It’s widely accepted that you need to work physically and mentally hard to achieve your goals.
However, are you able to recognise the symptoms which demonstrate you are doing more harm than good?
Here are some objective and subjective ways to check in on your physical and mental status.
Progression has stopped
Week on week you should be making some form of progression across the majority of your training.
Progression usually comes in one of the following form:
- Increased Load
- Increased Repetitions
- Improved Technique
- More controlled movements
Resting heart rate & blood pressure are higher than normal
If you use a heart rate or blood pressure monitor regularly, seeing readings which are consistently elevated over your baseline, could be an indication that you aren’t recovering from the stimulus you’re applying.
*Note – Forms of stimulus which can cause elevated HR & BP aren’t reserved to exercise. Mental and emotional stimulus can have the same effect.
Reduced Immune Response
If you are under recovered, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced.
This means we are more susceptible to infection.
If you find yourself coming down with cold, flu & other common virus’ more frequently than normal may be a sign of over reaching.
We can all remember a point in time when we’ve had a bad nights sleep, or not enough sleep. It often results in our mood becoming grumpy, irritable and even impairing our decision making.
Studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived report increased anger, frustration, irritability & sadness. As well as decreases in positive moods.
You are using unhealthy coping mechanisms
Many people can find themselves turning to increased alcohol, smoking and even drug use as a means of coping with the impact of fatigue and tiredness.
While these methods may provide short term relief. They cannot treat the core of the issue.
It’s also important to remember these coping mechanisms carry their own added health implications when used excessively.
Issues with sleep can include anything which is negatively impacting a restorative sleep cycle, such as; trouble falling asleep, lack of time asleep & low quality sleep.
Physical symptoms are often closely linked to mood as well as decision making.
Long term sleep disruption can result in more serious mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression & cognitive issues.
When we feel overwhelmed or anxious some people eat large amounts of unhealthy food. While others see their desire to eat completely shut down.
Responses are highly individual. However they originate from the release of stress hormones, activating the sympathetic nervous system and triggering the body’s fight-or-flight response.
Acute & Chronic Fatigue
Fatigue is a general term used to describe physical and mental tiredness beyond normal weariness.
Physical responses of fatigue include reduced capability to produce force & diminished co-ordination.
Mental responses include; sleepiness, decreased attention & reduced ability to perform cognitive tasks.
Motivation is our desire to act in a certain way, or carry out particular behaviours which have a goal orientated outcome.
It’s not unusual for motivation to come in peak and troughs.
However, amongst other symptoms this post, if you find yourself questioning what was once a crystal clear desire – it’s probably time for a break.