Have you ever heard the expression that ‘you can have too much of a good thing’? If so, then this statement is actually pretty accurate and can be applied to a number of different scenarios in everyday life. Take exercise and physical fitness for example. We all know how incredibly beneficial exercise and regular physical activity is for us, and the great thing about exercise is that there are so many different methods of working out in order to achieve our goals. Some of us train to improve our stamina. Others train to burn fat, whilst others may train to build muscle. In reality we can exercise for a number of different reasons, and in order for us to really reap the benefits, experts recommend we exercise every single week. In the gym however, especially when trying to build muscle, burn fat, or even both, there is such a thing as “too much” exercise, which can result in overtraining.
What is overtraining?
When we exercise, whether we’re keeping fit or trying to build muscle or burn fat, we’re actually damaging and destroying our muscle tissues and fibres. When trying to build muscle, we don’t build muscle in the gym, we destroy muscle in the gym, we build muscle when we rest and recover, providing we get enough rest and enough of the nutrients required. Overtraining is basically when we are simply doing too much exercise, too frequently, and not allowing our bodies enough time to rest and recover. As we can’t properly rest and recover, we can actually lose muscle, become tired, become fatigued, and can gain weight or not make the progress we should. The good news is that overtraining can easily be avoided.
How to avoid overtraining
As mentioned, overtraining can easily be avoided when you know what you’re doing, and for that reason, let’s take a look at a few ways of avoiding overtraining:
Never train the same body parts too frequently – The reason why many bodybuilders tend to follow splits that work one or two muscle groups per session is to allow the muscle group they trained previously to rest and recover. If you train your chest one day for example, training it again the next day and a day or two again will mean that the muscle will become damaged and worn down, and it simply won’t be able to recover properly.
Change your routine now and then – If you’ve been following the same routine or split for a number of months now, give your body a chance to recover by changing your routine and doing something a little different every few weeks.
Get enough sleep – Sleep is a vital part of working out and the entire recovery process and unfortunately not many of us are getting enough. It is when we sleep that our bodies repair and rebuild our muscles, so obviously the more sleep we get, the stronger and bigger our muscles become, and the more energy we have. Make sure you go to bed at the same time each night, and that you are getting at least 7 ½ hours sleep.
Make sure you eat regularly – In order for the body to repair itself, it needs nutrients, including protein and amino acids. That means that you will need to ensure that you’re not overtraining and that your body is properly repairing itself, and in order to do so you will need a selection of healthy foods and drinks at regular intervals.