Overwork is extremely common and at the same time is a dangerous phenomenon for athletes, fraught with disastrous consequences, including a dramatic decrease in sports results and achievements, as well as a complete loss of interest in the once-beloved and exciting sport. At the same time, the signs and symptoms of this deviation are extremely insidious, it is not as easy or difficult to recognize it in time as it might seem, because often athletes confuse fatigue with the simple blues or seasonal ailments.
Without realizing that mental, psychological, and physical fatigue has affected you, you are putting yourself at serious risk. A detailed examination of athletes prone to excessive fatigue reveals such “sores” and ailments as muscle damage, increased levels of enzymes in the blood, decreased glycogen levels, neuroses, and many others. If strong and even mild over fatigue is not diagnosed promptly and does not begin to systematically fight it, then sports results will inexorably begin to decline, and progress will completely come to a hult.
OVERWORK AND FATIGUE IN SPORTS, WHAT IS IT, IS IT WORTH IT TO BE AFRAID?
I think it’s worth starting the description from the very basics, that is, from theory. So, from a scientific point of view, the concept of what over fatigue is, the next is a state that arises when the phenomena of fatigue are layered, in which the body does not have time to recover, physically and mentally, during a certain period of time between workouts, i.e. psychologically. This phenomenon is characterized by the preservation of a longer feeling of fatigue under load, a deterioration in general well-being, sleep disturbance, increased fatigue, mood instability, and other problems. Please note that, in general, the training performance of an athlete may not increase or decrease, but insignificantly, however, in any case, difficulties in reproducing new motor skills will become noticeable and it will be impossible not to notice the occurrence of technical errors.
There is also a slightly different definition, according to which fatigue and overwork is a condition characterized by the accumulation of fatigue phenomena, due to the fact that the body does not have time to recover during the intervals, separating intense physical and psychological stress (in sports, this is training, in-office work it can be regular checks and so on, everything here is individual and largely depends on the field of activity in which the person has encountered the described deviation). At the same time, some general problems are observed, in particular in sports, these are a decrease in strength indicators, a deterioration in coordination, concentration, an extension of the recovery period and the already noted errors of a technical nature and difficulties with the reproduction of new motor skills.
It is important to say that the visceral disorders, which are often observed, when the overwork of the athlete’s body makes itself felt, and not only, can be considered as consequences of changes in the functional state of the brain – they can affect neurohumoral processes in the body, can affect hormonal, visceral and autonomic functions … At the same time, in the clinic of such a deviation as mental overwork and physical, it is customary to distinguish several stages, indistinctly limited from each other, but having their own certain unique features.
The first stage is characterized by the absence of significant complaints, or occasionally a person may complain of minor sleep disturbances, expressed in frequent awakenings, and poor sleep. Also, over fatigue of the first stage in sports and other areas may be accompanied by a lack of a sense of rest after sleep, decreased appetite, attention, and concentration, in very rare cases, a decrease in efficiency and activity. At the same time, obvious signs of the first stage of fatigue are such deviations as a deterioration in the body’s adaptability to psychological and emotional stress, plus subtle deterioration in motor coordination.
When there is stronger, significant overwork of the body, which can be called a deviation of the second stage, then numerous complaints appear, plus, functional disorders in many body systems and a decrease in physical performance begin to make themselves apparent. More specifically, the athlete may begin to notice apathy, lethargy, drowsiness, increased aggressiveness and irritability, combined with a significant decrease in appetite. For some, nervous overwork in general and other types of it, in particular, physical, can help to slow down the involvement in any work. It becomes difficult for a person to do new things, in fact, as well as old ones.
In turn, the third stage is characterized by the most dangerous deviations. This is the development of neurasthenia (in the hypersthenic or hyposthenic form) and in general, a significant deterioration in the general condition of a person. Such overwork of the brain and body can be accompanied by exhaustion, rapid fatigue, complete apathy, sleepiness during the day, serious psychological disorders, and functional disorders in the work of the body’s systems that are dangerous to our health.
OVERWORK REASONS AND SIGNS
For quite a long time in psychology and the field of sports medicine, it was believed that the main signs of physical and mental fatigue and indicating their onset, are reduced sports results. In principle, the opinion of experts on this matter has not changed much these days. Various points of view were expressed about the causes of these ailments.
If you make a little historical inquiry, you will notice that scientists in the past have long argued about what the causes of overwork are or can be. Because of what this ailment manifests itself in sports. So in the studies of A. N. Krestovnikov, the opinion is expressed that the main reason for the occurrence of this deviation is systematic stress and increased demands on the body, which even in a well-trained athlete, instead of increasing results, cause them to decrease.
In the opinion of Ya. B. Lekhtman and GL Komendantov, the main causes of physical and nervous overwork are repeated, monotonous training sessions or competitions leading to the summation of the phenomena of fatigue. Other theories were also expressed, in particular, it was argued that the main problem of the accumulation of fatigue is insufficient rest and all other factors, aspects, and symptoms are already its consequences. That is, at first, due to the fact that the athlete rests little, fatigue accumulates and only after that, will more serious deviations begin to develop, which, in principle, is logical and in fact, it is as close to the truth as possible.
