Are you getting ready for military bootcamp? Navy Seal Buds Training? Or an endurance event like the Marine Marathon or Ironman event? Or are you simply trying to stay in shape so when you strap on that Kevlar vest you know you’re ready for anything that comes your way?
In any case, guys that try too hard, too fast with their personal sports training programs can end up tired, fatigued, burnt out, and actually have trouble concentrating when it matters the most.
These are just some of the signs that you might be overtraining.
Too Hard and Too Fast: Overtraining Alert
I know, it sounds crazy that doing the very same workouts to build up your muscles and endurance can actually end up hurting you…if you’ve developed bad training habits or fall victim to trying to “one-up” the maybe younger competition to protect your ego and pride.
Don’t worry, none of us is immune to this.
But, all of us can learn to do it better so we can do it longer. I’m talking about staying in peak physical shape for the long haul, remaining injury free, and continuing to be a valuable member of your team.
What are the Signs of Overtraining?
Most of the time, guys who are training for endurance end up overtraining.
And, if you’re in an elite military unit such as the Navy Seals or Rangers, you risk overtraining because you really get no off season like an elite athlete does. You don’t have that luxury, so you’ve got to be aware of the signs of overtraining in your personal sports and military training programs:
- Decreased performance and muscle strength
- You get more colds and other sicknesses
- You feel burnt out
- Lack of motivation
- Feeling depressed
- You get pissed off easily, feel frustrated
- Mood swings
- Your muscles are sore
- Have trouble sleeping
- Always feel tired
- Can’t concentrate
- Decreased ability to make decisions
- You just feel crappy…or don’t “feel” at all
How Can You Avoid Overtraining?
Remember, most of your muscle building happens during rest. And it’s during that rest period that the nutrients flowing around in your system are going to do the most good.
So…make sure they are there!
Beyond your nutritional support, keep track of your personal sports training schedule and the equipment that you’re using. If you’re running on a new type of terrain, like switching from hard packed sand to trail running, you risk both injury and overtraining if you don’t make adjustments.
If your shoes are worn out, or you’re hiking and running in a brand new pair of boots, you risk injury and overtraining if you don’t make adjustments to your training (or get a new pair of running shoes!)
Also, be sure that you include rest days, light training days, and cross training into your overall sports training.
Consistently putting pressure and weight bearing loads on the same parts of your body, such as when you run great distances on the same surface 7 days a week (not recommended), increases risk of overtraining.
How Can I Tell the Difference Between Overtraining and Overworking?
Looking at the list above for signs that you’re over doing it during military training, you’ll notice that some of this stuff happens just when you temporarily push yourself hard. That temporary feeling more accurately reflects overworking which is what you may experience during military bootcamp, during Hell Week, or after a tough sports event.
The key word here is “temporary”
If you’re just overworked, then you will still have the ability to perform as needed, even with higher and tougher workloads. In other words, you can quickly recover.
Another way to monitor overtraining vs. overworking is to check your heart.
A well trained individual has a lower heart rate, even during exertion, right? When you are overtraining, your resting heart rate will be higher than what it normally is. And “normal” is your baseline.
Take your heart rate first thing in the morning, before you get out of bed. Do this over the next week to see any variation. If you’re overtraining, you’ll typically have a rate that’s 10–15 beats higher per minute than your norm.
If that’s the case, cut back and change up your training. And, take a good hard look at your food intake and dietary supplement routine. If you’re putting in what your body really needs, than the output will be much better.
The longer you push yourself, the greater chance of injury and being permanently put on the sidelines. So be smart. You worked hard to get where you are…don’t blow it by ignoring the signs of overtraining!