Overtraining And Undertraining: The Sneaky Reasons Behind Your Sports Injuries

Sports injuries can occur for a variety of reasons, most of which are readily identificable. For example, you know your sprained ankle resulted from a misstep, or your chronic knee pain can be traced to wearing the wrong shoes. Some injuries, however, have seemingly no apparent cause, and these can be the most frustrating to understand and can cause you to lose motivation. There are actually two sneaky phenomenons that can result in sports injuries and issues with motivation: overtraining and undertraining.


Regardless of what sport you play, the road to improved performance is not always paved with more training. "Overtraining," or "overtraining syndrome" as sports medicine professionals often call it, is the combination of over-exertion and insufficient rest time. There are many motivating factors behind overtraining, including a desire to lose weight, increase performance, or increase muscle size more rapidly. Unfortunately, these desired results are seldom achieved through overtraining. Though your spirit and dedication to your goal may be mighty, your body simply cannot accomplish these goals when you push it too hard. 

Rest is required for improvement. One of the most difficult facts that athletes must accept is that muscles need recovery time just as much as they need training. When you push yourself, tiny muscle fibers tear, your muscle cells swell, and proteins break down. The only way that you can grow stronger is by giving your muscles the time they need to repair the damage inflicted by your strenuous workout. 

Your motivation needs time off. When you push yourself to the point of overtraining, your enthusiasm suffers a blow. Workouts are harder and more painful when you push yourself too hard, and you will have a more difficult time giving your workouts your all when you are chronically hurting. Furthermore, overtraining seldom improves performance, and can actually cause to to perform at a level even lower than you enjoyed before you overtrained. Trying to stay motivated when your enthusiasm and hard work gives you no results can be devastating to your ability to stick with your training. If you overtrain, you have likely experienced this "burnout."

You will be injured. Sports injuries commonly result from overtraining because you are simply pushing your body too hard. Your muscles will be too tired and too overexerted to keep up, and you face a high risk of injuring yourself because you have left your muscles in a weaker position than you were in before the strenuous workout. 


So, if overtraining poses such a risk to improved athletic improvement and fitness goal accomplishment, is the answer to err on the side of caution and radically scale back? Hardly!

Overtraining leads to injuries because your muscles simply cannot keep up; "undertraining," on the other hand, leads to injuries because your muscles are not capable of performing at the level you expect. You would think that fresh, rested muscles would, when called upon, contribute to maximum performance, but this is only partially true. 

Muscles must be broken for you to build them. As you now know, overtraining your muscles is unproductive because it results in muscles that have been challenged and broken down, but denied the opportunity to grow stronger in anticipation of the next strenuous event. If you undertrain, on the other hand, you are not challenging your muscles to the point of breaking them down. Thus, there is no need for the rest period. because your muscles have no idea what a challenge is and have no need to become stronger. 

No results leads to no motivation. One of the most commonly reported reasons why people give up on their training regimens is because they do not see results. What is the point of committing time in your busy schedule for training when that training is not giving you the results you seek? By undertraining, you will not likely see results regardless of what your goal may be. 

You will be injured. Because undertraining inadequately prepares your muscles for the athletic performance that you expect from yourself, your muscles will fail you when you try to push yourself. For example, if you are training for a marathon but your training program does not include runs longer than three or five miles, your muscles will not know how to react when you expect them to support you at a longer distance and for a longer duration. 

Talk to professionals, like those at Personal Foot Care, LLC, who can help you manage your training load with the proper pacing and equipment to help you in your workout sessions.