“It’s better to give 10% too little than to give 2% too much” I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard these words spoken by Loren Seagrave, one of the world’s premier sports performance enhancement coaches.
It was counterintuitive to every piece of “go hard till you collapse” advice that I’d picked up in the world of athletics and fitness. Yet, it made sense. 10% too little, you live to fight another day. 2% too much, and you’re stuck rehabbing an injury for 3 months, and still may not ever be the same again. It changed the way that I would coach and train forever. Results? Minimized injury, and enhanced performance.
What is Overtraining?
- Overtraining is an overused word. The truth is 100% is 100%. If you dig deep and push past a certain pain threshold, run through burning lungs and lactic build up, push through fatigue to get downfield – you’re giving it your all. Thats 100%.
- 102% is when your volume and intensity are excessively high. You feel the side of your knee unusually click, and you decide that you should wrap up your workout with squat jumps. It may or may not cause injury, but the risk is certainly higher. That 2% is on the fine line between giving everything you have, and giving everything plus some you don’t have.
How Can You Tell?
- To be honest, everyone is different. That 100% that I spoke about earlier is a ceiling. You can literally raise your roof through very intense training to the point where it would be very difficult for you to overtrain, because what your body can withstand is very high.
- A few signs that you can look for are constant fatigue, lack of overall joy, low energy levels, persistent nagging injuries, loss of appetite. It just really hits you in a “sad rolling ball in that commercial” way.
How to Avoid It
- Progressive overload. I’m a huge fan of the adaptive capabilities of the human body. You have to find those limits, and then push them so you can set new limits over and over again. Push your body to the point that injury will have a hard time even finding it, but do it progressively. Don’t go from squatting 95 lbs to dropping 6 plates on a bar the next week. You will get there, my friend. Give your body time to adapt to the stress that you’re putting it through. Work at your respective 100% every time (effort-wise) and one day you’ll look up and be exactly where you envisioned yourself from the start.