What is overtraining? And How to Avoid it?

There is often talk and warnings about overtraining, but very few will or have ever experienced it. Sometimes I feel like it’s being used as an excuse not to train hard because it only affects the really hard training people.

Many jump out of a program for fear of overtraining and take a step backward (in terms of fitness). Instead of sticking to a training program and sticking to it, many stop after a few weeks. But there are other reasons; such as poor results and expectations that are too high due to the program’s sloppy implementation.

But now, back to the actual topic …

How much training can you handle?

That depends primarily on your training level. For example, a beginner cannot train 2 hours a day. Still, there advance bodybuilders/fitness fanatics who can easily train daily due to adequate nutrition and a lot of sleep; and thus, they can regenerate very quickly.

Beginners shouldn’t exceed three days a week. I relate these statements to strength training with weights and not endurance training (cardio). As long as the cardio is not overdone; you can safely add a few sessions to conventional training.

Advanced users can go to fitness up to 4 times a week, as the body has already got used to the training intervals and can cope with more work. “Professionals” can also train up to 5 times a week without any problems.

A 5-day program is, of course, designed differently than a three-day program. Heavier loads and more advanced techniques are often used, but there are no problems with proper nutrition and good deep sleep.

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How old are you?

The regeneration phase varies according to age, i.e., younger people recover faster from hard training than older people. Unfortunately, with increasing age, the regeneration time decreases, and it takes longer to feel fit again.

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What are the symptoms of overtraining?

The most well-known symptoms are decreased desire or weight loss, lack of motivation, insomnia (falling asleep, staying asleep), persistent muscle fatigue or sore muscles, and reduced strength/energy levels.

If you experience such symptoms, the best thing to do is take a few days off to see if the symptoms subside. Most of the time that’s already done.

I take a week off every three months, whether I need it or not. Better to take too many breaks than too little.

If you start a new program and recognize symptoms after a short time, I would take a closer look at the schedule and possibly increase the days off or change the program, as you are probably not physically ready for it.

How to Avoid Overtraining?

To avoid overtraining, you should either increase the intensity or the duration, never both together. Sufficient sleep (at least 7 hours) and enough calories are also necessary.

How to Avoid Overtraining
How to Avoid Overtraining

I would also change the training routine a bit every 3-4 weeks, because

1. you won’t get bored by the variety and neither will your body -> no new muscle stimulation

2. so you don’t have to do an infinite number of repetitions of the same exercise, because you’ve got used to it

Train smart

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