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Am I over training?

Posted by Anna Davey in Sports Performance

Estimated reading time: 3mins

Could you be over training? Anna Davey explains.

Creating the perfect training schedule

So how do you create the perfect schedule for consistent performance and steady improvement?

This will be different to all athletes and it’s up to the athlete and their coach (if they have one) to be aware of the signs and symptoms of OTS by listening to their body and adjusting their training accordingly.

Generally speaking, athletes train to increase performance. Performance increases are achieved through increased training loads. Increased loads are tolerated only through interspersed periods of rest and recovery — this is training periodization.

Anna training for a climbing event.

OTS signs and symptoms

Here are some things to look out for, which could point to OTS in an individual.

  • Fatigue
  • Poor performance
  • Mood changes
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of motivation
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Heavy, sore and stiff muscles

Contributing factors to OTS

Some of these factors may contribute to OTS.

  • Increased training load without sufficient recovery time
  • Excessive number of competitions
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Stressors in personal life (work, family and relationships)
  • Illness
Anna is constantly training to stay in shape and perform at her highest level.
Anna is constantly training to stay in shape and perform at her highest level.

I think I’m overtraining what can I do?

Here are some suggestions to standardize your training and avoid OTS.

  • Periodization of training
  • Tapering for competitions
  • Rest
  • Adjust training volumes and intensity
  • Ensure adequate calories
  • Ensure adequate hydration
  • Ensure adequate sleep
  • Ensure adequate carbohydrates
  • See supplementation below

For an in-depth analysis of signs, symptoms and contributory factors to OTS along with testing for diagnosis see this study.

Supplements that may help reduce the effects of OTS

If you’re a competitive athlete ensure you’re using HASTA certified supplements.
If you’re a competitive athlete ensure you’re using HASTA certified supplements.

How I avoid OTS

I’m in a tricky position where I am often working full time as a lawyer and training 5-6 days a week for climbing.

Sometimes I just burn out and must take an extra rest day or mix up my sessions. For example, if I had a 2-hour session scheduled for Wednesday but I’m feeling abnormally sore and fatigued from my Tuesday session and work, I will change that session to a rest day or a 45-minute session. I would also decrease my next session length, so I can get back to quality sessions making progress.

If I am not working at all (when I am close to a major competition I take weeks off work) I’ll train twice a day, 5 days a week and feel no effects of OTS. Two weeks before a competition I taper my training. This means cutting the length of sessions in half and decreasing the intensity.

I haven’t experimented with periodization; however, I have seen good results where athletes do a 4-week power program followed by a full week of rest. Then a 4-week endurance program followed by a week of rest.

The main advice I give to performance athletes is to eat well, listen to your body, sleep well, use supplements for support (ensure they’re HASTA Certified) and don’t be afraid to take a whole rest week every now and then.

Remember, training temporarily makes you weaker and then it’s the rest that makes you stronger.

For more about Anna Davey check out her Shop by Recommended page!

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