Fear of Overtraining

07May14

Today a post from Stadion’s Discussion Forum with questions on overtraining and recovery from injuries, followed by my answers. First the whole post:

I am a taekwondo’er, been away for some months (bad ankle sprain that had me undergo surgery, which has taken months to recover) . . . anyways enough of my sorry story, lol. I am looking to get back into training. I have been given an all clear for weight training, swimming, cycling, and light running. I have been told to be cautious of any activity that would put a strain on the ankle joint (jumping, sprinting, etc). This post I guess is more of “prevention is better than cure.”

Given that I have been off training for almost 4 months, my fitness is zilch and I need to work on rebuilding. This includes my flexibility (whatever basic levels I had), strength, and endurance/stamina. I also have an aggressive deadline of mid-March (TKD commitments!), and my biggest worry is I might end up overtraining. Given that I need to improve every aspect of physical fitness, I have been unable to find a particular type of exercise I can perform that will help me get there. The questions I therefore have are:

1. Flexibility Express—recently received as an Xmas present—can I follow it solely to achieve my goals?

2. Are there any other exercises that would complement the above that I can do without killing myself?

3. Is there a program anyone might be willing to share that I can use to aid in my goals?

The kind of training I have in mind will involve training twice a day, 6 days a week. Deep down inside I know this is not the most sensible approach.

An unrelated (or perhaps not) question!

I seem to take very long to recover from injuries. My ankle for instance has taken a year and a surgery and is still not there. I had an adductor injury (practicing kicks) that took almost 16 weeks. Is this my genes or am I doing something wrong here? Apologies for the very open-ended question.

Any advice, suggestions, comments will be greatly appreciated. I haven’t had anyone (in my network) provide advice that would help, and I come here feeling I might finally be able to get some help.

My answers to each question:

Question:
Given that I need to improve every aspect of physical fitness, I have been unable to find a particular type of exercise I can perform that will help me get there. The questions I therefore have are:

1. Can I follow [Flexibility Express] solely to achieve my goals?

Answer:
No. Flexibility Express is for developing strength and flexibility, but not for endurance.

Question:
2. Are there any other exercises that would complement the above that I can do without killing myself?

Answer:
Yes. Those mentioned by you already:
Swimming (for endurance, mainly breath control and lung capacity)
Running (for endurance, with a greater effect on the muscular endurance of legs than swimming)
Cycling (allows much greater intensity of effort than running without overstressing your ankle)

Question:
3. Is there a program anyone might be willing to share that I can use to aid in my goals?

Answer:
Other people’s programs may or may not fit you, so if they share theirs with you, you will have to customize those programs (see my answer below on avoiding overtraining).

Question:
My biggest worry is I might end up overtraining.

Answer:
To avoid overtraining, monitor yourself for early signs of excessive fatigue, such as poor sleep (waking up at night, waking up tired), lack of enthusiasm for exercising, being irritable, and excessive reaction to sudden stimuli (being jumpy). For more of those signs, see Science of Sports Training.

Question:
I seem to take very long to recover from injuries. My ankle for instance has taken a year and a surgery and is still not there. I had an adductor injury (practicing kicks) that took almost 16 weeks. Is this my genes or am I doing something wrong here?

Answer:
Long recovery may be caused by any or all of the following:

Rehab—poor choice of rehab exercises, excessive intensity of those exercises, wrong frequency of doing the exercises. This may result in disrupting the healing of tissues and preventing their maturation, plus inflammation.

Training—excessive intensity and volume of exercises (too intense and/or too much), so you end up with too much inflammation and excess acidity in your body.

Nutrition—wrong foods that do not supply enough macronutrients (fat, protein, carbs) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to rebuild your damaged tissues and/or that are pro-inflammatory and acidifying. From my own experience, I learned that getting rid of pro-inflammatory foods has a better effect than increasing the intake of anti-inflammatory foods or supplements. For example, my shoulder was chronically inflamed for a long time—even though I ate many good things (such as avocados, olives, wild salmon) and took turmeric supplements—until I completely eliminated any grains (other than rice) from my diet. I used to have one or two slices of bread per day (and very little other grain products), and my shoulder was getting worse rather than better. Then my rehab specialist suggested I stop eating the bread and any grains, and the shoulder got better within days.

Science of Sports Training, 2nd edition, by Thomas Kurz

Flexibility Express DVD by Thomas Kurz

The Unbreakable® Umbrella — A peculiar mix of genteel elegance and chilling weaponry...

About these ads


One Response to “Fear of Overtraining”

  1. Hi Coach.
    I just posted a review of latest research on montioring overtraining here: http://www.excelsiorgroup.co.uk/blog/monitoring-overtraining-4-hs There really hasn’t been much new useful research in the last 10 years. It comes down to knowing your athletes or your own body. Correct planning helps prevent it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 53 other followers

%d bloggers like this: