Overtraining Syndrome - What Actually Causes It?
Overtraining syndrome is a very real risk for athletes. It has a variety of symptoms and strike athletes of different ages.
But are there certain sports and activities that pose a greater risk than others? That’s the question I want to answer in this article.
Do you love strength training? Are you into high-intensity interval training? You could be a cardio enthusiast. Maybe you enjoy building a physically-demanding skill set like martial arts or you like being outdoors surfing, cycling, or rock climbing.
No matter what type of training or physical activity you enjoy, we’ve all hit a plateau or experienced a decline in our performance. Is that from overtraining syndrome or something else?
Let’s take a look at some of the most common sports and activities that have been known to cause overtraining syndrome.
We’ll also look at what overtraining is, what causes it, how you can avoid it, and what you can do to heal yourself from it.
What is Overtraining Syndrome?
Overtraining syndrome is a collection of symptoms. It usually is not just one “thing” that happens to you.
It isn’t just “not getting the gains that I want” or “not losing the weight that I want.”
Some people have compared overtraining syndrome to things like chronic fatigue and depression only in that they are characterized by a laundry list of symptoms.
Overtraining symptoms include things like insomnia, fatigue, loss of appetite, and mood swings.
Of course, weight loss, muscle loss, and disinterest in your sport or physical activity are also characterizations of overtraining syndrome.
But what is actually going on inside the body when you have overtraining syndrome?
Here’s what’s going on.
So, when you train and exercise, the whole point is to put stress on your body. You’re actually damaging yourself when you work out--but in a strategic way.
The goal is to make your body recover from the stress and damage so that it develops new and healthy adaptations as a result.
Your muscles get stronger, your heart gets stronger, you use fat stores for energy, and your metabolism becomes faster.
After you workout, your body activates a series of mechanisms to being the healing process. The first of those mechanisms is inflammation.
The tissues that get damaged during training need blood and nutrients in order to heal, which is exactly what inflammation does.
From there, your body will detect that your muscles are inflamed and it begins producing cortisone, which reduces inflammation.
This happens over a period of days and when the process is complete, your muscles and tissues are healed and stronger.
But what happens with overtraining syndrome, is that the inflammation does not go away.
In fact, it begins to spread. It spreads across your entire body.
And it’s this whole-body inflammation that causes all of the overtraining syndrome symptoms that I mentioned earlier.
How Does Overtraining Syndrome Happen?
So, the way that overtraining syndrome can happen is not as simple as just training too much for a few days.
It usually occurs over a period of weeks or months and it is most frequently seen in athletes that on a specific training program for an event. This includes fighters, swimmers, long-distance runners, and endurance athletes.
Let me explain what this sort of program would look like.
So when you have an event coming up, like a big fight or a big race, you will strategically develop a training regimen that prepares you for that event.
The regiment is designed to slowly get your body ready for the event such that you are in peak physical capacity the day or night of the event.
How does this work?
Well, your trainer, if they’re worth their salt, will strategically increase the intensity of your training sessions periodically as you get towards the fight.
If you’re going to run a marathon, you can’t just run a bunch of marathons to prepare. That would destroy your body.
If you’re going to prep for a fight, you can’t just train all out every day like you’re at fight night.
Instead, you train with high, all-out intensity for a period of time. It is designed to shock your body so this kind of training needs to be much, much harder and more intense than what you normally do.
But you can’t maintain this intensity of training. So you back off and have periods of rest and recovery afterward.
Over the course of a year, an athlete might do this 3 or 4 times. So like I said, this isn’t something that you do regularly. Maybe once every few months.
This style of training results, hopefully, in something called “supercompensation.”
Supercompensation is exactly what it sounds like: it allows you to achieve better and greater results than you would if you were training normally.
And if you can time it right, which is what these high-end trainers are supposed to be able to do, you can have this peak of performance right at the moment of your competition.
However, what can sometimes happen, is that you push yourself too far or you don’t give yourself enough time to recover.
This is a very real danger for elite athletes. If their programming is not 100% dialed in, they can enter a state of overtraining.
Like I mentioned above, overtraining is when all that inflammation that your body creates after a workout becomes spread out to your entire body.
So if you’re pushing yourself to your absolute max and creating all this stress in your tissues, but you don’t allow yourself time to heal: it is possible to get overtraining syndrome.
Which Activities Cause Overtraining Syndrome?
But are there activities that are more prone to overtraining?
Well, it is likely the case that almost all sports activities and style of training can result in overtraining.
However, it appears to be very common in a couple different sports.
Long distance running is one of them. Some estimates say that 60 percent of long-distance runners will suffer from overtraining at some point.
This is usually because of something similar to what I described above. A marathon runner does not just run marathons all the time to prepare. Instead, they create a training plan that includes strategic overreaching.
This allows them to create the adaptations that they’ll need to be successful. However, if they do not plan appropriately, they can easily enter a state of overtraining.
This is also true for swimmers. Estimates say that 37 percent of elite swimmers will become overtraining each season. In fact, overtraining is one of the most common problems that swimmers face.
In this case, I think that these swimmers simply do not get enough time to rest between their meets and their training.
How Can You Avoid and Heal from Overtraining Syndrome?
So what can you do to avoid overtraining while also pushing yourself to your limit?
The key is rest. For most average gym goers, the problem that they will face is not overtraining, but under recovering.
If you’re not sleeping enough, staying out late, and making poor nutritional choices (like heavy drinking), then you may just be seeing the results you want.
In these cases, getting more sleep and making smarter nutritional choices can often help you get where you want to be.
However, I’ve developed a powerful and strategically designed product that helps athletes recover and protects them from overtraining.
It’s called Overtraining Solution.
I’ve included some of the absolute more potent and proven ingredients inside that are targeted to your recovery periods.
This includes a clinical dose of peptides, which are short protein chains that your body can quickly use to heal itself.
I also include Imulina, which is an immune system booster derived from spirulina.
This could be the most bioactive and useful supplement that I make and it’s one that I take every single day.
The best way to use Overtraining Solution is to take it on days when you go hard, when you go heavy, and when you go long.
When you shock your body like that, you’ll need extra help in recovering and Overtraining Solution is designed to do exactly that.
Click here to learn more about Overtraining Solution and how you can include it in your regiment.