Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Quick Word on Overtraining

Sorry for the lack of updates. The husband and I have been busy trying to find a new apartment, since our lease is up next month and we're moving to a new city. We've been taking the 1+ hour trip up to the city, staying in a hotel for a few days while we look at places, and then going back home. I've had to go about 3-4 days a week without training, which was probably a blessing in disguise. I had been exhibiting slight symptoms of overtraining, and after taking it easy for a few weeks but still eating well, I noticed a slight decrease in fat composition (I measured that by seeing how my abs and quads became more prominent without me flexing) as well as better performance when I went back into my workout (although I attribute the decrease in fat to mainly to my eating habits). Even if you're not a professional athlete, anyone can overtrain themselves if they're doing workouts (especially HIIT) everyday and pushing themselves to the max without adequate sleep, rest, and/or nutrition. Your body needs time to recover. Overtraining is almost as bad as not doing any exercise at all. My main concern with overtraining is disruption of the testosterone to cortisol ratio (decrease in testosterone and increase in cortisol), leading to decreased lean muscle mass and increased fat deposits - the opposite of what I want! A few other symptoms of overtraining include not being able to complete workouts with the same intensity as you used to be able to do, chronic fatigue, sleeplessness, and getting sick more often, among many others.

Lately I've augmented my workout schedule to complement life's current events, and from what I can tell it has been beneficial. I have 2-3 days a week where I'm not doing HIIT, but I'm still active - we're walking around the city, taking a break here and there to grab food. Bouts of low-intensity aerobic exercise coupled with high intensity workouts complement each other perfectly. Even though we've had to eat out a lot more often than usual, I've still been able to eat healthy by choosing protein dishes for my meals. I've made a more conscious effort to eat paleo / primal, which I'll discuss in a future blog update. Paleo isn't a fad diet to lose weight, but it's a way of eating for optimal health and fitness performance. 

Basically what I've learned from the past few weeks is don't overtrain! Make sure you get enough food (healthy, nutritious and unprocessed food), enough sleep, and enough downtime. It takes some time and some trial and error to find that line between eating too much / being too sedentary, and overdoing it. 

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