Overtraining Syndrome

Posted this at the start of 2015 on my Instagram:

“Been feeling pain in neck, shoulder and upper back area for the whole of 2014. Kept training however thinking the pain and symptoms would vanish – Of course they did not. Instead I’ve been getting more and more disabled. Resulting in no chest or shoulder training since before summer -14. Still kept irritating the area through other various exercises, which in the end lead to more severe pain in additional body parts. Now I most certainly have OTS, being “overtrained” and haven’t been to the gym in nearly a month, nor been able to – Which feels terrible, but necessary if I’m to get better. Through only rest and still, of course, healthy eating I’m hoping to SLOWLY start more serious training again… In 2016…”

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Weighing in at approximately 102 kg on photo the photos.

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As of now I haven’t visited the gym or done any amount of training for 5 months… The reason is my overtraining syndrome. Basically overtraining is the result of either too little rest or too much training or both, i.e. an imbalance in training and resting. But there can be so many other factors than just training at the gym that is influencing the diagnosis.

In my case I believe it was just too much intense volume training, I pretty much gave it all at the gym, five-six days a week for about two hours, although the rest was “adequate” (which it wasn’t with this much training, but adequate in the sense if the training intensity and volume would have been at least normal) so was the dietary intake with all its macro- and micro nutrients.

Overtraining is not that common to start with and there are different degrees of overtraining and how it affects you. First there’s something called “overreaching” which most people go through thinking they might be overtrained, but it will generally fade away with adequate rest after a few days or even up to or more than a couple of months, its of course individual – Dependant on your rest/training scheme. Then there’s overtraining syndrome as well as a more severe “burned out” phase which is more common in seasoned/veteran athletes with a high work-load over numerous years.

Sports with greater work-loads and high intensity  generally have higher overtraining prevalence, this means strength training can be up there too, especially with high volume training since it has a high work-load in common with running, cycling, swimming, rowing etc.

In summary… Overtraining is something you’d best stay away from unless you’re a masochist or a self-tormentor enjoying constant pain, I’m not. The difficult part however is knowing you’re getting overtrained or already are. Some people push through initial pain or injuries with sheer fighting spirit and high motivation not taking the time to feel and question their current state. Another negative is that the definitions and measurements aren’t really well established yet, making it hard for anyone knowing for sure whether they are or are not overtrained – It’s, usually, not as simple as going to the doctor and taking a blood test. At least there are a few tests or  questionnaire to look through that might indicate overtraining (or overreaching).

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