"The muscle building process happens when we rest, not while we are working out."

We as competitors and elite athletes know that improving fitness and body shape requires more than just "regular workouts". For one to excel in their sport progressive increases in training and dietary manipulation are only a small feat to endure on their way to the top. However, even the conditioned athlete can fall victim to training overload. This excessive overload can lead to 'overtraining', a condition that negatively affects the body and mind.

WHAT IS OVERTRAINING?
Overtraining, also called staleness or over-fatigue, occurs when exercise intensity, frequency or duration is excessive, and the athlete doesn't allow sufficient recovery in between workouts. Chronic and insufficient recovery can actually harm the athlete and set back training goals. In other words, overtraining is counterproductive.

SYMPTOMS OF OVERTRAINING
If you can identify with one or more of the following, you could be over doing it!

~Chronic fatigue
~Increased incidence of injuries
~Moodiness and irritability
~Headaches
~Appetite disorders
~Insomnia
~Undesired weight changes
~More colds or illnesses
~Frequent pain in muscles and joints
~Anemia
~Depression
~Decreased exercise and/or sexual performance

THE ROAD TO RECOVERY

Prevention-
It's a lot easier to prevent overtraining than recover from it. If you start experiencing any of the above symptoms, quickly change your training program so you don't ultimately lose your hard-earned progress.

Taper-
You may need a complete layoff if you've drastically overtrained, but modest overtraining can be treated successfully by tapering off your workouts over several weeks. Reduce your workout frequency to twice a week; this will maintain an approximate level of fitness and give your body a chance to recover.

Fuel-
Staying hydrated is upmost important as well as feeding your body a clean and nutritious diet! Timing and composition of your diet is essential for preventing overtraining as well as recovering from it.

Resist Gym Rat Syndrome-
Train hard when you're in the gym, but when your workout is over, focus on other things in life. You don't want to fall into the trap of dwelling on training.

Adequate Rest-
Rest is absolutely essential to building quality muscle mass. If you are not allowing proper rest throughout your training regime, heavy exertion and repetitive muscle fatigue can lead to the above symptoms of overtraining. If these symptoms are not addressed early on the result is undesirable. For example, slow and little muscular development, increased risks of serious injury, fatigue, illness, and muscle loss.

Chronic fatigue is so much more than just tiredness, as it can result in irritability, poor performance at work and other tasks, family disputes and arguments, and the inability to sleep properly at night, which in case you forgot is when our muscles grow and recover!
Fatigue due to heavy exertion is also responsible for a weak appetite or a lack in maintaining adequate caloric needs, which will seriously hamper your chances of building muscle as well.

Overtraining is common among athletes at all levels, but beginners can be particularly susceptible since a) their bodies are not accustomed to the training, and b) their lack of experience may convince them that training as much as possible is the way to reaching their goals..."no pain, no gain", right???? Wrong!
If you are a beginner, take the time to educate yourself before beginning any new and rigorous recreational activity. Consult with a friend who is better experienced or hire a qualified trainer to get you off to the right start.
Remember...you only live once!