Over Training Indicators include: mood swings; craving of simple sugar; interrupted sleep; loss of libido; loss of body weight; suppressed appetite & elevated resting heart rate.
Once you have reached the point of over training and are experiencing associated symptoms, your satisfaction associated with training becomes less rewarding and ultimately affects other elements in your life (relationships, work, etc.) along with having a negative effect on your performance (which ironically makes you think you need to do more or work harder!).
Training creates adaptations within the body's various systems (muscular, cardio-pulmonary, lymphatic, nervous and connective) and needs to be supported with rest and food for positive adaptations. Inadequate amounts (and quality) of sleep and food set the body up for a physical break down which leads to negative effects on the body (i.e. suppressed immune system and muscles with less power and endurance).
In addition to adaptations within the body's systems, training causes changes at a cellular level. Dr. Sandler notes that cell mitochondria swell, metabolic wastes accumulate, essential nutrients (particularly electrolytes and stored glycogen) deplete, and muscle tissue is torn. This tearing is known as micro trauma of the cells, and torn muscle tissue doesn't work efficiently.
As popularly noted, it takes 48 hours for the body to recover from this micro-trauma and has to be supported with rest and food for proper recovery and improved overall health.
If your body doesn't get the opportunity to rebuild from the "work phase" of training, overall health and associated performance begin to slow down (and in extreme circumstances, cease all together). The concept of hard training days followed with easy-active recovery days incorporated into your weekly training schedule establishes the balance necessary for incremental improvements in your overall health and ultimately your performance.
Consistent training without physical or mental setbacks provides the foundation for your body to absorb larger volumes of training. The larger the foundation (i.e. quality of overall health) the quicker you will recover from workouts and the quicker your body will progress to the next level of health & ultimately performance.
Think about it this way, if you are not fresh, you will not have the energy (or desire) to push to the next level of performance. If your body doesn't experience the next level you will begin to stagnate within your performance cycles.
So what will it be this weekend - big workout or some down time to recover?
Yours in sport and health,