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Overtraining vs Under Recovering

Here at Made 2 Move, the clients of our physical therapists know they need to train and they know they need to recover. But what is the appropriate balance between training and recovery? How do you know if what you’re feeling is a result of overtraining or or under recovering? Below we will delve into the intricacies of both recovery and training.

What is Overtraining?

Overtraining Syndrome (OTS) can be defined as “a persistent imbalance between training and recovery among athletes, which may lead to decreased performance and fatigue” (Cadegiani et. al 2020). Sounds pretty self explanatory, right? If you don’t balance training and recovery, then your performance will suffer.

By this definition, overtraining is simply an unbalanced equation. The amount of time and effort we put into our actual workouts and physical therapy does not equal the amount of time and effort we put into recovering. Thus, our bodies begin to feel out of whack. “Everybody sees all the commercials where everybody is working hard, sweating hard, doing everything they need to do, but you never see anybody talk about all that time that you need for that hard work to take root.” says Kristen Dieffenbach PhD, assistant professor of athletic coaching education at West Virginia University.

For most people, it’s probably not overtraining, but rather under recovering. World class and elite powerlifter Chad Aichs sums up under recovery well. Aichs states, “In the great majority of the cases I've seen, it isn't the training that is the problem. It's the lack of recovery that is needed to keep up with that training...ideally, training and recovery would get equal focus in order to make the greatest gains.” We’ve all heard it. It’s not just the hour or two in the gym that matters but also the other 22 hours of your day. Your body can handle high training loads if you want to train hard, but only if you balance the equation with proper and sufficient recovery.

What if we shifted our focus from “I guess I’m exercising too much” to “I must not be recovering properly”? In doing this, we can lay out a more tangible means by which to take care of our bodies instead of just ceasing all exercise for fear of overtraining. So what are the sig