I am continually getting the question, “what is the overtrained state, or what does overtrained mean?”  So let’s revisit some key components, symptoms, and treatment.

Entering this state is often precipitated by continually high volume and or intensity without adequate rest, and includes performance decline with other typical stress-related psychological, psychosomatic, and physiological symptoms and signs that can be graded from mild to severe. Mild forms include psychological and psychosomatic symptoms (e.g., anger, fatigue, tension, loss of appetite, lethargy, or sexual unwillingness), some short-term sleep problems, and muscle fatigue. It can also include immune system and or hormonal disturbances such as upper respiratory infections and menstrual irregularities. Severe forms include symptoms such as depression, severe long-term insomnia, and long-term muscle soreness. If any of this sounds familiar or commonplace, you need to take a step back and seriously analyze what you’re doing while you take the next 2-3 days off. If you conclude that you’re at the more chronic/severe end of the spectrum, I highly recommend you seek a professional coach – one who’s degreed, certified in numerous areas, and has years of racing and coaching experience. This person can get you back on track and salvage your season, not to mention your health.  Delving a little deeper, if you recently are experiencing decreased performance, increased fatigue, sleep disturbances or inability to remain asleep at night or during naps, sudden persistent and more pronounced muscle soreness, increase injuries (i.e. stress fractures, muscle strains, biomechanical injuries due to inattentiveness…) increased irritability, elevated training and resting heart rate (HR), appetite changes in either direction, feeling of heaviness or lethargy (just feeling exhausted overall), or out of energy – what we used to refer to as being “burned out”, then you have more than likely entered the “downward spiral of the overtrained state” as I like to call it.  At this point you must significantly increase your rest and time off in order to get back to that adequately recovered state.  You must “soul search”, make an honest assessment, and take time off.  Depending upon where you are, this may mean days, or even weeks or months if you’re severely overtrained.  First, take the next 48 hours totally off, and then reassess after this period.  During this period, I usually prescribe extra rest – whether naps or just staying off of your feet, a sports massage, Epsom (Magnesium Sulfate) Salts Baths, Ice or Ice/Heat Therapy, Stim Therapy or Electronic Stimulation therapy with devices such as a Marc Pro or Compex Stimulation Unit are also very beneficial in muscle recovery and repair.  Along with these therapies, it’s even more critical to stay hydrated.  If you’re HR is still elevated, and the overall feelings are still unchanged, then continue with another 48 hours off and reassess.  For most of you, you’ll be feeling like a tiger again in 48 – 72 hours, and be able to pull yourself back into a healthy trained state.  It is most helpful when others (i.e. coaches, training partners, teammates, family members) can assist you with an objective viewpoint, as they may observe cues or stimuli that you may not realize you’re exhibiting.  So if you remember nothing else, remember that considering all of the Optimal Performance Components, “Recovery is just as Important as Training Itself©”!  So go out and place emphasis on your recovery, because I know you’re going to focus on your training, and if you have learned how your body responds and recovers, then you will progress towards your optimal performance potentials.  Don’t ignore these signs – as they may become very serious to your health, not to mention future performances.  If you have more questions, just ask the coach.

Todd Parker is a World-Renowned Cycling & Triathlon Coach, Influencer within the Sports & Fitness Industries, and Corporate Wellness Consultant – consulted by Coaches, Athletes, Corporations, Governing Bodies, and Sports Supplement, Gear, and Apparel Companies Worldwide.  Todd’s a former Professional Triathlete, Elite Cyclist, Personal Trainer, Strength Coach, Public Speaker, Guest Lecturer, and Professor. Besides his expertise in consulting in Training and Coaching, Todd is also Armed Protective Services Bodyguard, Antiterrorism, Counterterrorism expert and a Corporate/Government Security Consultant.  You can reach Todd at: TP2Coaching@gmail.com , by appointment only, or at his secure site https://toddparkertrainingprograms.com/ 

Man asleep on sofa, close-up

“Training and Recovery are Cumulative, so remember that every day – even if the day’s Goal is Recovery, you must know what the goals of that training session or day are, and abide by them.”  If your coach or trainer tells you to take the Day Off to adequately Recover, rest, and stay off your legs, then that’s exactly what you must do.  Add in naps, and you’re on track to come out of Winter stronger than ever before.  Regardless of what you may know or see of others out there riding or running…, your Goal for the Day is Recovery (period).  Remember this if you remember nothing else I state here; and that is, “Recovery is Just as Important as Training Itself.”  Until you learn this, you’ll never, and I mean never, reach your Optimal Performance Potential.  After all, isn’t that what we’re aiming for?  Furthermore, you’re never likely to feel fresh and invigorated going into and while performing a workout.  Therefore, if you’re training/exercising 5, 6, or even 7 days a week for close to an hour or more and sometimes 2 or 3-a-days, every session should not be “all out” or “overreaching”.  Yes, there are elite multi-sport athletes that can manage 3-a-days.  To avoid what I call “the downward spiral of the overtrained state”, you cannot overreach consistently day after day.  Decades ago we called that “burn out”.  Regardless of what you want to call it, you have to incorporate easy days at a low intensity effort.  By incorporating recovery sessions, recovery days, and recovery weeks, and days off, you’ll not only avoid overtraining and feel fresher more often, you will also be stronger for it.  It is during those recovery periods that you get stronger – and not while you’re training or exercising at high intensity.  You see, as athletes/exercisers, “we never fully recover”; however, the key is that we “adequately recover”.  This is what you pay your coach or trainer for – to manage your recovery levels as well as your training prescriptions.  For more on training and “The Art and Science of Recovery”, search for other tips and articles I’ve authored, or visit https://toddparkertrainingprograms.com/ to reach out to me.

