In the world of calisthenics, there are numerous factors at play. More specifically, to thrive in this area of fitness, there are a wide array of things that must be taken into account to thrive! For example, your diet, sleep hygiene, workout schedule, and your overall frequency of training itself.
That being said, there is one other factor that often gets forgotten about…
You could say that this commonly forgotten aspect of training is the result of a poorly constructed training plan. Whilst more complex than this, we are, of course, talking about overtraining!
So, before we go any further, do keep in mind that this article is going to cover everything you need to know about overtraining in calisthenics. What it is, the symptoms of overtraining, and the methods you can use to avoid it! Let’s get into this.
What is overtraining in calisthenics?
In simple terms, overtraining refers to an individual who is training far more than their body can handle. This excessive work load will usually have to have been applied for several weeks or months in a row before you can correctly state that said individual is overtrained.
In the beginning stages of a new exercise journey, overtraining is often encountered due to an overzealous participant trying to make gains as quickly as possible. He/she will often believe that a higher workload means more gains.
While this has some truth to it, this only applies up to an acceptable standard as the body can only handle so much.
After a certain period of time, the body will begin to break down faster than it is being built up. This, with time, causes high levels of stress on the body which, in turn, leads to an individual becoming overtrained.
But what are the symptoms to look out for? How will you know if you are overtrained? Keep on reading.
The symptoms of overtraining in calisthenics
When most beginners experience the symptoms of overtraining, a rather large majority of them do not even realize they are doing too much. Most, will ignore these symptoms and continue with the hopes to continuously make gains and reach their goals.
While this is certainly inspiring to a certain extent, this can do more harm than good…
So, for those of you, who want to be more aware of this issue, here are the main symptoms to look out for in overtrained individuals.
A reduction in strength and/or size
This is perhaps the most common symptom, and since it is contradictory to what you desire, it is perhaps the most noticeable. This reduction in strength and size will occur for a few reasons, firstly, because the body is not repairing itself efficiently, secondly. Your overall levels of fatigue will have increased, and lastly because your workout performance will have suffered.
Overall bodily fatigue
If after a certain period of working out, you are finding it hard to perform to the same intensity that you used to, this could be due to increased levels of fatigue. Generally, fatigue is characterized by an overall feeling of weakness and or tiredness that is felt mainly in the muscles. This may have you sitting and/or lying down a lot more overall.
Increased levels of brain fog
Brain fog with regards to overtraining typically goes hand in hand with fatigue. More specifically, if you experience one, you will more than likely experience the other at the same time. In this case, brain fog is often described as an inability to think clearly. This often accompanies other troubling symptoms like memory loss, trouble concentrating, and having trouble collecting your thoughts.
You may have trouble sleeping
Another common symptom of overtraining is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. While it may sound contradictory to the other symptoms on this list, this is certainly a reported issue. It is believed that this inability to get to sleep quickly and/or stay asleep is due to the increased levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is released when the body is stressed, and it raises the heart rate and blood pressure, which keeps the body alert and awake – hence the trouble sleeping.
Out of all the symptoms that people experience when overtrained, these four are without a doubt the most commonly reported and easily the most problematic.
That being said, as always, this list does not cover every potential symptom that could arise, it only covers the most commonly reported symptoms. So do not be confused if you experience additional symptoms.
So, now that you know more about what to look for when referring to the symptoms, let’s take a look at how to avoid or fix this issue.
How to avoid overtraining in calisthenics
Trying to avoid overtraining is more about what you do than what you don’t do. Yes, it certainly helps if you don’t train to extremely high frequencies but if you aren’t doing all that you need to facilitate recovery, you can become overtrained on even just a moderate training frequency.
Firstly, to ensure an optimal recovery setting, make sure you are getting enough sleep. Sleep is essential for recovery, and most of the roles that take place during your sleep cannot be done by the body during waking hours.
The second step to avoiding an overtrained state is to ensure a high protein intake! Listen, the protein we consume in our foods are the building block of the muscle we build, without it, we cannot effectively grow, and the damage we incur through training will not get repaired.
additionally, to further avoid becoming overtrained, make sure you are consuming enough calories. Calories refer to the overall energy found in food and if we do not consume enough energy, our bodies struggle with performing optimally.
Listen to your body!
Lastly, listen to what your body is telling you! Listen, becoming overtrained does not happen in an instant, it is a gradual process that occurs over a certain time. If you begin to feel tired all the time, rest more, eat more and work out less. This example will provide your body with more chances to grow and less chance to break down even further.
When you start to feel rough from all the training, this is your body’s way of saying – (I’ve had enough, please stop).
All in all, if you apply the steps provided above and you listen to what your body tells you, I can confidently say that your chances of becoming overtrained are very slim, which is what we all want!
Train safe and train smart everyone!