How to Avoid Overtraining
Pushing harder and digging deeper are common themes in fitness culture. However, reaching too far with an exercise routine can put any athlete at risk of overtraining syndrome (OTS). Common symptoms of OTS include chronic joint pain, prolonged soreness, and excess fatigue.
Such symptoms can affect athletic performance, but they can also increase the likelihood of injury. While adequate rest is essential in preventing the onset of OTS, there are a few lesser-known but equally important tactics, practices, and methods that athletes in all sports, of all skill levels must prioritize to minimize the likeliness of OTS.
The Metabolic Window
The metabolic window theory suggests that physically active people should eat within 30 minutes following each workout so their metabolic state will quickly change from catabolic to anabolic. While there isn’t enough evidence that an exact 30-minute window is most effective at minimizing OTS, there is sufficient evidence that proper post-workout nutrition in general is critical to avoiding the breakdown of muscle proteins, replenishing glycogen stores, and inhibiting OTS. Specifically, athletes should ingest a protein- and carbohydrate-rich meal for maximum recovery benefits.
Staggered Training Goals
Drastic changes to specific workout routines or entire workout regimen changes are leading factors in the development of OTS. In fact, over-amending almost any part of a workout routine can lead to OTS, including:
- Workout frequency
- Workout duration
- Workout type
- Workout intensity
To prevent training modifications from causing OTS, physically active people must stagger their fitness goals and adjustments. Slowly increasing or modifying workouts, for example, will give the body additional time to adjust and recover without injury.
Before you adopt a new training routine or make adjustments to your existing one, consult a physician that specializes in sports medicine. There isn’t a test or panel to definitively show OTS in patients; however, the right orthopaedic specialist can spot warning signs of OTS and prevent it from progressing.
Whether you’re working hard to increase your performance and inhibit the onset of OTS or are dealing with symptoms that you believe to be the result of OTS, you can trust the team of sports medicine and orthopaedic specialists at Orthopaedic Associates of St. Augustine. Schedule your appointment today by filling out our online request form or calling 904-825-0540.
Casey McClone, MD
Board Certifications in Family Medicine and Sports Medicine. Dr. McClone specializes in treating musculoskeletal pain for patients of all ages with ultra-sound guided injections.