Many people out there, including myself, like to push hard through their workouts to achieve the best results possible. But, did you know that it is possible to over train? With overly intense workouts many amateur and professional athletes could experience a decline in both performance and physiological function. This could extend over the course of weeks, months, and even years. This is overtraining, and the precise cause of the decrease in performance is not yet fully understood. The most current research has pointed to both physiological and psychological causes.

800px-Finales_du_Championnat_d’Ile-de-France_de_boxe_anglaise_amateur_2009_008Overtraining can occur with the three major forms of training, including resistance, anaerobic, and aerobic workouts. Yes, everyone that works out experiences some form of fatigue during repeated days and weeks of working out, so not all exercise fatigue situations can be classified as over training. The fatigue that follows one or more training sessions is typically relieved after day or so of proper rest as well as proper calorie and carbohydrate rich diets. Yet, over training is characterized by sudden decline in both your performance and physiological function, and it is not remedied after a day or a few days of reduced training or rest.

Depressed_(4649749639)There are multiple symptoms that are linked to the overtraining syndrome, and are usually identifiable only after the individual’s performance and physiological function have begun to suffer. Many of the symptoms can vary from individual to individual, and that can make it difficult for the coaches, trainers, and the athlete to identify the issue as overtraining. It could be a sense of loss of muscular strength, coordination, and exercise capacity, and in some cases generally feels like fatigue. Other big signs of the overtraining syndrome are: a change in appetite, body weight loss, sleep issues, changes in mood such as irritability, restlessness, or anxiousness, a loss of motivation or concentration, possible feelings of depression, and a lack of appreciation for things that you would normally enjoy.

The causes of overtraining syndrome can often be a complex combination of emotional and physiological issues. It could be unrealistic goals, emotional demands of a competition, the fear of failure, and other high expectations can be a source of emotional stress. Because of this over training can typically be accompanied by a loss of competitive desire and a loss of enthusiasm for your workouts.

DSC00421It is important when you’re working with a coach or a trainer to have open communication with them. If you feel you are starting to over train it’s important to sit down and have a discussion. Ways to recover from the overtraining syndrome could include a reduction in training intensity, getting a massage or taking a complete rest for a period of time. Don’t forget, even the best athletes require rest from their training. Recovery can be just as important as your workouts.

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Muscle and Energy Recovery

Energy and muscle recovery  are a critical objectives for athletes training on a regular basis. The choice of nutrition and timing in the immediate post-workout period can make a critical impact. Although muscle adaptations are the result of the cumulative effects of repeated exercise, the initial responses that lead to these changes occur during and after each and every training session. Recovery periods are key opportunities to influence training outcomes. An example would be, during the first few hours of recovery, many exercise related genes are activated, which may be linked to the repletion of muscle energy stores (i.e. glycogen). If you ignore the carbohydrate needs after training, you potentially diminish training gains. It has also  been shown that ingesting protein with carbohydrates immediately after endurance exercises may reduce muscle soreness. The ability to sustain high level performance day after day is limited to how well glycogen stores are replenished and muscle tissue is repaired.

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The key to maximizing recovery is to consume high-glycemic carbohydrates and proteins in a 4:1 ratio within 30-45 minutes after exercise.

Timing is an essential part as there is a narrow of time where muscle cells are insulin receptive after exercise. Insulin is responsible for transporting glucose and amino acids into cells and initiating glycogen and protein synthesis.