If you train in a martial art, you probably spend a lot of time increasing your strength and conditioning. Spending time on these aspects of your fitness will have far-reaching benefits that extend far outside martial arts, but it’s important you don’t take things too far.
This can be surprisingly easy to do. Unfortunately, the downside of not knowing when to take a break could be that you’re eventually unable to compete at 100%. Therefore, be wary of the following signs you need to take a bit of a break.
You Can’t Seem to Quench Your Thirst
One sign that you need to stop strength and conditioning training for a little while is the feeling that you simply can’t get enough water in your system. It’s one thing to be thirsty following a workout and most nutritionists would agree you should get eight glasses of water every day on top of that.
However, if you can’t seem to get that thirst to go away, it could be because you’re overtraining. What’s happening is that your body has begun breaking down muscle to meet the energy demands you’re placing on it. This causes dehydration.
If you’re a fighter and need to make weight, the last thing you want is to be thirstier than usual 24/7, so that’s one more reason to avoid overtraining.
Extended Periods of Muscle Soreness
Another sign you need a timeout is if your muscles don’t bounce back like they used to. If you’re new to working out hard, it could definitely take a couple days before your muscles get past the soreness stage.
Likewise, even if you exercise regularly, a new workout, hitting a new body part or just going harder than usual might have some effects that greet you the following morning.
If you’re crossing the 72-hour mark, though, and your body still feels worse for wear, your muscles may not be recovering properly. You’ll need to give them time away from the gym in order to do so.
You Can’t Sleep
Unless insomnia is normally an issue in your life, one reason you may not be able to sleep well is because your body is over-trained. The combination of hormonal and nervous system stress is proving too much.
Of course, the irony is that you’re killing yourself in the gym to grow and get stronger, but this actually happens while you’re asleep. If you can’t sleep, you can’t grow and get stronger.
You’re Regularly Getting Sick
Another irony is that training too much will actually contribute to hurting your health and can even cause you to regularly become ill.
The constant catabolic state your body needs to be in because of overtraining lowers its immunity levels. It’s only going to be a matter of time, then, before you get sick and you’ll be lucky if this doesn’t happen again and again until you give your body some extended rest.
Similarly, working out too much is going to greatly increase your chances of suffering an injury. If your same old injuries keep popping up despite the fact that you’re following a trainer’s advice, the culprit is probably a body that simply can’t keep up because of overtraining.
Furthermore, you’ll be much more likely to suffer new injuries simply because you’re training while your body is weak. Now, you’ll have even more injuries you’ll need to be careful of not aggravating.
To a serious athlete, it can be physically uncomfortable to take time off from the gym. If you’re a martial artist, though, there’s almost always something you can do to improve your abilities while giving your body time to recover.