For years, I have written about and discussed the fine line between training for Special Ops type programs and over-training. But until recently, I realized I forgot one very important piece of information:
TELL OTHERS AROUND YOU THE SYMPTOMS OF OVER-TRAINING.
Because, you will not notice it until it is too late (typically). Even though, over-training is actually hard to do by just training — it is easy to see symptoms pop up occasionally when your recovery balance is off: Not enough sleep, not eating or hydrating well, and too many crazy workouts in a week are just the things to push any training program into the over-reaching / over-training zone if not attended to.
For your family and friends who you are near often, let them know that you are working out as normal, but if you exhibit the following signs to let you know:
- Personality Changes (Grumpy, Irritable, Moody, Depressed, etc)
- Getting Sick / Injured More Often than Normal — (Decrease Immune Function)
- Lack of Motivation
- Loss of Muscle Mass
- Loss of Sexual Drive
- Muscle / Joint Soreness — Longer than 24 hour post workout soreness. This is 48–72+ hour soreness.
There are many more symptoms and the signs to slow down before you are ACTUALLY over-training do appear from time to time. This does not mean you need to take a week off and go on vacation. But, it does mean, take a day off, go for an easy walk after a healthful dinner, stretch, and get a good night’s sleep. Usually, this is all you need to get back on track. In some cases, you may need more easy days, especially if you are getting sick / injured often.
Personally, for me, I know I am over-training when my hips tighten up and I can not do a deep squat as in the Functional Movement Screening (FMS) without pain, discomfort, and lack of balance. This typically happens during higher mileage in runs / rucks season. So I know to take a 1–2 day break from intense workouts, stretch more, eat better, sleep more, and hydrate.
Now — individually, these do not mean you are over-training, but if you have several of these symptoms for several days / weeks in a row, you MIGHT be over — training. Often having someone who cares about you know that some of these symptoms are just because you need to take a break will also make it easier for them to digest especially if you are being grumpy to your spouse or other family members.
Some related posts on Over training / Over stressing the body:
PS — And yes, my wife gave me the idea for the article.