Don't crash and burn by overtraining before the CanWest Games! The topic of overtraining will hit home with those of you who have aggressive training goals, such as competing at a high level in the sport of the CrossFit. All too often, athletes are training seven days a week because they feel like they're not good enough and need to do more than their competition in order to get better. Rather then fostering a growth mindset, this mental state leads to feelings of depression and a loss of motivation, creating a negative impact on your overall performance.
Overtraining is defined as repeat bouts of intense training, leading athletes to experience a sudden decline in athletic performance and physiological function. Overtraining is different from overreaching - which is to increase an an athletes stimulus beyond the level of adaptation. Overreaching is experienced in a normal overload phase (pushing yourself hard). After this period of overreaching, an athlete can experience a huge boost to athletic performance following with a de-load period (also be referred to as over compensating). Therefore, the goal becomes to push yourself, but not to the extent where you experience overtraining syndrome, as this does not end in a positive increase in athletic development.
All athletes will show different effects from overtraining, with the majority being a decline in physical performance. Other effects include, but are not limited to:
-Loss of strength
-Loss in exercise capacity
-Loss of motivation
-Poor sleeping patterns due to suboptimal cortisol curve
How do you prevent the "crash and burn"? The answer is very simple - mix in a rest take and program deload weeks!
Here's a few tips on Rest Days:
#1: A rest day is a rest day, not another workout day: Countless high level athletes post their "rest day" swim, bike, hike or low intensity workout. THIS IS NOT A REST DAY. Swimming for one hour IS a workout, even if it doesn't leave on the floor drenched in sweat!
#2: Two is a perfect number for rest days. There are SO many variables that come into play in determine how many days you should be resting - volume, intensity, etc. Listen to your body. If you feel like garbage or aren't mentally there, do not drag yourself to the gym. This is important because you may be doing more harm then good.
#3: Do not under eat calories or carbohydrates on rest days if you have performance goals. Your body needs the fuel to repair from your intense week of training. If body composition is a goal alongside performance, then you should be periodizing your nutrition, not focusing on on cutting and performance year round.
Resting is just as important as exercise because it is a critical component in the total process required to build strength and conditioning. If you train hard and often and do not take rest days, you are NOT doing yourself a favour. Incorporate more rest days and may experience a major improvement in training gains! Stop the movement of #teamnodaysoff
Joe Scali - Owner and trainer at Semiahmoo Athletic Club, Strength & Conditioning Coach, 2015 CrossFit Games Athlete
Sharan Scali - Owner and trainer at Semiahmoo Athletic Club, Certified Nutritionist & Hormone Specialist