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Question of the Week: Overtraining

Our expert demystifies overtraining to help you avoid injuries and maintain peak performance.

The science behind fitness and health is wild, crazy and ever changing. One minute a study supports a particular claim, then next it's the worst thing you could humanly do to or for yourself. Sometimes you'll even find the same questions looming around the industry with mixed reviews, perspectives and findings. In efforts to calm the maddess, each week here at MensFitness.com we'll scour the Internet, tap into forums and ask our friends on Facebook and Twitter about what question in fitness we can get some firm answers to.

This week, we take a look at the industry's thoughts on overtraining.

Q: What is overtraining? How is it truly identified and prevented? 

 

A: Overtraining is a symptom that affects many hard working athletes. Hard work in training is complemented by appropriate rest period following the training sessions. The body undergoes physiological changes like protein synthesis, increasing muscle capillaries and glycogen stores during rest and recovery periods. Conversely, overtraining occurs when the rest periods are either ignored or not included during training programs. The body’s balance between the physical stress of training and recovery periods is thrown off, and the athlete is negatively affected. The performance may plateau or even decline during overtraining. Common symptoms include decreased overall performance, fatigue, persistent soreness, and, in some cases, mood changes.

The best way to prevent overtraining is to include rest periods in your training programs. Plan the variations (intensity, weight load, exercises) in your programs appropriately. Ramp up your intensity according to your ability and readiness. Overtraining can not only affect your performance, but can also be the indirect cause of injuries, so prevention is of the utmost importance. 

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