I see it all the time. People set high goals for themselves at the beginning of the year and like a shooting star, they start off with a flourish and then fade away. Often, it can be due to overtraining. In their enthusiasm, people do too much at once, hitting the gym too often, dieting too hard and basically overdoing it. That leads to overtraining, sickness, injuries, lack of enthusiasm and eventually quitting. Here are some ways you can avoid being a shooting star, by pacing yourself and avoiding the dreaded burn out.
1) Get Adequate Rest
This means that you need to get a full night’s sleep every single night. There’s so much to do these days that often we end up staying up late and getting up early. Before you know it you are not getting adequate sleep. Your body recovers while it is resting, so it is vital that you get a good night’s sleep on a consistent basis. Set a bedtime for yourself and stick to it, getting your body used to falling asleep at an early time each night. If you need to, implement some techniques that will help you fall asleep. You can do relaxation exercises for your mind and body before going to bed, drink teas that help you sleep like chamomile, listen to relaxing music, or use some lavender scented oils or candles.
2) Use A Journal
Writing down how you are feeling throughout the program will help you be aware of any symptoms that appear. If you are constantly writing in your journal that you feel tired or you feel as though a cold is coming on, you will recognize these things as signs you are over trained. Many times we simply ignore the symptoms until they lead to devastating results such as a serious injury or negative changes in physique and performance.Be honest with yourself and be aware!
3) Monitor your Resting Heart Rate
The best time to check your resting heart rate is first thing in the morning before you even get out of bed. The first time you take it, the number is not that significant because we all have slightly different resting heart rates. It is the following heart rate checks that will let you know if something is wrong. If your resting heart rate raises significantly it is a sure sign that you are overtraining and need to ease up a little bit.
4) Plan your Workout Days Carefully
Try to space out your weight training and cardio sessions to give your body time to recover.Never do weights more than two days in a row without resting, and always have at least one day per week totally off from working out and doing cardio.
5) Drink tons of water! (8 glasses +)
Not only a great way to burn fat, improve your skin, and keep energized, water is necessary for all of your bodies functions, including recovering from workouts. It is important to drink as much as possible, especially when you are training hard, sweating a great deal, or training in the hot weather. Set a goal and keep track of how much you drink in a day to make sure that you are getting enough.
6) Take a strong anti-oxidant and other Supplements
Toxins are created in our bodies as a by-product from working out. Taking antioxidants such as vitamin c, alpha lipoic acid, grape seed, or grapefruit seed extract will help combat these unwanted toxins. Taking a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement will help your body stay healthy and functioning properly.Other supplements such as glutamine can be taken regularly after workouts and at night before bed to help the body recovery from the vigor of training.
7) Recovery Aids
Anything that helps you relax and stimulates circulation will help your body recover. If you have access to a hot tub, steam room or sauna, use them at every opportunity. If you don’t have access to any of these facilities, simply soaking in a bath with Epsom salts or other rejuvenating oils, salts etc will be helpful.Another great recovery technique is the “hot/cold” shower. Although not always the most fun, it’s a great way to boost your circulation and you body’s recovery powers. After a few minutes of hot shower water, turn it to cold (as cold as you can stand) for a few minutes, return to hot and repeat.It is extremely invigorating! Another great treatment for hard working muscles is massage. While professional massages will provide you with the most effective results, even an amateur massage helps circulation and helps stimulate recovery.
You know your body better than anyone else, so watch for signs and symptoms of overtraining.If your body is telling you it’s time to ease up a little, you better listen or it will use harsher means of telling you in the form of sickness and injury.Be aware how your body is feeling throughout your training so that you can continue to make improvements without any setbacks!