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Fresh, Fit and Healthy Fitness  

The Curse of Overtraining

Curse of OvertrainingCatch Up on Your R & R

by Tom Bonanti

As the summer unfolds in steamy South Florida, more and more guys are trying to cool off by stripping down. That means intense, long hours in the gym pumping those pecs and blasting those biceps so that heads turn and jaws drop as you show it off. Because things are usually slower at work and your social calendar is not as cumbersome, summertime gives you the leisure to try out new training routines that will help you achieve the body you crave. In addition you can also pay a little more attention to your diet and catch up on your ďR and RĒ.


While itís great to have the extra time to pour into your workouts, thereís one pitfall you need to avoid at all costs. It is known by its symptoms: chronic muscle soreness and fatigue, loss of muscle mass, psychological staleness Ė and by the time you feel these it may be too late. Itís called overtraining.


Overtraining refers to the training in which the volume (too much weight), the intensity (too much, too often) or both are increased too frequently and without proper progression or rest between sessions. Guys who have no life outside the gym need to get one, because more is not always better. Research shows that training three to four hours per day, five to six days a week, produces no greater benefits than when training is limited to only one to one-and-a-half hours per day.


If you are constantly pounding your muscle groups through repeated training, your body canít produce the chemical substances needed for repair, recovery, and growth. Training like this is like shooting yourself in the foot.


To prevent overtraining, here are some simple guidelines to help you: Train different muscle groups on different days and never train the same muscle group more than twice a week. Intersperse lighter training sessions between heavy duty workout days.


 Fresh Fit and Healthy Progressively increase your weights and donít try to lift all the weight all the time. Get enough complex carbs in your diet for energy and enough high quality protein to aid muscle recovery and growth. Fatigue naturally follows an exhausting workout, so make sure to get enough sleep (8 to 10 hours per night) and allow yourself at least 1 to 2 days off from the gym per week.


Often, along with man-sized training sessions comes man-sized soreness. A certain degree of muscle soreness or pain may be experienced after a workout. Muscle soreness or inflammation may be due to a reduction in blood flow to the muscle and an accumulation of waste by-products like lactic acid. Moving around, light stretching and massage as well as drinking lots of water can take care of this kind of soreness in a jiffy.


Muscle soreness that appears 12 to 48 hours after exercise is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) or post exercise muscle soreness (PEMS). This is why you often leave the gym after a great workout feeling super pumped and a couple of days later feel pooped and sore. The physiological mechanisms that cause DOMS are not completely understood. Stretching between sets and following a workout, as well as rest, hot showers and massage can all alleviate DOMS.


This summer, go for the gusto and make your workouts your best ever. Unleash the animal inside, but donít overdo it big guy, youíll hurt yourself!