When commencing a fitness journey there is always a transition period where you are figuring out how to fit these new routines and habits into your lifestyle. What I’ve seen time and time again is people having the best of intentions and leaping into new fitness routines quickly without a sustainable plan. Going in with this tunnel-vision mind frame could easily throw your efforts off-track if you encounter difficulty. Begin a fitness routine too quickly, too soon, and your body will retaliate with signs of overtraining, dampening your motivation. Not to say overtraining won’t happen to a seasoned fitness pro or enthusiast, it can. They just have better kinesthetic awareness and a deeper knowledge of the body, therefore, are prepared with a plan.
Now let me get to the signs of overtraining – in neat little lists – and why I’m suggesting you check your pulse.
You are exhausted all the time.
Exercise should invigorate you, and not just the runner’s high type, afterward as well. It should add to your overall energy. Typical muscle soreness aside, your recovery should leave you refreshed. Which leads me to…
If you are taking 3 or more days
to recover from muscle soreness you should tone it down a notch. Schedule time for adequate recovery – that means deep sleep, nutrient dense meals and let’s throw in a massage!! Really, they are many ways to recover! A few ideas; sauna, epsom salt bath/CBD bath bombs, stretching, etc. I would tie this in with what part of the training phase you are in, but that’s a whole other post – I’ll get to it later!
Having trouble sleeping? Another sign you are not allowing sufficient time to recover from your workouts. Of course, consider stress factors, but the grand thing about exercise is that the body gets better at dealing with stress. The body is clever!
Plateaus – You’re not reaping any gains from your training.
If you are working out hard and not sleeping well, the body is not able to repair itself efficiently. Most repair and restorative processes for the body happen during deep sleep. Lack of sleep will keep you from achieving the gains your are working so hard to achieve. This will leave you susceptible to injury.
Check your morning resting pulse rate (MRHR) – finally I got to it! This bit of information I got from reading FrameWork: Your 7 – Step Program For Healthy Muscles, Bones and Joints. I thought it was such a simple and effective tip! I had to share. Two places you can take your pluse – as the book states; the carotid artery on your neck or on the radial artery at your wrist. The pulse should be taken in the morning, stay consistent with the technique for accuracy. I like to count for 30 seconds then x’s by 2, you could also count for 10 seconds and x’s by 6. When checking at the radial artery, do not use your thumb, use your index and middle finger. Keep the touch light. If you find your MRHR is going up instead of down, this is a warning sign. The book states; an increase of 5 beats per minute can be a sign you are not allowing enough recovery time.
There are other signs that point to overtraining; moodiness, feeling burn-out, wanting to abort the whole fitness idea; and specific to women, the absence of menstruation. Every individual is different but a well thought out plan and customized training program will set you up for success. Remember rest and recovery is a crucial part of a comprehensive training program – SCHEDULE IT IN. For me, it’s non-negotiable!
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