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Are You Overtraining? Test Yourself

A lot of panic sets in with sports people if they feel they have not done enough. Whether its more sprinting, lifting weights or kicking practise, until that voice in their head calms down, more is all they think they need.

But overtraining can be the reason why you are not reaching your goals.

If you overtrain, you will experience symptoms like pain in your joints, sluggish, picking up niggling injuries, getting head colds and flu’s more often, your losing leanness despite training more and most of all your failing to complete workouts.

The bottom line in sports conditioning and fitness training is stress, not mental stress, but adaptive body stress.

Athletes must put their bodies under a certain amount of stress to increase physical capabilities.

Where the stress loads are appropriate then the athlete’s performance will improve but if the stress loads are inappropriate then a state of over-training/burnout could come about for the athlete

A Simple test can pinpoint signs of over training:

You don’t have to be chasing world records to fall prey to overtraining, that insidious paradox of getting zapped by your own zeal.

Now only do you get slower despite working harder, but studies of how you also risk depression, chronic fatigue, insomnia and a weakened immune system.

Now, thanks to Finnish research Heikki Rusko, Ph.D., there’s a reliable test to see if you’ve been over training. Better still, it’ll warn you if you’ve on the verge of overtraining, giving you time to adjust before the bottom falls out.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Lie quietly for 10 minutes, then stand up and wait exactly 12 seconds before counting your pulse for six seconds. Write this number down.
  2. Next, starting precisely 90 seconds after you stood up, count your pulse again, but this time for 30 seconds. Write this number down.
  3. Now convert these two numbers to heart rates (beats per minute) by multiplying the first reading by 10 and the second by two.

Do this test every day at the same time of day. If you are not over trained, these two readings will remain remarkably constant from day to day. If you’re over trained, or heading in that direction, you’ll see a gradual rise in your heart rates especially in your later reading.

Rusko found that over trained Finnish cross-country skiers showed 10- to 15-best-per-minute increases in their second readings over a four-week period.

The gradual increase gave the Finns time to ease up on their training. So take the test; you may need the rest.

Close observation can help eliminate the possibility of serious effects of over-stressing. As soon as symptoms are noticed, loading should be reduced and recovery pursued. All performance checks and competition pressures must be removed and active recovery put in their place.

Brian Roache





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