How to Avoid Overtraining and Injuring Yourself
This is a guest post by Tahlee Rouillon of The Attitude Revolution.
Before I became a certified Personal Trainer, I was an expert Catabolic Trainer. I tried to “whip” myself into shape by training harder and faster every day, ended up overtraining, and spent thousands of dollars on acupuncture, osteopathy and physiotherapy.
Before I get into the nitty gritty of expertise, first up is a little anatomy lesson to help you understand the mechanism behind catabolic training.
Catabolism + Anabolism = Metabolism
When you blast your pecs in the weight room or run 10k, our muscles require fuel for movement. They do this through a complicated process of breaking down energy called the catabolic pathway. This is represented by the pink area labeled “Training” in the graph above.
We've all heard of anabolic steroids right? They’re the ones that grow your muscles for you. They’re named after the anabolic pathway in the body whereby muscles repair and grow naturally during rest. This is represented in the little red area labeled “Recovery”.
When you’ve given your muscles sufficient time to rest (usually between 24 and 48 hours depending on how hard you train), your muscles get a little bit stronger and your fitness level improves. This is called “Supercompensation”. This process of supercompensation can really be applied to any pursuit of acquiring expertise.
It’s the duality of practice and rest that enables you to get a little better each time.
BUT - if you want to become an expert in catabolic burnout, you must avoid supercompensation at all costs and continue to train, train, train in the catabolic pathway!
3 Tips to Ensure Catabolic Success
- Train your whole body every day
- Give 100% maximum effort every time
- Rinse and repeat
3 Indicators of Expert Catabolic Status
- You’ve “hit the wall”
- You’ve got the flu
- You’re staring at the ceiling of a physical therapist’s office
Now, I know for some of you, this type of training sounds intense. And it is. It’s a grueling regime that requires a level of self-hatred not many people can sustain. And let’s face it – we’ve all experienced burnout of some kind when we apply the principles of catabolic training to the process of acquiring expertise.
Luckily there is a shortcut to expertise that circumvents the catabolic pathway.
Easier said then done. Let’s break it down further as there are a few different approaches to resting shortcuts.
Learning How to Rest
- Take a day or two off
- Use a periodisation program
When you create a specific long term (macro), medium term (meso) and short term (micro) training cycle you can effectively plan your workouts for optimum gains.
For example, your macro cycle could be 12 weeks before a marathon. Your meso cycle will be the days you schedule for training during each week. And your micro cycle will be the exact workout you will follow on a specific day. This means you can schedule days for heavy workouts, light workouts, and rest periods.
- R-E-S-P-E-C-T your body
The beauty of this process is that it doesn’t just apply to training. You can apply it to any goal or method of acquiring expertise. It requires you to pay close attention to your body, how you are feeling and respecting your needs enough to know when to expand your comfort zone and when to rest.
So, if your muscles are really aching and you’re feeling exhausted, respect your need to keep resting.
If you’ve got a bounce in your step and feel ready to tackle your next workout or practice session with vigour, then go for it tiger!
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