How do I avoid overtraining?
There are many effective methods that athletes can put in place in order to prevent overtraining and in turn improve their sporting performance. In this blog post, we discuss how to prevent overtraining.
1. Good nutrition and hydration
Your body requires protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates in order to perform optimally. Depending on your body size and sweat rate, you should aim to consume 0.8 – 1 litre of hydration per hour of exercise. Athletes should aim to consume a mixture of water and electrolyte to replace vital minerals lost through sweat.
2. Monitor weekly training hours and intensity levels
More training hours and training at a higher intensity does not necessarily improve performance. Each individual athlete will respond differently to various levels of volume and intensity so it is important to discover what works best for you. It is generally recommended to do 20% of your training at a high intensity level and 80% at a low-medium intensity.
3. Listen to your body and monitor fatigue
It is normal for athletes to experience physical and mental fatigue from time to time, however if you are experiencing fatigue for days at a time it is important to schedule a period of rest and recovery. An effective way to determine your level of fatigue is to measure your resting heart rate when you wake in the morning. If your heart rate is 5 beats over your normal resting heart rate opt for an easy workout. If it is 10 beats or more over your normal level, it is most beneficial to have the day off exercise to recover and avoid entering the next stage of overtraining.
4. Optimal recovery strategies
Sleep is the best way to repair mental and physical stress. Ensure you are getting 7-9 hours sleep per night. If possible, aim to have a 30-minute nap during the day to recharge the brain and body. Aim to consume a meal rich in protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats within 30 minutes of completing a workout. If this is not possible, a nutrition supplement such as a protein shake is a quick and easy option.
5. Use a coach
Use a coach to structure an individual training plan and to monitor your fatigue and performance. A coach is able to understand their athletes and know when an athlete requires a day off due to fatigue. Coaches effectively structure training programs to incorporate rest days and active recovery sessions to achieve optimal recovery.
Overtraining is a serious topic that athletes must take in consideration to avoid burnout and improve their athletic performance. The more often that athletes can train with high levels of motivation and higher levels of power, the more gains in aerobic capacity, strength and fitness will be made. Effective recovery from training often determines an athlete’s level of success in any sport.
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