Overtraining or under recovery

Over Training or Under Recovery?

April 17, 2019

Does overtraining really exist? In simple terms not as the general understanding of what overtraining is, but, under recovery, on the other hand, does exist.

One of the things we see out in the field is the number of athletes, particularly in young, 15 – 20, and mature age, 45 – 65 year old athletes who smash themselves in training sessions, multiple times a week thinking that the harder they train and smash out the sessions the better they will perform.

Initially they see gains and then start seeing declining performances over time, to the point where they become markedly slower than their average times, they then think they must up the ante and so train even harder, a recipe for disaster.

The general teaching is to be conscious of overtraining symptoms due to the result of pushing your body past its threshold; these symptoms include fatigue, apathy towards training, persistent muscle soreness or joint pain, lack of gains and illness.

However, what often goes unrecognised, by both coaches and athletes, is under-recovery. Under recovery is often misdiagnosed as overtraining, which is even worse. So what's the difference?

Overtraining occurs when an athlete trains too much and too often, overloading the central nervous system, too much heavy training volume in to short a period of time. This occurs when, for example, a young athlete does school sport and does not inform their coach before doing a second or third training session in a single day. Sustained activity like this inevitably leads to overtraining.

Under recovery is different, under-recovery may be related to training volume, but often is a result of poor lifestyle and nutrition choices, which compete against the effects of an intense training program. Not surprisingly, the symptoms are very similar and stem from an excessive level of stress compared to the ability to recover from it.

Recovery cannot be left to chance, especially for high performing athletes, whose training loads tend to be high. If recovery between sessions is not managed, symptoms of overtraining will be evident, and rest will be required to allow the body time to recover and since high performing athletes need to train regularly, avoiding under-recovery is essential to enable their bodies to be ready for the next training session. Proper hydration, proper nutrition, hydration therapy, massage and rest between sessions is imperative.

Overtraining and under-recovery have the same result and are sufficiently similar. The risk is, if under-recovery is diagnosed as overtraining, the athlete will train less, and this could put him or her at a significant disadvantage. If you are to train to your optimum level, you must manage your recovery actively and thoroughly.

The two biggest factors for recovery are Nutrition and Sleep!

From serious athletes to age groupers to week-end warriors most succumb to the effects of under-recovery from time to time.

Other than elite or serious athletes, most people would have a hard time achieving “textbook” overtraining syndrome, as they will have a hard time achieving the high training volumes required to overtrain.

After all, the real value of a workout isn’t just what you do during your training session; it comes from recovering adequately afterwards, do this and your performances will be the beneficiary.

Listed below are some under recovery symptoms to lookout for;


  1. Workouts seem more like a chore than enjoyable training.
  2. You feel weaker from week to week with the same routine.
  3. Your body feels sore all the time.
  4. Your mood is not quite as happy as it should be.
  5. You struggle to sleep and toss and turn during the night.
  6. Your heart rate is higher or lower than normal.


Recover smart to train hard, how you recover is as important as how you train. Remember, Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition and Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

Now that we have that covered, get out and take care of business people, get the show on the road. When it comes to world class sporting apparel we have you covered, no matter your discipline.



The Element Twenty Two Team


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