Signs You’re Overtraining
Signs You’re Overtraining: A Warning About Over Training Syndrome (OS)
Over training syndrome (OTS) is a condition which occurs when too much physical or mental stress causes your body to produce excessive amounts of growth hormone and cortisol. These hormones are known to cause changes in the way your muscles grow, but they can also have negative health consequences such as depression, anxiety, fatigue and even high blood pressure.
The problem with OTS is that it’s not always easy to recognize. If you’ve ever felt tired all the time, had trouble sleeping, or were constantly fatigued after a workout then you may suffer from OTS. For some people, especially women, the symptoms last longer than others. Some people experience no symptoms at all and continue to train hard. Others develop symptoms within days of starting their workouts.
In many cases, the symptoms disappear once the person stops training. However, if you suspect that you might have OTS, there are ways to prevent it from happening again. There are also things you can do to improve your chances of recovering faster and feeling better after a workout.
What Are The Symptoms Of Over Training?
As mentioned above, there are several symptoms to over training. Your body will let you know if you’re overdoing it with certain signs such as:
Lack of concentration or focus
Depression or anxiety
Swelling in your hands, feet or ankles
Shortness of breath during exercise
Mild upper respiratory tract infections such as the common cold
How Do I Know If I Have Over Training Syndrome?
Over training syndrome is a condition that occurs when your body is unable to recover from hard physical activity. It is not fully understood why some people get OTS and others do not. Most of the factors contributing to this syndrome are still relatively unknown, although researchers are working on these problems every day.
One of the most common factors that lead to OTS is an increase in exercise or training without allowing your body enough time to recover in between workouts. Typically, signs and symptoms of overtraining are caused by a decrease in testosterone levels brought on by the overproduction of growth hormone and cortisol. This can affect you on a mental and physical level.
OTS can also be caused by an increase in the frequency and intensity of your workouts without giving your muscles enough time to heal properly in between sessions. You may also have over trained if you’ve changed up your routine by added exercises, longer or more frequent workouts, or by increasing the intensity of your exercise.
What Are The Treatment Options?
The treatment for OTS is to rest. The exact amount of time you’ll need to take off from training depends on how severe your case is. Most doctors will give you at least a month, but in some cases where the patient’s symptoms are particularly bad, they may suggest a longer time period.
While resting, you’ll want to take steps to speed up the recovery process in your body. These steps can range from using alternative training methods, to using certain types of medication. Always follow your doctor’s advice with all medical treatment.
If your condition improves with rest, you’ll most likely be able to return to your regular training routine after your prescribed break period, but you may have to take things a little easier for a while. If your condition persists or worsens, however, you may need to seek out other forms of treatment such as steroid injections.
How Can I Prevent This In The Future?
If you believe you’re training too hard or feel like your body can’t keep up with your rigorous routine changes, it may be time to take a break. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have OTS, but it’s a good idea to start scaling things back until you know for sure. Training is supposed to be enjoyable, so don’t overdue it and end up getting sick from it.
If you know you have a genetic disposition for certain health issues such as low testosterone, you may be more prone to getting OTS. If this is the case, it’s best to take extra precautions by scaling back your routine and always following your body’s cues.
If you’re in a “no pain, no gain” mindset, then you may be more likely to continue training through the pain. While this can lead to short-term gains in your routine, it can also cause long-term problems with your body. Again, always listen to your body and take a break if something isn’t feeling right.
Supplements That Can Help
While there is no sure fire way to completely prevent over training, there are some supplements that have been found to alleviate its effects when used in combination with proper rest and recovery.
Zinc – Studies have found that individuals with OTS had significantly lower levels of zinc than those who weren’t suffering from the condition. By supplementing with just 3mg a day, some athletes were able to avoid the condition completely during their training cycles.
Magnesium – Another supplement that’s been shown to help alleviate the effects of overtraining is magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a role in many of your body’s functions, including muscular contractions. Those with OTS had significantly lower levels of magnesium and by supplementing with it daily, they were able to avoid the condition.
Vitamin D – While most people get enough vitamin D from sunlight, many still fall short of the recommended daily amounts. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to a plethora of medical issues, and overtraining is no exception. By supplementing with vitamin D, you can help to alleviate some of the stress that your body is undergoing during your training.
Creatine – While not technically a vitamin or mineral, creatine is an organic acid that’s found in the body and also available in some foods. It’s perhaps best known for its use by athletes in order to help increase strength and muscle size. Some studies have even found it to be effective in alleviating some of the symptoms of OTS. However, there’s still much debate on whether or not it actually works.
ZMA – This is a combination of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B that some athletes take before they go to sleep at night. Studies have shown that those who suffer from overtraining typically have a reduced amount of each of these vitamins and minerals in their system. By supplementing with ZMA, you can help to alleviate some of these issues.
Should I Consult A Healthcare Professional?
If you feel like you’re suffering from overtraining and would like confirmation of the diagnosis, visit a doctor. They can run various tests to see if your symptoms match those of overtraining as well as other conditions that have similar symptoms. They can also give you advice on how to treat it.
If you’re unsure of whether or not you have the condition, but feel as if you do, it might be a good idea to visit your doctor and discuss your concerns. They can help to determine if you need any further treatment. Also, make sure that you schedule an appointment with them before beginning any new exercise routine or supplement regimen in order to stay on the safe side.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Overtraining causes Olympic-sized problems (S Levin – The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 1991 – Taylor & Francis)
- OVERTRAINING AND INJURY PREVENTION (SOF OVER-TRAINING – GANESAR COLLEGE OF ARTS AND …, 2018 – academia.edu)
- Overtraining syndrome: why training too hard, too long, doesn’t work (CJ Hawley, RB Schoene, KG Harmon… – The Physician and …, 2003 – Taylor & Francis)
- Overtraining and stress responses (M Gleeson – Occupational Health and Industrial Medicine, 1999 – infona.pl)
- Reese Woods Fitness (F Food, HLM Easy – reesewoods.com)
- Overtraining and the complexities of coaches’ decision-making: managing elite athletes on the training cusp (CC Pope, D Penney, TB Smith – Reflective Practice, 2018 – Taylor & Francis)
- Squat Every Day: Thoughts on overtraining and recovery in strength training (M Perryman – 2013 – books.google.com)
- Testosterone and Overtraining (HI Works – testofuel.com)