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A GUIDE TO BETTER HEALTH
Are you over-training?
MEMBER ANTHONY RAMOS
BODY BUILDING CHAMPION
The body has limits. No big surprise
Everyone knows that the body can only be
pushed so far before something has to give.
The body will often send alarms out to the
brain when it is being pushed too hard: shortness of breath, intense sweating, cramps,
extreme thirst and loud beating of the heart.
Most people heed these warning signals
and stop exercising, as well they should.
Pushing your body beyond its limits can
frequently cause heart attacks or strokes.
Since the purpose of exercising is to
improve your health, you have to know
your limits, which is why aerobics instructors frequently stop at some point during
the class to measure your heart rate.
Ideally, when exercising you never want
your heart rate to go above 70 percent to 80
percent of its maximum working capacity.
Usually, if you go above that, your body
will send out alarm signals.
Yet there's another form of overdoing it
where the body's alarm signals are not as obvious. Over-training almost seems like an oxymoron. How can you over train? The more you
exercise, the healthier you'll get, right? The better conditioned? So how can you overtrain?
To understand this better, it's necessary
to understand a little bit about the muscular system and how it works. To simplify,
muscles are made up of proteins. When
you exercise the muscle, the body pumps
blood to the muscle working. The blood
carries oxygen to the muscle, which will
convert to energy to do the work.
The object of the exercise is to fatigue the
muscle so much that the body will work to
repair the muscle, have it grow and become
stronger so the next time the work will be
easier. In order for the muscle to grow and
become stronger, it needs an'adequate
recovery time. Working the muscle again
before it has recovered from the stress of the
previous exercise is counter-productive.
When the muscle is in a state of recovery,
it is not as strong as it was initially. The
body is focusing on healing the muscle, so
it is vulnerable. Putting stress on it again
could easily cause an injury, like muscle
fibers being torn or pulled to the point of
severe pain. If you've never experienced
the pain of a pulled, strained or torn muscle, consider yourself lucky.
The recovery time for an injured muscle is a great deal longer than the exercise
recovery period. The traditional accepted
amount of time in the industry is 48
hours—two days between working out
muscle groups. When you are just starting out, most trainers will put you on a
full-body workout and recommend three
days a week, like Mondays, Wednesdays
The intensity of your workouts should
also-He-token mte eotwrtlerntion. Some peo
Over-training can lead to strained muscles, loss
of flexibility and even reduced strength.
pie exercise one or two body parts per
workout; since that workout is more
intense, the recovery time needed is longer,
generally three days to as long as a week. '
How can you tell if you're over-training?
It's actually pretty simple. The first sign is
soreness and pain. The day alter a good workout, the muscles worked should be fatigued,
but able to move without pain. If the muscles
cannot be moved without a feeling of tightness, soreness and even pain, they've been
over-trained and you need a longer recovery
period. (Over-training also inhibits the flexibility of the muscle, which is also self-defeating because the tighter the muscle, the less
opportunity it has for growth.)
A second sign is an inability to get
stronger. If your muscles aren't getting
stronger, you are possibly over-training.
Sometimes, over-training can cause a loss of
strength, like when a weight you used previously is too much for you to handle again.
A proper period of rest is crucial. You
have to take care of your muscles and your
body daily. I always recommend that
someone who is starting an exercise program should increase their protein intake;
protein is what the body uses to repair and
rebuild the muscles.
Massages are also important, as thev help
force the lactic acid built up during exercise
out of the muscles and help to keep the
muscles relaxed, flexible ami supple
Herren is a certified ' i
professional He can be reached at