They are not exactly the same, but both situations have to do with demanding more of you than you can give. The body warns, and sometimes it says enough! Learn to identify the symptoms of fatigue or overtraining to take the necessary measures that allow your recovery.
After a hard workout, it is normal to feel tired, but if you have exercised correctly and proportionately, your recovery will take a few minutes and, in a short time, you will feel good, even with more energy. Fatigue is something else. It is a state of extreme fatigue that lasts longer than it would be logical and that, in addition, affects physically and psychically. Of course, there may be a specific moment of fatigue (acute fatigue) because that session in the gym or that HIIT training has been especially demanding, but we are not talking about that situation, but about an exhaustion that remains days after having made the effort.
It is essential to give fatigue the importance it has. If you do not properly interpret its first symptoms and continue exercising at the same pace, you run the risk of falling into overtraining, a higher and more serious stage, which will require essential changes in your habits. In short, fatigue is the first serious warning that something is not working as it should in your progress as an athlete and, if it lasts over time, it will lead to dangerous overtraining.
Symptoms of fatigue and overtraining
If at any given moment you feel exhausted and the motivation to go to the gym has disappeared, stop and analyze if you are suffering a period of fatigue or have directly fallen into overtraining. Pay attention to these symptoms:
- Extreme fatigue that does not correspond to the effort made.
- Physical sensation of heaviness, even muscle aches or pain in areas of your body that you have not worked on.
- Alteration of the heart rhythm even if you are not doing any exercise.
- Difficulty completing sets of repetitions that you did before without problems.
- Apathy not only physical but also mental. You don’t really want to do anything.
The overtraining is the highest stage to fatigue and its highest expression is the total inability for your body to adapt (or even think) to a new physical demand. Your symptoms are:
- Sharp decrease in your athletic performance
- Tiredness coupled with nervousness and irritability, which can lead to insomnia problems.
- Alteration of the heart rate even in a state of rest.
- Physical changes such as unexplained weight gain or loss.
- Your muscles “don’t respond.” Your glycogen stores are at a minimum.
- On a mental level: difficulty concentrating and general state of apathy.
What measures to take against fatigue and overtraining?
If you think you suffer from any of these pathologies, it is important to consult with your doctor in case they had their origin in some type of disease, especially those related to the hormonal system. If it is not him, the situation may be due to the fact that the training you do and the diet you follow are not being adequate. You have to take steps to allow your body to recover and get back in optimal condition for exercise. Be patient, because it will take weeks or months to recover from overtraining. Among the measures that you must take are:
- Reduce the intensity and time of your workouts. In the most severe cases it may be necessary to suppress physical exercise for a time.
- If you have fatigue, take special care to respect rest days after exercising. Do not train more than 2 or 3 times a week and when you do, extend the warm-up time and the time dedicated to recovery (stretching) after training.
- Sleep at least 8 hours a day.
- Reduce not only physical work in the gym but also those situations that require intense mental effort and can generate stress.
- Review your diet, it may not have the necessary balance and your body is lacking essential nutrients.