Modern medicine and science does not deny the statements of researchers of the past, they only to a certain extent clarify and supplement them. With enough meticulousness, you may find that in virtually, all textbooks these days agree that the causes of overwork and fatigue differ from person to person. For someone this greatest load is exerted by the same type of training sessions, for someone, there are frequent competitions, for others, responsibility is the hardest load, and so on.
In general, today it is customary to single out the following reasons for the overwork of an athlete (this may partially differ depending on the source):
- Excessive level of emotional pressure and stress (as if from the audience, the coach, due to frequent performances requiring a high level of training, etc.);
- Excessive training volumes and volumes of competitive activity (this is simple, heavy loads, lead to large overloads);
- Physical exhaustion, insufficient rest or lack of adequate sleep (I think there is no need to explain anything here);
- Uniformity in training and in sports in general due to a large number of repetitions (events, exercises, etc.).
In turn, the symptoms and signs of overwork in sports can be distinguished as follows:
- Apathy, lethargy, and sleep disturbances;
- Weight loss and impaired appetite;
- Digestive disorders;
- Increased heart rate;
- Sudden mood swings;
- Increased blood pressure at rest;
- Partial or significant decrease in performance;
- Recovery delay after physical. and psychological stress;
- Deceleration of retraction into work;
- Deterioration of the adaptive abilities of the body and others.
Here is something else that is important to remember: separately should single out such a negative phenomenon as “burnt out” or “burnout” since it has its own signs and symptoms. So, “burnout” is a complex psychological reaction caused by the individual, sometimes excessive, often ineffective efforts aimed at satisfying increased competitive and, or training needs.
What are the symptoms of overwork, the so-called “burnout” and what the initial signs are? There are a lot of them and they are all unique in their own way:
- First, the lack of desire to speak;
- Second, loss of interest;
- Third, sleep disturbances and physical/psychological fatigue;
- Fourth, decreased self-esteem;
- Fifth, mood disorders and headaches;
- Sixth, increased anxiety and other disorders.
Again, we note that signs of fatigue in each athlete can manifest themselves in their own way. Someone has the greatest changes in mood, someone has a loss of working capacity or someone has a decrease in their body weight and so on. Finding two people who show identical symptoms of physical and nervous overwork is as difficult as finding two athletes who are identical in their sports achievements.
OVERWORK PREVENTION, HOW TO FIGHT?
Here is some general information that may be useful to athletes. For more complete preparation of a treatment and prevention plan, it is best to contact a specialist who will be able to draw up the most effective recovery course based on your individual factors.
So, first, remember that preventing overwork is a largely individual based process. What is it about? The fact that for someone, for the best recovery, a simple full-fledged sleep is enough, someone will need an additional, but not burdening hobby to relax, someone will need a series of serious measures in the form of taking auxiliary pharmacology, for example, nootropics.
In general, when the so-called fatigue of the first stage is observed, it is usually advised to temporarily reduce physical and psychological stress, while changing the daily routine by 2-4 weeks. The prevention of fatigue and overwork of the body in such cases is based on a general decrease in the volume of loads. The exclusion of over-long and intense exercises. Particular attention should also be paid to general physical fitness, which must be carried out with light exertion. In the process of improving a person’s condition, treatment, prevention of overwork changes and the regime gradually returns to normal (this usually it takes 2-4 weeks).
What measures for the prevention and treatment of overwork are advised when the second stage is observed? Everything is a little more serious here. First, you should make rest a part of your daily routine, it is best to replace intensive loads for 1-2 weeks with active rest. Only then, after a few months (1-2 months), carry out a gradual inclusion in the usual mode, according to the plan described above. At the same time, it is forbidden to violate this regime of the day and rest, you must clearly know how you will recover and what exactly to do, without improvisation.
In turn, the treatment of overwork for more serious problems, which were previously attributed to the third stage, is slightly different. Here, a sufficiently long period (in the region of 2 weeks) should be set aside for complete rest and recovery in clinical conditions under the supervision of specialists (in sports, this can be a coach who does not allow physical deterioration or doctors, in a normal situation a therapist and psychologist, etc.). After that, the person is usually assigned active rest and only then the gradual inclusion in the usual regimen for 2-3 months. All this time, it is not recommended to carry out task that carry large amounts of physical and psychological stress.
It is important to understand here that the methods of preventing overwork will be effective only in situations where the causes of fatigue are systematically eliminated and clear measures are taken in accordance with a person’s lifestyle (for athletes, they are alone, for office workers, others). With all this, you should not forget about the fortification of the body, especially vitamin C, vitamins B, and E. What else can be taken to prevent overwork or for treatment? Many different tools. In particular, in certain situations, sedatives and nootropics can bring a lot of benefits. You can also buy biologically active supplements (COMPLEX VITAMINS) if there is a reason. In more severe cases, you may even need hormonal drugs (hormones of the gonads, hormones of the adrenal cortex, along with others).
