Let’s play out a little scenario:
You just finished one hell of a workout. One that demanded a Rage Against the Machine playlist to complete and as soon as it was over, your ass fell flat on the floor, towel over your face, and you didn’t give a rip if the guy next to you needed to step over your limp body to grab his dumbbells off the rack.
Finally, you slowly gather your strength to get up and suck down your post-workout protein. Stumbling out of the gym with a quasimodo lean, you think to yourself...
“Is it possible I overtrained?”
What exactly is the definition of overtraining? Is it a myth? Are you a pansy or just an all out, crazy beast who really does need to stop pushing so hard in your workouts?
Overtraining can be defined as an overall body fatigue and decline in performance due to too much training. Now, what I’ve noticed with most people is that they tend to confuse overtraining with the neglect to recover properly. In other words, when a person’s body feels depleted and weak, it is usually because he or she didn’t eat or hydrate accurately, sleep enough or my biggest fault-- didn’t stretch enough. In fact, I’d say about 99% of people will never actually know what it feels like to overtrain and maybe only about 5-10% of athletes will experience it. Going further, it takes more than a couple of lunatic conditioning sessions to overtrain your body--I’m talking months of accumulated high intensity workouts to get to that almost unreachable point.
Your body is a marvelous machine and you'd be surprised how much you can put it through. So, if you wake up the next day, legs wobbly and throbbing, DON'T skip on your next workout. Instead, go for a light jog, do some bodyweight squats in place, walk around, do some high knees and stretch. This is all part of a recovery process that will allow blood flow to continue through your muscles, making the soreness dissipate sooner. After you're a little looser, now it's time to train.
So, to make this short and effortless-
If you’re feeling like you’ve pushed yourself way too hard and your body hurts too much to go on, you need to re-evaluate your restoration technique. Be sure you’re eating properly, drinking plenty of water, stretching after your workouts and before bed and getting enough sleep. Missing one of these components can lead to improper growth and development, and ultimately a long plateau on the way to your fitness goals.
And yes, if overtraining is in your vocabulary, I'm calling you out--
Simply recover better.