Exercise is definitely a good way to get fit, but there is a difference between getting fit and over doing it. If you adhere to the “No Pain, No Gain” philosophy, you just may be overtraining. This can mean you are putting too much stress on your muscles, tendons and joints. Every time you exercise you break down muscle tissue. Your body responds by generating a response to inflammation to repair the damage caused. Continuing to produce this type of damage without time for the body to heal can throw your body into a constant inflammatory state. Usually after overtraining or over exercising, we back off on our exercise and give the muscles a rest, but there are also other solutions that can help your body recover when you overdo it.
Signs and Symptoms of Overtraining
How do you know if you are overtraining? If you are engaging in a lot of exercise or training you can push your muscles past their limit so that they will need to rest in order for the body to repair them. You’ll feel the fatigue and it can splash over into other areas of your life and not just your workout performance. You may notice that you are going slower, feel tired and are not performing up to par. You may also be irritable, have sore muscles, feel faint, experience sleeping problems, be depressed, be especially bothered by even small pains and you may find that your resting pulse is higher than it normally is. You may also find that you lose interest in your training or exercise program. All of these signs and symptoms are indications that you are overtraining.
Nutrition for Overtraining
Many of these symptoms of overtraining can be helped by making sure you are getting enough calories. If you are physically exerting your body more than normal, then you need more calories for energy replacement and your muscles need more vitamins, minerals and nutrients. It is recommended that those who engage in heavy exercise on a regular basis or intense training programs have a diet that includes 15% protein, 25% fat, and 60% carbohydrates. Getting the right vitamins through diet is also an important consideration. For example, you need B vitamins for breaking down those fats, carbs and proteins and the body uses them fast enough that they need to be constantly replaced.
One of the more serious problems with overtraining is the inflammatory response that is activated. Inflammation is the body’s response to foreign invaders, irritation or injury. This is good when it is needed, but too much can cause the body to become confused and attack itself damaging its own tissues. Too much heavy exercise can contribute to free radicals that damage the body, including cells, enzymes, and DNA, causing negative effects such as pain, inflammation, and chronic diseases. Antioxidants attack free radicals and get them out of your body, relieving pain, inflammation, and chronic symptoms in the process. The best source for antioxidants is brightly colored fruits and vegetables, so make sure you are getting plenty of these. Other dietary considerations to help recovery from overtraining include:
– Protein – and the amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, iron and other nutrients it has is necessary for muscle building and needed to repair damage done to muscles. Eating good lean protein foods just before or after a heavy exercise period can help the body recover faster. Fish, chicken, and lean red meats give you the most complete protein. Vegetarians need to know how to combine different sources of proteins to make sure they get all the essential amino acids they need. For example, have grains along with legumes or dairy products.
– Complex carbohydrates – such as from whole grain breads and cereals, rice and pasta, fruits and vegetables are needed for extra energy. Yes, too many carbs can cause you to gain weight, but you don’t have to worry about that if you are doing heavy exercise that is burning it off. Running 15 miles burns off about 1500 calories, so the more heavy training you do, the more carbs you need to fuel your muscles.
– Healthy fats – such as monounsaturated fats found in avocados, nuts, olives and oils such as olive oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, and canola oil are the type to add to your diet to help it recover from overtraining. Saturated and trans fats add to the inflammatory state in the body as well as contribute to problems with your arteries and should be avoided.
– Hydrate – Sweat from heavy exercise causes fluid loss. During exercise have water to drink and be sure to drink right after cooling down from an exercise period to replace the fluids you’ve lost.
Resting for Overtraining
Rest is another important component for recovery from overtraining. Your body needs time to heal damage done to muscles, tendons and ligaments from heavy exercise and from free radical damage. Allowing them the time to heal properly will make muscles stronger, whereas not taking the time to let them heal can lead to further damage. Not only can symptoms of overtraining come about through not taking breaks in between heavy exercise periods, but also through repetitive exercise. Doing the same routines over and over again creates an imbalance in muscle strength.
Supplements for Support
There are whole food nutritional supplements that can also help give your body the support it needs due to inflammation caused by heavy exercise. This supplement works especially well when taken before workouts to provide a whole food source for maximum energy from its combination of AFA bluegreen algae, wheatgrass juice, cordyceps mushrooms, bee pollen, turmeric, noni, and green tea. Another supplement with nutrition for those engaging in heavy exercise combines plant-based proteolytic enzymes–bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase, together with organic AFA bluegreen algae. And this supplement has the nutrition of vegetable-based glucosamine, chondroitin, UC-II® undenatured collagen, and organic AFA bluegreen algae that has been found useful in helping support healthy, flexible, and strong joints and its supporting cartilage.
Exercise is a good thing, but like many other good things, you can have too much. If you are in heavy training for a particular sport or event, make sure your training program includes the nutrition you need and the time to rest overworked muscles.
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