Over-training is a common problem
It can result in or be described as Chronic Fatigue and/or Burnout. An imbalance between competing and training versus recovery is the main culprit.
Training alone is not the primary cause rather the amount of stress the person feels exceeding the capacity to “cope”. A triggering of stressful events or series of them, or even “no time to rest” followed by excessive periods of over-training and lack of sleep pushes individuals into the development of stress symptoms.
Long term, chronic overtraining, leads to serious health problems including adrenal insufficiency, hormone irregularities . Proper hormone levels become unable to be maintained causing performance in all areas of life to be compromised. Including the bedroom..
Cortisol is a commonly heard hormone however often misunderstood. It has so many functions! Cortisol production is regulated by Adreno Cortico Trophic Hormone (ACTH) – this is made only in the pituitary gland. The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (HPA) is involved in our response to stress. In early stages of depletion hormones can be in short supply or they can be found to be abnormally high. The HPA axis maintains hormone levels by balancing hormones at each level of the axis, in the simplest explanation, it happens like this:
- The Hypothalamus Releases Corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH)
- This causes the pituitary to release Adreno Cortico Trophic Hormone (ACTH)
- This hormone causes the outer cortex of the adrenal gland to increase in size to be able to produce cortisol
- ACTH can sometimes present as low when Cortisol may be at a normal level
- Depletion overall involves the entire HPA axis, and the earlier we resolve the issue of excess stress on our bodies the easier the damage can be reversed and the less the axis will be effected
Looking after yourself
Don’t overstress your body, listen to yourself, consider self care and down time in between your high intensity days such as long slow walks, time in nature, bathing, reading, listening to music and if its for you some form of meditation – for some people this may mean colouring in or dancing, whatever works for you.
Overall prevention, proper nutrition, balancing the recovery and training, stress management – are so important to consider for the general public who go to intense classes everyday as well as athletes who push themselves without adequate rest and recovery and most of the time without proper dietary guidance.
Know how to read the signs of your body, your personal and perceived adaption to stress, fatigue levels, libido, hormone changes, sleep patterns, eating habits and time to recover will aid in the intervention and prevention of complete exhaustion and fatigue.