One thing is certain, CrossFitters have more than a little of the “crazy gene” because they all like pushing themselves a little or a lot multiple times each week. You just set a new max lift, and you just beat your last “DT” time. CrossFit is awesome! You think that if you can just train a little more often, then you can totally smash your next “DT” score! And so you hit a few extra sessions, go a little harder, because that’s how you get better, right? But then, the PRs don’t happen as often…or at all anymore. Weights that you once found to be easy, are now bit of a struggle. And just like that, you’re having trouble sleeping, you ache all over, and you can’t seem to shake this cold. Welcome to the world of over-training.
Here are some things to look out for to determine if you might be over-trained:
1. Training is a chore or a struggle, and no longer fun
2. Despite eating well, your body doesn’t feel energized
3. You are having trouble sleeping, and your resting heart rate is higher than normal in the morning
4. You get sick easily and often (colds etc) and take longer to get well
5. You feel sleepy throughout the day and can’t seem to focus
6. You are overly irritable or emotional
7. You are constantly dealing with small “injuries”, aches, pains etc
At CFS, we try to look at the “whole picture” in terms of what makes a healthy athlete: training frequency/ intensity, a sound nutrition plan, getting enough vitamin D and fish oil, sleeping 7-9 hours each night, and of course mobilization and stretching (everybody loves a good foam roll). But keep in mind, that even if you are doing all of the above, but still have some or all of the over-training issues listed, it’s time to change something. The kind of metabolic conditioning and strength training in CrossFit is taxing on the body, even if we are consistently getting the recovery right.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! If you can’t remember the last time you set a new PR, then take a few days off to relax. Avoid doing extra work because you think you “need” it, or because it looks like fun. Layering in extra strength sessions on top of our already demanding program will NOT make you stronger. It will just lead to fewer gains and a much higher chance of over-training and/or injury.