Overtraining and how to prevent it
“Go hard or go home” is well known motivational phrase that you would hear countless of times.
However, it is important to know when the right time go hard is and when it is the right time to go home. It is very easy to over train your body and not get the sufficient recovery time needed to ensure that your muscles properly grow and develop.
Overtraining is linked with a number of factors such as immune suppression, glycogen depletion, performance incompetence, and negative impacts on mood. There are a few different theories on how overtraining syndrome can manifest itself.
The Glycogen System Theory
Glycogen is the primary way that your body stores glucose. Almost all of the carbohydrates we eat winds up as glucose so it is important for the body to be able to store some of it to control blood glucose levels and provide glucose to the parts of the body that need it the most.
The Glycogen system theory suggests that when your body is in a glycogen-depleted state, it will have increased oxidation, an increased breakdown of BCAAs from muscle tissue, increased production of stress hormones as well as higher levels of 5HT which then makes you tired.
The best way to counteract this is to keep a watchful eye on your intake and expenditure ensuring that if it is at a deficit. The best way to replenish this is to consider taking the BCAA Hydro Fuel product or the Energy + bars to ensure your levels do not drop and you do not overtrain while in a depleted and tired state
The Oxidative Stress Theory
The oxidative stress theory proposes that an excessive amount of training can overwhelm the body’s antioxidant defence mechanisms. Increased oxidation will in turn increase inflammation and this will cause slower recovery and higher muscle fatigue. The best solution for this is to provide your body with nutrients and food that supports antioxidant enzyme systems such as berries, pecan nuts and dark chocolate. Cycling can also assist with avoiding repeated stress areas as well as higher intensity training sessions rather than long hours spent in the gym.
The Central System (CNS) Theory
When the CNS gets depleted you end up losing the ability to produce stress hormone in response to intense training which has short term and long term effects. The short term effect is the displacement of BCAAs which will increase the 5HT uptake into the brain. In the long term, the adrenal hypofunction and dysregulation of the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis (HPA). This is how your brain talks to the adrenals. There’s a contention around various types of CNS overtraining but a few experts have suggested that endurance training leads to sympathetic burnout with weights and power training leading to parasympathetic burnout. In any case, the way to resolve this is to cut the volume while keeping up with the intensity. You can also increase your rest days and use plant-based compounds which will reboot your CNS.
The Cytokine Theory
The Cytokine theory focuses on the system imbalance where adaptation through tissue healing and strengthening happens thanks to the activation of local inflammatory response and recruitment of cytokines (part of your immune system that’s usually pro-inflammatory.) When your cytokine levels increase, this causes depression-like symptoms, lethargy, sickness and withdrawal from social situations.
The best way to get past overtraining from this theory is to increase your fish oils intake to improve omega 3/6 ratio and to supplement with ZMA. Specific nutrients such as colostrum and probiotics can also improve your digestive health and immune system functioning during periods of high stress and higher intensity training.
The content from this blog post was taken from Matt Lovell article featured in Train Magazine where you can read the full article.