Knowing the signs of overtraining and how to prevent it

Applying calculated levels of stress alongside programmed frequency will lead to us achieving our goals, but not without adequate rest.
As we all know, our body will change in reaction to the stresses we place on it, adapting to better handle it when repeated.

What is overtraining?
A physiological state caused by an excess accumulation of physiological, psychological, emotional, environmental, and chemical stress that leads to a sustained decrease in physical and mental performance, and that requires a relatively long recovery period. ”

A client may start to show signs of overtraining, causing them to back off from sessions.

So what are some of the signs to look out for?
– Chronic fatigue
– Decrease in performance
– Low levels of enthusiasm
– Reaching a plateau earlier than expected
– Loss of appetite

One symptom that our clients may face from time-to-time, especially during their first few days of training/entering a new phase will be DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). Expected, right? Not so much when this comes in the form of intense bouts!
Now, this isn’t a reason to pull back completely and drop training, it’s just a cue to make minor adjustments to some of the variables within a program.
Training intensity, volume, frequency and duration can all be decreased to account for your clients greater need for rest.

A well-structured training plan, incorporating progressive overload is a solid way to help prevent the symptoms of overtraining. Whether you’re wanting to get stronger, leaner, bigger or even drop fat, without progressive overload it won’t be easy. There’s a rule of thumb which is to only increase weekly training volume by no more than 10 percent, subjective to the individual.

Can I continuously program progressive overload?
In short, yes. But not without ‘deload’ weeks or ‘recovery’ weeks as some may refer to them as.
A deload is such a strong tool to add to your arsenal. Not only does it allow your client to continue training, just at a lower intensity, but it also enables them to recover from their previous training phase. Setting them up perfectly for what’s ahead.

Most importantly, encourage your clients to listen to their body!
We want everyone to achieve their very best, but don’t let that fool you into thinking you can beat the hell out of them during their workouts continuously.