Six signs that I was over training.
The last few months or so have been a reminder that over training is a very real thing. I guess I bit off more than I could chew the past several months. Sure I was showing lots of progress at first, but then overnight, everything came to a crashing halt.
In hindsight what I was doing, is what we all do, we push ourselves harder and harder trying to attain our goals. In my case I kept upping the training ante, figuring I could do just a bit more, but never realizing that eventually something had to give.
As the months went on, I steadily increased my training regiment; I just kept pushing the envelope a little bit more each time. After a while I adopted the same, five day a week training schedule that I used when I was exclusively lifting. Back then I would work one body part a day, and of course have two days off each week, then start over. The result was that each body part (Chest, legs etc.) had a six-day rest period in between workouts and that schedule worked great (for lifting).
The problem was, that due to intensity level of most WOD’s, there was no way my body could recover with that schedule, but I hadn’t figured that out yet. Eventually I couldn’t take it any more and a whole list of over training “symptoms” started popping up.
These are the signs (which I chose to ignore) that I was over training.
- I was exhausted all the time – Normally I am very energetic and ready to take on any challenge. After a few months of constant five day a week workouts, I was done, my body just couldn’t take the abuse that I was putting it through. In hindsight my body never had a full chance to recover from the daily intense workouts.
- I was moody – I caught myself getting upset at little stuff. The stress I was putting my body through was having an adverse effect on my moods.
- I was getting weak – I just couldn’t figure out why I was losing so much strength week after week. Having the same lifting schedule for years previous to CrossFit had worked wonders in my strength department. Now it seemed like my strength was dropping weekly. Not good, not good at all.
- Fat loss stopped – This was my first indicator, but I just brushed it off. It was as if I had hit a wall. One day I’m doing, fine then overnight all my progress stopped. My body told me something, but I wasn’t listening.
- I was beginning to dread daily workouts – If you’re like me, you love to workout. So when I began to dread workouts, I should have taken the warning. I didn’t.
- I was getting sick a lot – Usually I am the one in the house that doesn’t catch a thing. Yet the past few months, I have been sick more often or stayed sick longer than anyone else in my household.
So what did I do about it?
Well to be honest, nothing for quite awhile. In my mind I thought, you can handle the training, it’s all in your mind, suck it up. Then after a while the lack of progress started to wear on me, so I began doing my own research and came up with all sorts of info as to why my progress stopped.
Much of the info I found indicated that I was not getting enough sleep. I’m not going to go into the science of that, but it made sense that the lack of sleep could contribute to all sorts of problems.
So I did all kinds of stuff trying to get better sleep each night. I started wearing a sleep mask, earplugs and even using a fan for white noise. In the end I did get better sleep, but it never solved any of my training “symptoms”, so I was back to square one.
One day while cruising the net, I logged into Linkedin.com and found a fitness professionals group. Just for fun, I posted a simple question. I wrote, “I’m having trouble losing my last bit of my belly fat, does anyone have any suggestions”?
I can say with all honesty that the responses to that question ranged from the creative, to the strange. In one twenty four hour period I had more suggestions than I could have imagined.
Yet one stuck out.
One personal trainer suggested that I change my routine. Duh, I thought, the answer had been staring me right in the face the whole time, yet I didn’t see it, or maybe didn’t want to.
The same conclusion I had come to about sleep, should have sent off alarms that maybe I wasn’t getting enough rest between very difficult workouts. As a result my whole body was suffering. My body needed rest, and not just during sleep.
His suggestion was to change my schedule to a two on two off, then one on one off schedule.
Well I have, and the results have been remarkable. I have gained my strength back, I feel rested, I am not getting sick, I have a new love for working out, my moods are better and once again I feel like I can conquer the world. Oh yeah, as an added bonus I began losing fat again.
So if your in a rut and don’t know why, maybe it’s because your over training.
Sorry sport, but even though your mind says so, your body might not.
See you in the hills.