Like an idiot - I overtrained!
Very sore biceps, triceps and knee tendons
Lost my appetite completely
Training intensity had dropped
Strength training hit a plateau
Lethargic in work with difficulty concentrating
Didn’t want to be around anybody
I am a very sociable bodybuilder who is 100% clean, this was not like me at all - and what did I do? I suffered in silence! BIG MISTAKE!
Eventually, I swallowed my pride!
Dr Daniel Reardon (Emergency doctor with a specialist interest in fitness/nutrition) is a frequent visitor to the sports nutrition outlet I work at (Tropicana Health & Fitness). Dan had visited on the Saturday, and followed up the visit with a text message on Sunday asking if I was okay as I didn’t seem myself.
I said everything was fine, but this was feeble and transparent, Dan arranged for me to come and see him that week.
In a nutshell - I had “overtrained”!
It may begin with extra fatigue after exercise, and as high volume and intensity continues, performance begins to decline and this is often the first sign of the condition. Once you are “overtrained”, even a short period of rest will not satisfy your recovery.
Overtraining can cause mental exhaustion, depression, muscle fatigue and soreness, changes in several hormones, mood swings and loss of appetite and other digestive problems. I was text book for the condition! What an idiot, I am supposed to be an expert and yet I totally missed the warning signs. I guess I am not a superhuman after all!
So what did I do next?
Dr Dan wrote me a prescription:
So I followed this expert advice and I took 2 weeks off training, which turned into an ordeal in itself. I found my thoughts were dominated by training and nutrition, and had a constant feeling that I was going out of shape.
I couldn’t find a way to mentally unwind from the routine of training, and whilst my nutrition improved in this period, I did feel constantly on edge and restless. In fact, on my first night off, I took the dog for a walk at midnight as I was in such a state.
Mine and Dan’s concern was that I might have an exercise dependency (ED) problem. Primary ED is a condition in which you are addicted to the “buzz/pump” of exercise, secondary ED is a compulsion to control and change your body shape, and can often be associated with an eating disorder. I am going to address this in a future article!
As for now...
I am back training, and I feel a million times better. Overtraining - Lesson well and truly learned!
If you have any questions you would like to ask me, join my group and ask away!
And why not check out my previous article about breakfast:
Personal Trainer and Fitness Athlete
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