Overtrained or Underfed: How to tell the difference, and what to do to get back on track.
- The Over
- Overtraining occurs when the volume and frequency of your activity exceeds your recovery capacity, either from programming that progresses too quickly or from boosts in training volume that lasts for extended periods without allowing for adequate rest and recovery.
- Overtraining causes oxidative stress, which is a natural part of exercise as your body metabolizes oxygen to produce energy and encourage cellular repair.
- This process also produces free radicals, which are normal to some degree.
- However, with overtraining, the number of free radicals produced overwhelms the repair processes and can damage cells, DNA and mitochondria, causing inflammation, muscle fatigue and soreness that negatively impacts performance.
- The Under
- Under-Fueling occurs when U take in fewer calories than U need in order to sustain a particular activity at a particular intensity over a period of time.
- This is NOT the same as restricting calories in order to lose weight because under-fueling is not done purposefully.
- It is usually a misunderstanding of your actual nutrient needs as they relate to your training protocol.
- For Example: An endurance athlete who suddenly switches to a low-carb diet without accounting for the amount of fuel she needs will likely perform poorly until her nutritional needs are addressed.
- The Verdict
- The things that stand out with under-fueling are a noticeable loss of lean muscle mass, frequent illness and, the loss of their menstrual cycle.
- A Solution
- Adopt a periodized plan that rotates between light, moderate and heavy volume/weight training schedules, and get plenty of sleep and recovery time.
- If U suspect U are under fueled, track your food in a diary for several weeks and ensure U are at least meeting your basic metabolic needs, as per the formula below.
- This has been shown to be most accurate and is as follows for Women:
10x your weight (KG) + 6.25 x your height (CM) – 5x your age (years) – 161 = REE (Resting Energy Expenditure)
- Once U have determined your REE, multiply that number by the appropriate activity factor below to determine the number of calories per day U need
Light: 1.56 Moderate: 1.64 Heavy: 1.82
Make sure U hit that target daily in order to keep your training on track and your progress moving forward.