Ooh Look! Something else that makes us sick

How to avoid overtraining syndrome

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

So, I'm beginning to scout out my next runcation. This made me take a trip down memory lane. That's when I remembered my last full marathon. It was in Istanbul, Turkey. That was the hardest race I've ever run from training to the finish line.

I thought about the fact that I trained all by myself, the fact that I didn't have a coach. The trip cost $10,000, so I was working double and triple time (remember I was a waitress and that's a lot of shifts), the fact that I was so stressed that in my down time, I just ate and drank ( I believe an entire order of wings and cakes from Max's Wine Dive). One time, after a long day of work and training, as I climbed into bed, I was literally shaking uncontrollably.

When I got to Turkey, I had to get over jet-lag. We got sick and had to run sick (but I did it) and one of my travel companions was flat out trippin (women!") if this sounds like a nightmare, it was! So why did this happen?

Full disclosure: I had a faulty training program and suffered from overtraining syndrome. I know, I know. You are asking yourself, is that a real thing? It's real and I don't want it to happen to you. I'm going to tell you what it is, how you can diagnose it on yourself, and some low cost home remedies and preventative measures you can take.

So, what is it? Basically, due to a poorly planned training, (for anything, not just running) there is an imbalance between workout and recovery. No matter how the imbalance is, the result is poor habits, poor performance, and injuries. What's interesting is, that overtraining syndrome affects the mental, emotional, nutritional, and neurological well being of the athlete.

So what can we do to prevent this from getting to our bucket list destinations? Here they are:

Hydrate:

We are told this so many times. I'm guilty too. Sometimes, it just doesn't happen. Water keeps our muscles and joints lubed up. It makes recovery easy and there is less chance we get sick. Drinking anti-oxidant rich drinks like tart cherry and pomegranate juice gives an added boost.

Rest:

I know, we got goals! We can power through anything! No matter how strong you are, you need rest. So what is rest? Here are some examples:

  1. Getting off your feet and reading a book.
  2. Baking some cookies. ( you earned it).
  3. Watching a movie.
  4. Going to eat with friends.
Whatever you do, no training. Just don't overdo it.
Sleep:
Sleep is so crucial. Especially training. This is where all the training you have done gets put to work. Your muscles get repaired. Your brain is reset and every morning, you get to wake up excited about your training.
Soak:
This is such a treat. There is nothing quite as nice as ripping open a fresh bag of Dr. Teal's Epson Salt, pouring it in a steamy tub of water as hot as you can stand, lighting candles, and taking a nice long soak. You lay there listening to Jill Scott while inhaling the relaxing scent of grapefruit with charcoal. It is great for your mind and eases sore muscles.
Stretching:
When you get out of the tub, this is a great time to stretch your muscles. During any training, you will get aches and pains. Stretching a warm muscle will keep your muscles pliable and with the right tension. This season, I'm going to pay extra attention to this one. Not stretching is where most injuries happen. If you don't know what to do, you tube has many stretching and yoga videos.
Foam RollIng:
This is the foam tube that you see at the gym propped against the wall in the trainer's station. Most people look at this tool dumbfounded. Basically, you lay on the roller in various positions to hit your muscles at the right pressure points. It perfectly assists stretching to keep you without injury. You can use one at your gym, but you can buy your own for about $25 to $75 at stores like Academy, Amazon, or Target.
So, let's set some goals and plan workout and recovery in our training. It's easy to get lazy, but with practice, we can form good training habits.


Looking for a new gym to kick off your 2019 resolutions? Or maybe just a new addition to your normal workout routine. This past weekend I tried an intense new workout that challenged my body at the new Tough Mudder BootCamp in the Heights. This is not your typical gym, but it still got my heart pumping, body sweating, and feeling great! That's because they offer HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) for 45 minutes of non-stop work! The workout consists of several different stations of plyometrics, body weight exercises, abs, weighted exercises, and more. Even better…workouts through Saturday are FREE!

Every work out is different to help keep you on your toes and challenge your body. I love that the exercises take you through a full body workout, as well as a focus on abs. The workouts focus on strength, agility, power, and endurance. The workout is designed to support all levels of fitness. Even for superb athletes like myself, (kidding), but they always have modifications on each exercise that can suit anyone. For our 45-minute workout we had six different stations, each station had 1-2 exercises. For two minutes you are at that station and rotating exercises. I find it very neat and encouraging that Tough Mudder BootCamp focuses on teamwork, so most exercises you will have a partner to alternate the exercises with, while still working out the full two minutes. They focus on the team-based workouts to encourage everyone to push together to do their best and have fun. Even better…. they have TVs with examples of the exercise to follow! So when you forget 10 seconds after the instructor just walked through all the stations, you're in luck!

In the video above I will take you through a little snippet of the TMB workout. I start out with some kettle bell swings and then move into "spider-mans," or side mountain climbers. Trust me, just :30 of those bad boys feels like two minutes. Then you have some dumb bell deadlifts to curl, while your partner is doing push-ups, then you switch after one minute. For the next two minutes straight, you are doing tri-cep dips, while working those tiny little tri-cep muscles. Then at the next station you have a little bit of agility and cardio. While one person is doing kettle bell deadlifts, the other is running in and out of the cones, not only forward, but backwards as well and then full sprint down. Now let's get in some abs; these are knees to elbow, (key is: don't let your feet drop), this will be for :45 seconds straight. On the other hand your partner would be doing a dead hang from the bar, with the chin above. A little bit harder than I thought, but as always there are always modifications. We went through 6 stations for 3 rounds at 2 minutes each station, not bad and quite challenging. And somewhere in the middle of my video, I challenged myself to cross all monkey bars from one end to another. I'm going to re-challenge myself again soon to cross all the monkey bars forward and backwards, as I saw franchise owner Jason Stanley do ever so swiftly.

And after he got off the bars, I caught up with Jason to get his thoughts on something that was once a thought and now a reality.

"We're excited to officially introduce Houston to our Tough Mudder Bootcamp team this weekend! Our team-based high intensity workouts have already been a big hit with our early members, and everyone agrees that having a team nudging you outside of your comfort zone makes all the difference. We're looking forward to growing the tribe and helping more people achieve their fitness goals while making new friends at TMB." – Jason Stanley, Tough Mudder BootCamp Franchise Owner.

Remember Grand Opening is this Saturday and TMB will have 2 workouts at 11 a.m. and 12:30, and you can sign up on the app or website. But if you can't get in by Saturday don't worry, anyone can try the workout for free on their first time anytime! Grand Opening is from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with Fit Bit giveaways, tickets to a SaberCats games, membership giveaways, and more!

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