In order to improve performance, you have to challenge your body’s ability to tolerate an increase in physical, mental, and emotional stress. This is called overload and is defined as adding stress greater than your body is accustomed to.
Overtraining is a term that is used to describe both the process of excessive training and the resulting condition of “staleness” or “burnout.” Overtraining is a serious condition that results from repeated bouts of high volume or high intensity training without adequate preparation, recovery, and nutrition. Overtraining leads to excessive fatigue, performance decrements, insomnia, mental and emotional disturbances, and potentially the inability to train.
In order to fully recognize the symptoms of overtraining, you must be able to differentiate them from the short-term responses to a new training program. Overtraining is a very serious condition that takes time to manifest. As mentioned earlier, we have to add stress to our bodies if we want them to improve. Everyone will experience adaptations as a result of taking on a new fitness plan or changing the focus of training from lower intensity (i.e. base training) to higher intensity (i.e. speed work). Regardless of the type of athlete you are (beginner to elite), your body will go through the following stages when implementing a new training stimulus: shock, adaptation, and plateau and exhaustion.
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