If you are reading this article, you more than likely fit into one of two categories: You’re either a veteran fitness buff who’s been around the gym scene for years or you’re a newbie to the gym with only a few months of fitness training under your belt. Whether you’ve been working out for years or weeks, overtraining can become a significant problem if you don’t make time to rest.
More sets, repetitions and going harder more frequently doesn’t always yield better results.
Many people come to believe in the idea that if a little is good, more is better. That is, performing more sets, repetitions and going harder more frequently will yield faster and better results. It may seem logical to think this way, but more doesn’t always yield better results. Sometimes less is more. How is this possible?
Resistance training is a form of external stress that creates micro tears in your muscle fibers. Typically 48 to 72 hours after a training session you experience what is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This is a natural process that you can’t avoid. Although DOMS is a result of resistance training, making the decision to train too often and too intensely without sufficient amounts of rest can result in overtraining.
To avoid overtraining, you should leave at least 48 hours of rest between training sessions for each muscle group. This amount of time allows both the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems essential time to repair and recover.
You may have heard that taking more than a day off from working out results in strength loss. In fact, the opposite occurs. Resting provides the mind with greater mental clarity and the body with better physical strength. This sets the stage for a more intense and focused training session. So before you continue training seven days a week, learn the signs of overtraining and don’t be afraid to take two days off!
Signs of Overtraining
You’re experiencing more fatigue after working out than usual.
You’ve become more irritable than normal.
Your normal recovery time has extended.
You’re noticing a loss of strength from one session to the next.
You’re suffering more frequent colds and weakened immunity.
You lack motivation.
You stop seeing improvement.
If you notice any of these signs, be sure to give yourself more time to recover from your workouts. Believe it or not, your strength and power gains are only a few sleep sessions away.