Are You Overtraining?

Mar 30, 2011

Let’s face it, most people are under training as oppose to over training but for those exercise warriors that are always pushing hard week after week taking it to the next level this one’s for you. I want to show you a systematic way to avoid over training that will make you dodge plateau’s and reach new heights in your training and sport.

Over training stalls progress, reduces performance, leaves you exhausted, prone to injury and sickness and possibly what makes you lose your next contest, race, fight, event or show.

For the past 13 weeks I’ve been training hard twice a day, 6 days a week in hopes of winning my next contest. I’ve done this in the past to win the Canada’s and it works well as long as it’s done right. In order to train so hard without over training you not only need to have a good program in place that manipulates volume and intensity and recovery but even more important is having a good sense of your body and when you are heading into overreaching mode and finally over training mode. The problem with monitoring over training is that it’s impossible to monitor with simply one variable.

But I’m going to show you a way to make sure you never fall into that over training mode yet are able to get as much work in as possible to give you that edge to win.

Next time you take a week off from exercise (maybe your next vacation) you need to set a baseline.
At the end of the week (when you are fully rested) write down the following list:

  • Heart rate:
  • Sore joints 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
  • Sore muscles 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
  • General fatigue 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
  • Motivation to workout 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10
  • Quality of sleep 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10

Now take this list of variables and upon wakening on your last day of rest before starting your serious training, take your heart rate by using a watch and timing 30 seconds of heart beats. Multiply the number you get by 2 to give you your resting heart rate. Next, rate all the measures above on a scale of 1- 10 to get a baseline for recovery. 1 being not recovered and 10 being fully recovered.

Now that you have a baseline; throughout your training program, keep a sheet of paper and a pen in your bathroom (I find this easier to do before I brush my teeth) and rate the variables above first thing every morning on a scale of 1 to 10.

What to do if the numbers change?

If you you have a decrease of 2 points on 3 or more variables for 2 days in a row you need to cut both your intensity and volume in half for that day.

If you have a decrease of 3 or more points on 3 or more variables as a weekly average you need to take a week off training even if it wasn’t planed.

As for heart rate, this will give you indication of over reaching. If the weekly average is increasing and morning heart rate is high (10 beats more than your original baseline) you need to consider planning a recovery week when you feel it’s appropriate.

With this approach to tracking your recovery you will continue to progress while avoiding plateaus and you will reach new heights with your training and sport performance. Now go relax!

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