Do you ever get the feeling you are physically burnt out, or stuck in a rut at the gym? Overtraining occurs when there’s a lack of balance between intense physical exertion and recovery time, and can lead to fatigue, moodiness, muscle soreness, and decreased performance, among other symptoms.
So before all of your hard work has a chance to backfire on you, stay strong by following these five ways to prevent overtraining in the gym.
Signs of Overtraining Weight Loss
It’s good to challenge yourself, but putting too much demand on your body can be costly. The principal of the ten-percent rule is to not increase a workout activity by more than ten percent each week. This applies to repetitions, sets, and weights.
The chest press machine is one of the best chest exercises equipment for building upper body strength. Bench-pressing 180 pounds for 10 repetitions? Don’t go past 11 reps next week, and don’t exceed 198 pounds if you opt for fewer reps.
There’s no better feeling than watching your efforts pay off in the gym, but the 10% rule can help prevent overtraining by making you more aware of just how quickly you are upping the ante.
It sounds like a contradiction, but active recovery may actually speed recovery time and prevent overtraining. Active recovery means engaging in low intensity exercise immediately following and in between your workouts.
You want to give the muscles just enough work to stay loose, stimulate blood flow, and flush out lactic acid. Keep active recovery specific to the muscles that you worked.
A light workout on the elliptical machine can help you recover from an intense leg workout. For upper- body muscles, try dynamic stretches or high-rep exercises using little or no weight.
Keep a Log
Did I do 10 reps last week or 12? Eliminate the guessing game with a training log. Track how much weight you use one workout to the next (keeping in mind the ten-percent rule), and monitor overall time spent on each workout.
In general, keep workouts under an hour (assuming you spend most of that time actually working out and not downloading cell phone apps).
Don’t work the same muscle group on consecutive days, and even less often if your set counts are high. Miss a workout? Don’t sweat it. Your muscles only grow at rest, so consider the break a part of your training.
Watch Your Diet
Any athlete or gym rat knows that a good diet is critical to success. Your diet can also help prevent overtraining by refueling your body with essential recovery ingredients. Carbohydrates following a workout and in the days after will provide a steady supply of energy and ward off fatigue.
Squats don’t mean squat without protein, so try to consume at least 15-20 grams with every meal to ensure a steady supply of muscle-building amino acids. Finally, drink plenty of water. A few more trips to the bathroom is a small price to pay for avoiding dehydration. Just a 2% water deficit can decrease your strength by 15%.
Enjoy Some Time Of
If you want your muscles to grow after lifting hard, then consider resting easy. Feeling sluggish, fatigued, or sore for a prolonged period of time means it’s time to take a few days off. Stay ahead of the game by scheduling 2-4 days of complete rest from lifting each week, depending on your training split.
In addition, a couple of consecutive days off every few weeks or so can do wonders to help your muscles recover and prevent overtraining bodybuilding.
Enjoy a few well-deserved naps, and incorporate a few relaxing activities into your time off. Your body and mind will thank you.
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