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5 tips to avoid overtraining

Anyone who is addicted to sports knows how difficult it is not to want too much too quickly. Too much weight, too many sets, too many workouts. Overtraining can be an unwanted consequence of exercising too much and will backfire on your progression. But how do you recognize overtraining, how do you prevent it and what if it is already 'too late'?

What is overtraining and how do you recognize it?

Recovery time ensures that your body becomes stronger and performs better. This is called super compensation. Adequate rest between sets and workouts is indispensable to make progress.

When insufficient rest is given to the body, the body will not become stronger, but it will become unbalanced. The human body is strong, but of course it has its limits. It will become exhausted and performance will degrade. This is called overtraining.

Overtraining is characterized by, among other things, reduced performance, disrupted hormone production, aches and inflammation everywhere, a motivation dip, fatigue, concentration problems, a depressed mood, less appetite and sleeping problems. As you can see, these are all symptoms that you want to prevent. Overtraining is an attack on your body both physically and mentally.

How do you avoid overtraining? 

1. Try to find out what works the best for you

Every body is different. What works for someone else does not have to work for you. There are different body types and every metabolism is different. So do not pin yourself down on what someone else advises or does, but discover what works for you. Think of how much rest between sets, the number of repetitions and sets, the rest between workouts and nutrition. One learns by doing.

2. Listen to your body

Prevention is better than cure, so it is important to listen to your body. Don't be afraid to take a few days or a week off for some rest. In a week you will not become a top athlete and you will not become a beanbag in a week. The extra rest ensures that your body can recover to the maximum, which will benefit performance. When your body asks for rest but you continue to train, you will get the opposite result.

3. Set real goals

Be realistic and make sure your goals are achievable. Setting goals step by step ensures that you stay motivated and that you do not want to perform too much in too short a time. More weight, more sets and more training is not a prerequisite for progression. More is not always better.

4. Eat enough and eat healthy

A car cannot drive without fuel and you cannot perform without power. Food serves as fuel and building material. If you do not take enough or the right nutrition, your body will not be able to recover sufficiently. You guessed it: this will result in overtraining over time.

5. Get plenty of sleep

During your sleep, a recovery process is going on in your body. The body is in an anabolic phase, the anabolic hormones or growth hormones are released. When you sleep too little, you will not recover sufficiently and you give the body too little time to release the growth hormones. In addition, a lack of sleep increases the production of cortisol. An excess of cortisol leads to an increased fat percentage and also reduces the build-up of muscle mass.

Overtrained, now what !?

When you are overtrained, it is wise to take enough rest so that your body can go back to normal, both physically and mentally. Eat enough, get enough sleep and avoid stress. Both physically and mentally. If you suffer from aches and pains, it is wise to see a specialist.

When you are ready (and possibly after consultation with a specialist) you can take a light workout, but keep listening to your body. Look for alternative exercises or intensity when the body is protesting. Pain is a sign of the body that it is not yet ready for the load.

Evaluate the mistakes you have made, learn from them and you will see that you will come out stronger!