In order to improve performance basically we have to work real hard. But hard training (both strength and cardio) will not result in growing performance and being stronger without proper nutrition and most importantly: rest. I am writing this to remind myself about the important role rest plays in obtaining maximum performance and results from the hours spent in the gym.
The Value Of Rest
When we train hard, it is rest that makes us stronger, because it allows the muscles that we have broken down during workouts to heal and recover. Why does rest play such an important role in muscle recovery? It is during sleep where growth hormone levels are at their highest. Physiologic improvement in any sport can only occur during the rest period following hard training. This is also why consuming the proper foods and supplements immediately following such training is so key.
In other words, without proper recovery time, not only will we reach a performance plateau, but we also will run the risk of injury, and may even experience reduced performance: less strength and less endurance - this is called overtraining.
The Scientific Studies: not enough rest aka overtraining messes up key hormonal balance
There have been several clinical studies done, and in many individuals overtraining increased the body's cortisol levels and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA and cortisol are the body's long-acting stress hormones and are antagonistic to each other to some degree.
DHEA has an anabolic or building influence, while cortisol has a catabolic or tearing down effect on the body. Normally these hormones are in balance.They become imbalanced during chronic overtraining. If proper recovery is not obtained such as in chronic overtraining conditions, the body will continue to make increasingly greater amounts of cortisol, while reducing the amount of DHEA produced.
The consequences of elevated cortisol and reduced DHEA can be devastating.
The negative effects may include:
Rest And Relaxation
It all looks very simple to avoid overtraining: the best defense to overtraining is a proper combination of good rest and proper nutrition. A well-planned training program will include adequate recovery time and proper nutrition, including proper supplementation.
Most importantly listen to your body when you see the early warning signs of overtraining. Be flexible and adjust your workout, your sleep and your diet accordingly.
Understanding the signs of overtraining and responding accordingly will help you reach your goals faster. See ya in the winner's circle!
I come from the future. I work and I workout. Always be kind and passionate.