I remember when derby folk used to say "I have to train outside of derby? Are you crazy?" Many derby players smoked at half time and proudly announced that their cross training included lifting mugs on the beer drinking team. My, how things have changed! People are investing their time and efforts into outside training; our league has die-hard fans of Crossfit, Ballet Burn, and fitness programs such as P90X and Insanity. I'm excited to see people take charge of their fitness, but I'm also a little worried that people are going a little overboard and over training.
Is that possible, Q? Yeah, unfortunately it is. Derby peeps tend to do things full throttle, and since many of us haven't had much experience with regular fitness programs, sometimes we do too much and end up sabotaging our own progress. I see people hit the gym, go to practice, and then do an ab work out when they get home. Sometimes a lot of a good thing doesn't actually make it better! So, what are the warning signs that you're over training? Well, I'm glad you asked, citizen.
1. You have a general lack of energy. Exhaustion is a word that gets bantered around on a regular basis, but it's a real event in your life if you're over training. Your brain is numb, you can't focus, your eyes are drooping and you feel like getting up off of the couch is like climbing a mountain. Listen to what your body is saying, and rest!
2. You have pain in your muscles and joints. Yes, soreness can happen after any activity, but when you over train, you are constantly stressing your muscles and never letting them recover. You feel soreness and pain a majority of the time, which is a major warning sign that you are taxing your muscles to the limit!
3. You have a sudden drop in your performance. Your body is a machine, and when you push it to the limit, it can't recover and it starts showing in your performance. Our speed skating coaches used to say that it was good to take breaks from training; they said that when you came back after a week or two off, you would be faster and less fatigued. I tried it in speed, and they were right.
4. You experience insomnia. Your body is aching, your muscles are twitching and you just feel crappy. Of course you can't sleep! When you over train, your stress hormones rise, and that can make your brain whirl and keep you up when you're dying for sleep.
5. You're getting more injuries than normal. Your body can't recover when you over train, and eventually you reach a breaking point, literally. Stress fractures, muscle pulls, and sprains suddenly start happening to you. It's not by accident! Your body is in stress mode the entire time, and can't spend the energy to heal your injuries. REST!
6. You aren't as enthusiastic about your sport. This is a real tragedy, because that's why most of us are over training in the first place, so we can be better derby players! If you find your enthusiasm is starting to dwindle, it might be time for a little mini vacation.
7. You have a compulsive need to exercise. Did you know that exercise is addicting? Yep. We get addicted to the endorphins, which makes us crave activity. You know you've felt the whole "If I don't get on skates and hit someone, I'm going to explode" feeling. The same thing can happen for weight training and running.
8. You're moody. This is beyond a PMS kind of moody; people who over train are stressed out and over train have so many stress hormones floating around their systems. They may be happy one minute and a complete bitch the next. Beast mode? Talk about Bitch Mode!
9. You get more infections, especially nose and throat infections. Evidently, throat and nose infections are the body's early warning sign that something is not going well in your health. If you are taxing your body to the limit, a nose or throat infection might be your body's way of telling you to slow down.
How can you recover from over training? Well, the only answer is rest. You have to rest in order to let your body recover, and when you're over training, you're ignoring your body's need to have a rest. Eventually it's going to force you to rest.