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The Heart Rate Method to Prevent Overtraining

By Eric Wong, BSc, CSCS

overtrainingOvertraining sucks.

Not only are you tired, less powerful, and weaker, you're generally also moody and maybe even depressed, you tend to get sick easier, and you don't recover at all from workouts, meaning your progress will plateau.

If you've ever been in a chronic state of overtraining, you know how bad it is.

If you've never been there, you don't want to experience it.

But there is a difference between chronic overtraining, and just being spent from working hard.

Chronic overtraining takes time to get into, and time to get out of.

If you're spent from just training hard, you're ready to go the next day after some good food and rest.

So here's a simple method you can use to detect and prevent overtraining syndrome early, based on your resting heart rate.

To measure your resting heart rate, follow these steps:

  1. I like to get up, hit the john, go downstairs, then I sit at the table, take a few deep breaths, then track my pulse over 60 seconds. If you do it for less time, you run into more error.

  2. Whatever this number is (mine's usually around 56), write it down on a calendar.

  3. Make sure you do the same routine every morning.

Now, if you notice that your resting heart rate suddenly starts climbing daily, like if mine went to 58, then 59, then 61, where it was relatively stable before, you might want to back off and take a good rest day, get a good night's sleep, do some relaxing activities, and eat well, making sure you get good quality fats in all day.

A couple of beats up or down isn't a big deal, but once you get to 4 beats or more, you'd better pay attention.

This will generally happen before you start getting other physical or mental symptoms, so it'll help you nip overtraining in the bud.

You might even need a couple of easy days. Go for long walks or something, just don't exert too hard.

Of course, this doesn't apply to you if you're not training, because this will just show your heart is getting deconditioned.

This whole routine takes you just over a minute to do, but that minute you spend every day is well worth it if you end up avoiding a chronic overtraining state, which could take you weeks to get out of.

What's actually happening is that if you're training too hard, like doing too much volume in your workouts, or trying to go too hard all the time without proper recovery (nutrition, sleep), or even if you're training normally then suddenly something really stressful happens in your life, your sympathetic nervous system gets overworked, it's not your muscles.

If the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is constantly activated without proper rest, it creates a new 'set-point' where it stays elevated even when it's not supposed to.

The shitty thing is that when the SNS is active, your muscles don't recover, your immune system gets depressed, sleep gets worse, and more wonderful things.

So if you're a serious fighter and you're training hard, use this free and easy tool to keep you in top shape, all year round.

Train smart,


ps. This is all from my Ultimate MMA Strength and Conditioning Program.

Because of the the way the program is designed, you likely won't even come close to overtraining, you'll just continue to get stronger and more powerful and increase your chances of dominating your opponents...


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