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Overtraining- we have lost the plot.


This term gets thrown around pretty often amongst training circles...that's as far as it goes. Thrown and forgotten, either because they do not understand what it is, or it might ruin their popularity. I feel the trend of social media platforms have infected people today. Just like a zombie from the walking dead chewing on your ankles...society today is well infected and turning into zombies. Like the social media platforms the more you post the more you get noticed, and potentially more popular...winning. Sorry to burst your bubble sunshine but you can not apply that to your training. The body is not fueled by likes and followers, you are more likely to have your body unfollow you for your stupidity. Now I have been around the training scene for a long time, from being a competitor to now a coach. We trained, and we trained very hard, more hard than smart yet we still never matched the volume of training some people are doing today. Now the crazy part is, why all that training?? what for? so many damn questions to be answered but sometimes I feel like I don't really want to know because it's most likely going to be bullshit.

Now when I refer to overtraining I am simply talking about over taxing your body, inadequate work to rest ratio. In the science or more sport science world, in literature the term overtraining is generally referred to prolonged fatigue leading to other immune system dysfunctions. I guess over taxing will lead to this, but for now let’s just focus on why are we getting caught up with training for hours and hours each day. Then we get injured through overuse... Now I am not one to shy away from injury or ignore it in regards to training and sport. If you want to be the best at whatever it is you training for, you have to be prepared to get injured at some point when you are pushing yourself to the limit day in day out. Some of you might think I am crazy for saying it’s ok to get injured. All I am saying is be prepared to get injured so when it happens you don't break down into an uncontrollable mess.

So as mentioned I have been around for a while now within the training scene from different gyms and organisations and I love how we have become such an "active generation". Now there is a bit of sarcasm there in relations to the "active" part, is it more so for social media and acceptance in society because its popular?. I have seen people come into gyms do jack shit and then later on I see on their social media posts "second training for the day", then there are people who actually train two to three times a day because they want to be beats or boss bitches. I feel training to some people is like an obsession, in all honesty I would rather people be obsessed with training than the other bullshit out there, could be a lot worse things to be obsessed with, so I guess its's a small win. There is a limit though even if the obsession is with training, too much of anything is never good for you. Is the obsession driven by image? People will know I am "active" and feel I am an "inspiration" to them, or is it the feel good hormones from training? I am really interested to know what it is.... Sorry to be so blunt but even if you feel it's your time, or way out to escape from the pressures of society, your job or whatever it may be... then you doing it wrong if you training more than you are resting. You may ask why? Well sooner or later you will crash and burn, that will only set you back further. Did you ever stop for a moment and think about it and when this does happen how much further behind you will be? Then you can't train and you start having all sorts of issues because now apparently life is against you. NO YOU ARE AGAINST YOU. I guess you to caught up in the moment of being "active" and showing the social media world how active you are, and how much you train because you a beast.

Now I am not completely eliminating athletes from this as there are some and in my experience feel they have to stay on top of their game now that they have made it....so they want to go "beast mode".. The hard work over the years have got them there and the fear of being "cut" is driving them insane. Well sunshine again if what you have done separated you from the rest and got you in, is that not a sign to tell you it worked? Now why don't you just work on the same things and make them even better, not add more training. You do get athletes across different disciplines that will require them to train a few times a day based on their sport. Multi discipline sport like ironman and mixed martial arts will require athletes to carry out more than one training a day. However if they have a smart coach it will be well regulated and monitored to ensure there is no "burn out". Now the not so elite athletes or wanna be athletes try and mimic this, the smart ones will general get in contact with a coach, but whether they listen is another story (that's another post).

So there are a lot of people that will be offended by this and in disagreement of everything I have just said, and that's totally fine by me. But if you training more than once a day please have purpose and intentions for what you are doing don't just go 100% mad on everything and be this sweaty mess for absolute no reason...... well maybe you do like the crash and burn feeling 5 weeks down the line. If you are tired take a day off, if you miss a lift, failed to run a good time, and training is not going to plan, its totally fine to take a day off, it is not the end of the world. Assess what has happened and continue from there. I am not saying be a weak little shit and at every little struggle walk away and be ok with not getting your goals. I am saying that if you have truly given it your all (trained smart, not stupid) and can tick off the last two weeks of work and it was done to the best of your abilities with 100% PURPOSE and INTENTIONS, then it is ok to have a bad day after 12 good days, it is ok to run a bad run after 10 good runs. Be hard on yourself but know when to.

Image taken from Essentials of strength training and conditioning 4th edition.

So what to take away from this:

  • Have a training plan in place and stick with it, don't do your friends workout.

  • Plan training intensities and work load appropriately, if unsure get a suitable coach to have a look over it.

  • DO NOT use training as an escape as this will lead to an overdose aka over training.

  • Train with PURPOSE and INTENTIONS

  • Do not be fueled by social media.

  • Lastly listen to your body, it’s not a robot where you can just go exchange broken parts. Pay attention to all signs from training; be aware of what is going on.

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