What are the signs of overtraining?
While the most important symptom of overtraining is fatigue, the researchers insist that it is very important to know the overall symptoms of overtraining, as many of them are not instantly-looking. For example, changes in mental attitude and personality, as well as changes in sleep patterns and gastrointestinal disturbances (soft stool, diarrhea) can be changed gradually. Other subtle physiological changes of overtraining include decreased immune function (frequent colds, generalized symptoms resembling flu), and increased blood pressure in the morning and increase heart rate.
Most intense aspects of overtraining include:
Decreased muscle size and strength,
Headaches and anxiety,
General malaise, and moodiness,
Longer time to recover,
Increased susceptibility to injury,
Muscle soreness and joint tenderness,
Irritability and increased defiance,
Loss of appetite,
Depression and loss of motivation.
But outside of these obvious symptoms of overtraining, deep within the disturbances in normal physiology occurring cellular structures that continue to accumulate. Changes in the reservoir of the body amino acid resulting in a negative nitrogen balance i.e. the reduction of protein deposits which can cause a reduction of the immune response, making you prone to diseases, reduced muscle repair and growth reduction. Other problems related to elevated cortisol levels, weight gain and loss of muscle mass, increased lactic acid production and concentration of ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone)
For reference here, ACTH is secreted by the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain. The pituitary gland is referred to as the master gland that sensitizes the thyroid gland, adrenal glands and the ovaries to produce respectively, thyroid hormones, cortisol, estrogen and testosterone. All these hormones associated with maintaining proper metabolism, blood pressure, sexuality and reproduction.
The pituitary gland is also responsible for the production of growth hormone, referred to as inner youth hormone. However, ACTH is secreted as a direct response to stress. Her job is to stimulate the secretion of cortisol, which helps to regulate blood sugar, liver function and immune function. However as a direct result of ongoing stress, cortisol levels remain elevated, increasing the risk of infection, high pressure, peptic ulcer, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, loss of muscle mass and gain weight in the abdomen.
by Kostas Mitsaris
certified personal trainer
sport & fitness nutritionist