Golden Rules to Avoid Overtraining


When you see your body shape start to change, it’s easy to want to exercise every day and to increase the volume or intensity of what you’re doing. When we get results, we can easily get hooked on the buzz of getting the body we’ve dreamed of and it’s tempting to overdo the exercise plan in order to get even better results.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work and training too hard for too long can cause the body to eventually break down, often resulting in injury. It’s also important to stretch at the end of every exercise session and use the foam roller, which massages out knots in the muscles, which can often occur at the end of a tough exercise session. The stretches and foam roller moves on the pages that follow will help keep your body supple and feeling good, but it’s also important to follow some golden rules when you exercise – no matter how good your body feels – to make sure your body doesn’t start to breakdown. Here are the golden rules to avoid overtraining.

Always Warm Up Before a Session

A typical warm-up should last for at least five minutes and be appropriate to the main exercise session. So, for instance, if you are about to run on the treadmill, you could start with a warm-up on the cross-trainer, or on the treadmill itself, where you start by walking briskly and then gradually bring the pace up to a jog and then a run. Warming up not only prepares you mentally and your body physically for the exercise.

Stretch at The End of Every Session

However tempting it is to add an extra five or ten minutes’ cardio to your session in order to burn more calories instead of stretching, skipping the stretching can have real consequences in the long-term. Your muscles will grow increasingly tight and tense and you will begin to feel stiff and achey if you don’t stretch. Remember, you don’t have to spend ages stretching at the end of a session, but always make a point of doing some stretching for around five to ten minutes – making sure you stretch the muscles used in the workout – especially the lower limbs.

Cool Down at The End of Each Exercise Session

Gradually bring your speed down to a lower level to give your heart rate a chance to return to normal and avoid any dizziness that may result from blood pooling (where the blood goes to the lower body from the working muscles). Cooling down for 3-5 minutes will also enable your body to get rid of lactic acid, a waste product that builds up in the body during exercise.

Never Increase Volume And Intensity at The Same Time

If you want to add a bit more volume to your workouts, do it gradually, ideally by around five to ten minutes at a time – or by ten percent. Alternatively, keep the volume the same and increase intensity gradually. Increasing volume and intensity at the same time will increase your injury risk. One after the other gives you the best possible results.

Cross Train Now And Then

Too much of one type of exercise or activity can lead to injuries. Running, for instance, has huge benefits in terms of heart health, but running daily or more than three or four times per week can lead to injury in many cases. A variety of exercise – such as swimming, cycling, running and lower-intensity exercise like Yoga or Pilates, will help you stay injury-free.

Go at Your Own Pace

If you’re doing a Spinning class or you’re out for a run, don’t try to compete with others. We’re all unique as humans and our stamina on a given day depends on so many variables – age, general health and fitness – and also how well we’ve slept and eaten over the previous few days and weeks. You’re not out to compete with anyone else. It’s all about finding what works for you.

Don’t do Two Hard Sessions on Two Consecutive Days

The exercise plans in this guide have been designed to allow you recovery time in between sessions, so if you decide to do more or adapt the routines to suit you, make sure you have a good balance of hard, easy and medium-intensity exercise sessions. Try to have at least 48 hours’ recovery after tough sessions.

Don’t be a Total Slave to The Exercise Plan

If you miss the occasional session because you’re ill, exhausted or highly fatigued, that’s OK. Working out when your body is not supporting causes more harm than good. Therefore, Learn to listen to your body and get to know when it genuinely needs an early night and rest up. There’s always tomorrow!