Overtraining is a problem for many athletes. But specifically what causes it? How can it be prevented? And do certain types of training increase the likelihood of overtraining?
This new theory goes a long way towards answering these questions. With normal, healthy exercise, there is what is known as "adaptive trauma." The stress of exercise begins a cycle of the body responding to this stress with local inflammation, healing the body, and rebuilding it stronger. With overtraining, the stress is too much for the body and inflammation increases, leading to a systematic inflammatory response in the body.
In a nutshell, when you are overtrained, your body is in a state of inflammation. This explains why a person becomes lethargic when they are overtrained. In a previous post, I mentioned that those who are depressed have levels of inflammation in their body 40 to 50% above normal. Overtraining leads to higher levels of inflammation, and more feelings of lethargy and tiredness.
This makes mood an easy way to monitor overtraining. If a person's mood starts to deteriorate, they should take a look at their exercise program. Pushing through the low feelings may make the inflammation even worse.