How can I Recover from Overtraining
As discussed in a previous article, overtraining is one of the problems of this day and era.
Back in the past, where women aspired to looked toned, but feminine and fertile, exercising was seen more like a social event. But today, the ideal body is made of ripped muscles, nonexistent fat percentage, and very visible veins, which can only be obtained with perseverance, restriction, commitment, and loads of hard work.
This new obsession towards a “fit” body, can lead to a myriad of issues, and overtraining is one of them.
Overtraining can lead to the loss of menstrual cycle, impaired fertility, sleep disturbances weight management issues, depletion, and exhaustion. But there are other factors to consider, such as:
Lack of libido
Overtraining can affect the male and the female in many different ways. An overtrained male may suffer from low testosterone level, general tiredness and poor sperm quality (this vary a lot depending on the age of the person, the quality and the intensity of the exercise regime). Whereas an overtrained woman can end up with lower than normal estrogen and progesterone levels, which can cause a lack of libido and the loss of the menstrual cycle. Not an ideal picture for couples that want to get pregnant.
Exercise can modify the gut microbiome in the most beautiful way; overtraining though, can cause bloating and constipation. Going to the loo is necessary to eliminate harmful metabolites that are created in the detoxification process, and when they are not expelled they end up being reabsorbed by the body, leading to a toxic build-up.
We are usually the last one to realise how irritable we have been, which is why it’s important to ask the people around us for what they think about our behavior.
I remember telling my husband that I needed to exercise every morning at 5 am to feel alive and to have enough energy for the rest of the day. The truth is that after the exercise session, I was so irritable I needed to avoid human interactions to keep my cool. Red flag anyone?
The bottom line, if you think that you are exercising too much, and that is affecting your personality and life, there are a few things that you can do to slow down and embrace the sweet art of gentle movement.
WHY, WHY, WHY
First of all, if you want to go anywhere, you need to define your whys.
Why do you want to recover?
Maybe you are tired of being sick and tired, or you may want to have a baby, or you simply would like to free up a couple of hours a day to simply sleep in and read a book. Whatever your answer is, write it down, and journal on it if possible.
After you define your why (s), give yourself a timeline that can help you set and achieve your goals. After that, it’s all about the systems that you put in place.
What can you do EVERY SINGLE DAY to get to where you want to be?
How can you decrease the amount of exercise that you do without having to deal with the withdrawal? Can you sign up for a course that doesn’t involve movement? Can you embrace meditation? Can you write a list of all the books you want to read and finish this year?
Find what works for you, write it down, repeat it as a mantra, and journal on it. Over, and over, and over.
REST AND SLEEP
It is practically impossible to recover from the symptoms of overtraining without prioritising rest and sleep.
I used to love exercising at 5 am, and I knew I had to break up that habit If I genuinely wanted to recover. I stopped putting my alarm clock, and I started asking my body the night before to wake me up at 5 am, only if it wanted to exercise. I slept in for two weeks. Never felt better.
Also, stop bringing your gym bag around and stop wearing your gym shoes and your fitness trackers. Wake up and read, walk to work if that’s an option, catch up with friends and colleagues over lunch, stretch at night before going to sleep, and allow your body to heal and recover. You may need two weeks or one year, but I promise you that it will be worth it in the end.
HYDRATION and NOURISHMENT anyone?
To support the healing of the tissues, to recover post-training, and to build muscles, you need to learn to eat and think like an athlete. Intermittent fasting has gained popularity and an incredible reputation, which is why more and more people exercise on an empty stomach, and they don’t fuel their bodies after training. This issue by itself can open a Pandora’s box that leads to injuries, exhaustion, unhappiness, bad breath, gut issues, mood swings, poor sleep, and so on.
Feed yourself before and after training, and drink as much filtered water as you can through the day to give your body a chance to grow and thrive, instead of suffering and cry (oh wow, I rhymed!)
Recovery is all about creativity.
Do you find it too hard to let go of the daily running session? Wear flip flops (thongs) instead of gym shoes, and I promise you that after the first blistered days, you will be more than happy to embrace slow walking.
Do you normally attend the 4 pm gym session? Eat a big meal before the class, and be obliged to skip it to avoid extreme cramping.
CHANGE THE CONVERSATION
Think strong and flexible instead of fit and skinny. Aim to improve your body and health instead of preventing it.
If you are reading this article, it means that training has been causing too many issues in your life, and you are ready to move on and experiment with something you.
To succeed, you need to define your whys and believe in them.