11. July 2013 by swissfitchick
I mentioned in a few posts lately that my last week was a rough one. Does it happen to you that you feel a little off – without even seeing a specific reason? Well it happened to me last week. Obviously, all was good – but it wasn’t. I felt overwhelmed, sad and ugly.
What happened? I fled into my workout madness. Not good. Thinking about it, I might have felt that way because I was in the workout madness ALREADY. Maybe, my mood was caused by OVERTRAINING.
Overtraining is something I am struggling with since a long time and it is one of my hardest habits to break. The difficulty here is, that most of the time I don’t even realize that I am overtraining – until I reach a certain point of feeling sluggish, tired, grumpy and in pain (physically). At this point of time I realize, I did too much – again. I sit down and make a serious plan to cut back on exercise and I stick to it religiously. Until I feel better…… and then I start to sneak in additional minutes to my workouts or additional workouts to my days. This is fine, because I am fit and I can do this – for a certain amount of time. What I forget about it is, that I have a 4 days-a-week-job, 2 apartments, plans with friends, that I cycle everywhere I go (workout!) and I have a relationship. So it’s not that working out is my job. It’s a hobby. Fun. Freetime. Relaxation. Not work.
I had several burn outs already and still fighting with this issue. At least, I manage to stick to 1-2 restdays a week – I really do that. And it feels fabulous. I even took a restweek off workouts back in April this year and it felt fabulous. I am not sure how it happens that I repeat this habit over and over and get to the point of being burnt out again and again. I should know better. It’s not my intention to overtrain. Never. I am just not aware enough on how intense my sessions are. When I write down my workouts in my calendar, I look at it and think:’ Fine.’. Until I start of, and realize, that with the intensity of my workouts I will not be able to fulfill all that I have planned. And then I feel guilty. Even though there is no reason AT ALL to feel guilty, because I KNOW that my body needs this rest.
The ‘problem’ is, that I LOVE to workout. I love how strong and vital I feel when I do my workouts, I am addicted to the HIGH I experience post workout and I get so motivated when I see progress. Working out saved me from getting completely lost and helped me so many times to feel better again and not to lose hope. Since I worked as a flight attendant and still travel a lot, I worked out at countless different places all over the world and each one of these experiences were priceless. When I exercise, I feel invincible, fearless and confident. Which means – when fears and anxieties come up or emotions I don’t know how to handle, I do a workout. Because then I feel myself again and I know that I am strong. This is fine, as long as it stays within a balanced range. 1-2 days of too much exercise won’t kill me and won’t give me a burn out. But weeks of overtraining will do so.
There are different ways I cope with fears or the feeling of loss.
One is binging. Not healthy, not a solution.
Second is working out. That’s ok, as long as it doesn’t turn into addiction and overtraining.
Third is ME time in terms of my favorite ‘activities’: Meditation. Photographing. Writing. Reading. Watching Trash TV (yes, sometimes it really helps!). Talking to friends or Mom. Shopping. Travelling. Coloring my nails.
This is my goal. I want to workout to make me feel GOOD and to reach my goals, but not to fight hard and to get burnt out. I want to rest when rest is needed and I want to face my fears without food or exercise, but with things that are good for my soul.
I did a little research on Wikipedia about overtraining…very interesting.
Like pharmacological drugs, physical exercise may be chemically addictive. One theory is that this addiction is due to natural endorphins and dopamine generated and regulated by the exercise. Whether strictly due to this chemical by-product or not, some people can be said to become addicted to or fixated on psychological/physical effects of physical exercise and fitness. This may lead to overexercise, resulting in the “overtraining” syndrome.
Overtraining may be accompanied by one or more concomitant symptoms:
Persistent muscle soreness
Elevated resting heart rate
Reduced heart rate variability
Increased susceptibility to infections
Increased incidence of injuries
Do you have experience with overtraining?
What is your favorite recovery activitiy?
- Train Your Body to Avoid Overtraining (weare2fit2quit.com)
- FIT: Make Time For Rest (eyeoftheleoness.com)
- Overtraining – how to avoid this and look after your body. (fitnesscenter.co.nz)
- When less is sometimes more (fitbuddyblog.com)