Challenging yourself in fitness training is good. But overdoing training is counterproductive to realizing your fitness goals, says Butler University’s Adrian Shepard, assistant director of recreation overseeing fitness. Over-training, also called over-exercising, he said, happens when you’re “not allowing your body the opportunity to adjust, adapt and recuperate in response to the training regimen you’re taking part in.”
Shepard says, besides sore muscles, there are other clear signs that a person is over-training.
Decrease in performance.
Increase in a person’s resting heart rate and blood pressure.
Increased muscle fatigue, disturbed sleep patterns and gastro-intestinal disturbances.
Depression, irritability, apathy, and low self-esteem.
Fitness center staffers concerned that a client might be over-training should approach the issue tactfully, if they want to direct the client to a healthier approach, Shepard said. “Befriend them. Get to know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Find out what they are training for? Do they realize that what they’re doing is harmful to their bodies?” By understanding the root of the over-training, the fitness professional can then provide helpful guidance and resources to the client.
Shepard suggests three steps to avoid over-training from day one:
1. Gradually work your way into exercise, especially if you are a beginner, are recovering from an injury, or have been physically inactive for some time.
2. Ask staff of your fitness center to take you through equipment and facility orientations. You’ll learn what equipment is available, how it works and what to use for desired results.
3. If your fitness facility offers them, schedule a fitness assessment to determine your current physical health status and fitness level. This will be your baseline measurement for evaluating future progress. The assessment also identifies any potential health and injury risks in training, and helps in developing your personalized exercise program and goals.