Overtraining

August 10, 2011

Every day I get asked fitness-related questions…some easy to answer, some a bit more complicated. I will try to answer this one as simply as I can:

Q: I’m starting to get workout burnout and it is making me MAD! I’ve been having so much fun running, biking, yoga..now..it’s not so fun to get out the door anymore. Am I overtraining? Is it normal? I’ve read that I should take a week off to recharge, but I DON’T want to go backwards. Any suggestions?

A: First of all, it sounds like your program has gotten a bit stale and you have reached burnout. You are overtraining.

Overtraining can vary from person-to-person, but typically occurs when an athlete does too much, too often at too high an intensity level, with not enough recovery time between workouts. This sequence causes the body to break down and put the athlete in a prolonged state of fatigue. Symptoms of overtraining vary and are broad in scope, but include exactly what you describe: boredom, fatigue, and lack of motivation.

Your body is telling you to take a break and you should listen! This is a great opportunity to take an entire week off and be good to yourself: book a massage, get an extra hour or two of sleep per night, drink plenty of water, eat nutrient-dense foods and decrease your workout intensity to a leisurely walk until you start to feel motivated to exercise again.

Don’t be in a hurry to get back into a routine — overtraining is real and can wreak all kinds of havoc in your daily life, leading to long-term health issues. A week off is nothing in the broad scheme of things. Seriously.

Once you’re feeling better, have a fitness goal and train for it. Try something new like a duathlon, yoga retreat, take kettlebell classes or kickboxing lessons. Add swimming to your program and try a triathlon! Vary your workout routine: try not to do the same thing week in and week out. Have fun: make friends with others who have a passion for fitness. Find workout motivation on the web, on newsstands or your local gym.

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4 Responses to “Overtraining”

  1. Anne Katzenbach Says:

    Could you address severe undertraining?

    Thanks,
    Anne K

  2. as Says:

    Excellent blog today, Jenny! I’m glad to know that it’s ok to take a week to recharge. I like the idea to change things up from time to time; and, am going to re-introduce myself to Yoga tonight.


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