Are You Doing Too Much? – An Introduction and Analysis of Overtraining

Guest Post

Overtraining is a subject surrounded by quite a lot of controversy and equal amounts of misunderstanding. Beliefs here when it comes to overtraining completely vary and while some people say that it's a serious threat very much needs to be carefully managed while other people claim that it's not really a problem at all and even that it doesn't exist. So what's the real scoop?

Is Overtraining Real?

This is a question with no straight forward answer because it really depends on what you mean by overtraining. Certainly this is not a medically classified disease and you aren't going to get diagnosed with it at the doctor. However that said, there are certain physiological changes in the body which occur when you workout and which make you more prone to illness or injury and of this there is no doubt.

Changes that Occur When You're Training

The problem is that when you workout you are placing a strain on your body. First and foremost you are creating lots of tiny microtears in your muscle which is the intention of training if you are aiming to grow larger. This then needs to be repaired by the body and it is in repairing those tears that The muscles come back stronger than ever – think of it like scar tissue.However, while this is certainly a good thing, it does also mean that you are essentially constantly recovering from a wound and constantly having to repair your damaged tissue. This then makes it similar to having a huge cut or twisted ankle and it basically keeps your immune system busy meaning that it isn't going to be as effective at doing other things – like preventing you from getting a cold. It also means you are going to be tired from the energy used up.

And you will also use up energy in other ways as well. Specifically you wil be using up huge amounts of blood sugar for the actual movements themselves and this is what will cause the body to start burning fat. While this is again all good and what you want, it also means that your body is running at a deficit and that you don't have all the energy available that you need to do other things so you are likely to be slow and lethargic and again less able to cope with stress. And of course the more you workout, the more both these effects will become pronounced and the more prone to illness you will be.

Avoiding Problems

So if you find yourself constantly getting colds, and struggling to pull yourself out of bed, even feeling somewhat depressed – then this may be a result of too much training. Whether or not you opt to call it overtraining is up to you. To avoid the problem though is simply a matter of making sure that you get enough rest and sleep proportionate to the exercise you do. Make sure you eat enough protein and that you get enough rest to allow your body to use it, and make sure that crucially you listen to your body and react to what it tells you.


Pauly Singh is a fitness trainer and has seen cases of over training. If you are a fitness fanatic, you would love his website where he writes reviews for new and old elliptical trainers.