Some more tips that may be useful to you in the prevention of fatigue overwork is primarily based on eliminating the causes that caused them. Therefore, loads to maintain physical fitness should be carried out only with the proper level of training. In this case, intensive training should be alternated or combined with other types of activities, for example, with active mental activity, especially on the eve of important events (you can and sometimes need to be distracted, at least partially, but you should not lose your main focus and concentration!).
Also, make sure that during the recovery period, when measures are taken to treat overwork, problems such as sleep disturbances, nutritional disorders, psychological and physical trauma, body intoxication, and the foci of chronic infectious diseases are eliminated. It seems that this is obvious, but we still say that intensive exercises, whether mental or physical, are contraindicated in a state of convalescence and after the illness.
THE STATE OF OVERTRAINING IN BODYBUILDING AND IN GENERAL IN SPORTS
Let’s start again with the basics, namely territory, and description. So, here is the definition of what and what kind of overtraining it is, in contrast to overwork, this is a pathological condition, manifested by a violation of adaptation achieved as a result of training in functional readiness, changes in the functional activity of the body systems and other serious enough problems that can lead to a deterioration in sports results …
It is important to understand that such a deviation as overtraining of an athlete in bodybuilding or some other sport, is often based on overstrain of cortical processes, therefore, the leading signs here are changes in the central nervous system, for example, neuroses (physical disorders that do not have to be in the foreground). Also, changes in the endocrine system, mainly the pituitary and adrenal glands, can play a large role. Disorders that occur in various organs and organ systems such as; the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, etc. are considered secondary.
It should be noted that the above rather serious symptoms, deviations in the functionality of the central nervous system, are in fact already a statement of the fact that the state of overtraining has made itself known. All because it takes much more time to restore the nervous system than to bring the muscles and the physical component of the body in general to the required tone. Even with serious injuries to muscles, ligaments, joints, etc. Their recovery usually takes as much time as the recovery of the central nervous system. Of course, there are exceptions, but these are all isolated cases that occasionally get out of the general statistics.
In bodybuilding athletes using AAS, the state of overtraining takes on a slightly different character. The fact is that due to seeming or actual faster recovery, such athletes regularly go beyond, subjecting themselves to extreme stress, which ultimately leads to unnecessary fatigue from training. In turn, the consequences of overtraining for athletes taking steroids can be the most serious, as this is the loss of achieved sports results and even a loss of interest in their favourite activity.
In general, in modern sports practice, it is customary to distinguish that there are different types, stages of overtraining; I and II stages or type. They are characterized by different causes, consequences and symptoms and are generally unique in their own way.
The main reasons for type 1 of overtraining are severe physical and psychological fatigue, usually occurring against the background of a violation of the training process or the recovery process. Also among the reasons are bad habits (including the frequent use of alcohol or smoking), trauma, somatic and infectious diseases, and serious emotional experiences.
When such overtraining of an athlete is observed, in sports and in everyday life, their body is in constant tension, consumes energy uneconomically and catabolism begins to prevail over anabolism, which is very critical. Plus, certain symptoms of overtraining may appear, among which the most frequently recorded are; neurotic, vegetative-dystonic syndrome and others.
Neurotic syndrome, when an athlete overtraining makes itself felt, characterized by various subjective sensations, this is a general weakness with lethargy and increased fatigue, as well as others. Often in such cases, mood changes, motivation falls, interest in training and in sports in general. Signs of overtraining, such as obsessive compulsions, may also occur. The athlete may begin to think that they simply cannot achieve their goals as they begin to think about the pointlessness of training, phobias and even the fear of the public may arise. Often in such situations, athletes begin to complain about diseases and ailments that they do not have, for example, seeming abnormalities within the work of the heart. Again, everything here is very individual and depends on the personal characteristics of a person.
In turn, vegetative-dystonic syndrome with overtraining is fairly frequent, if not the most common deviation in sports among those that have already been mentioned. This syndrome is most clearly characterized by inadequate reactions of the body to the physical load and other functional tests. All this ultimately translates into some sometimes minor and sometimes significant changes in appearance, such consequences of overtraining and symptoms as pallor, blue under the eyes, dilation of the pupils and deterioration of reflexes, etc.
There are other characteristic signs of overtraining, more precisely, manifestations of the vegetative-dystonic syndrome such as; excessive sweating (cold and wet palms, feet), vasomotor reactions of the face (for example, redness), an unreasonable increase in heart rate at rest and others. All this sometimes, even if a whole complex of deviations is manifested, it is not so easy to detect and diagnose, but with an experienced specialist (trainer or sports doctor), they will be able to cope with it with a bang.
The second stage or type, which determines the overtraining of the muscles and the whole body, is rather passive. What are we talking about? Let’s explain it now. With excessive volumes of developing work against the background of a sufficiently high level of endurance, a kind of excessive economy of ensuring muscle activity begins to appear. As a result, even with physiological capabilities and with an almost complete absence of serious pathological symptoms, an athlete cannot show these results. This is the main sign that a state of overtraining of the second type has manifested itself and become apparent. There is only one way out of this situation, which is a change in the type of muscle activity for a long time (usually several months).