and Hydration section. http://www.racerxvt.com/category/nutrition-hydration

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