Todd Parker is a World-Renowned Fitness Industry Leader & Corporate Wellness Consultant – consulted by Corporations, Governing Bodies, and Sports Supplement, Gear, and Apparel Companies Worldwide.  Todd’s a former Professional Triathlete, Elite Cyclist, Personal Trainer, Strength Coach, and Professor with a Masters in Exercise Physiology & Human Performance.  Todd is also an experienced exercise physiologist, professional bike fitter, certified cycling coach, and endurance sports coach.  

You can reach Todd at: TP2Coaching@gmail.com , by appointment only, or on this secure site https://toddparkertrainingprograms.com/ 

 

 

 

All too often you’ll read articles or hear discussions about the importance of electrolytes for endurance athletes.  Electrolytes are ionized minerals that conduct electrical impulses and action potentials (e.g. contraction of a muscle), and are present throughout the human body.  Simply put, the balance of the electrolytes is critical for normal function of cells and organs.  A majority of the focus has been sodium (Na+), calcium (Ca2+), and potassium (K), which will be discussed in other articles.  Unfortunately, magnesium (Mg2+) is often overlooked, yet plays a critical role for extended bouts of muscular contractions and cramp prevention – just as much as the other three.  Most people do not realize that magnesium plays an important role in Ca2+ and oxygen (O2) transport throughout the cells of the human body.  In fact, more than 300 nerve impulses and enzymatic reactions require magnesium as a co-factor.  Besides Ca2+ and O2 transport, magnesium can directly affect sodium and potassium inter-cellular transport throughout cells as well.  Longer and more intense exercise can deplete magnesium levels.  Mg+ is excreted primarily through sweat and urine, therefore, cold fluids (empty out of the gut faster) are the preferred choice for replenishment during exercise.  Regardless of the type of sport or exercise, muscular contractions could not consistently occur without magnesium’s presence.  Through aerobic and anaerobic metabolism – glycolysis occurs, in short, oxygen is delivered and utilized via magnesium.  Therefore, O2 delivery to working musculature and energy production in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (the source for all energy production) would not happen without magnesium presence.  Magnesium is found in unrefined whole grain breads and cereals, as well as green leafy vegetables, lentils, peas, beans, nuts, and seeds.  Meat, fish, fruit, dairy products, and processed foods are poor sources for magnesium.  Magnesium imbalances may often be caused by things such as diuretics (e.g. caffeine), alcohol consumption, sweat loss, and both high intensity and endurance (or extended periods of) exercise.

For athletes, especially those training and racing in endurance sports, magnesium deficiency indicators may be one or more of the following:

 

  • abnormal muscular weakness
  • muscular cramping and “locking”
  • muscular spasms
  • impaired glucose breakdown (for ATP/energy production)
  • inability to sustain exercise intensity for extended periods
  • irregular heartbeat (e.g. elevated performance heart rate)
  • disorientation and confusion

 

Conversely, excess magnesium is filtered by the kidneys; however, if overly excessive, kidney function is adversely affected.  When this occurs, just as with deficiency, side effects may surface in the form of muscular spasms, and as I call it, muscular “locking”.  Through proper monitoring, athletes can often supplement with 300-900 milligrams (mg) per day without contraindications.  Larger dosages as in 700-900mg, should be broken up into 2-3 dosages throughout the day with food.  Female athletes should supplement at the lower end of this range, and don’t normally require any dosage above 300-400 mg.  If O2 uptake increases are a result, no matter how minor, could (for example) improve a cyclists sustained power output.  At ~5,500 revolutions per hour, such impacts may facilitate improved performances over normal homeostatic processes.  In summary, if you’re an endurance athlete or you exercise for either long periods or extremely high intensity, look for beverages that not only have calcium, potassium, and sodium, but ones with magnesium as well.  If you’re cramping during longer training sessions or races, and have ensured that the other three are being replenished, then there’s a good chance what you’re experiencing is attributable to low magnesium levels.

Todd Parker is a former Professional Triathlete and holds
a Masters in Exercise Physiology from San Jose State University. 
Todd is an exercise physiologist, certified cycling and endurance
sports coach, strength coach, and personal trainer.  You can reach
Todd at: TP2Coaching@gmail.com , 215.80.Coach (215.802.6224),

or at his secure website https://toddparkertrainingprograms.com/ 

 

Magnesium isn’t the precursor for contraction and relaxation of muscle, but it delivers potassium and calcium, which are.  Magnesium is essential in the creation and delivery of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) – the energy source in all human movement.  On the muscular recovery and rebuilding end of the spectrum, protein would not by synthesized, or combined and processed at the cellular level without Magnesium.  So, in short, Magnesium plays important roles in your metabolism – the delivery and usage of fuel, and on the repairing and rebuilding of muscular “damage” from rigorous training/exercise via the protein processing cycle.  For most, 200-500mg per day is sufficient; whereas, those athletes training and competing 10 or more hours per week, may take up to 800-900mg per day, with food, and preferably broken up into 2-3 doses.   For more information, on Magnesium, deficiency symptoms/impacts, or the other three of what I call “the Big 4” (Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium), feel free to contact me at TP2Coaching@gmail.com  or at my secure website https://toddparkertrainingprograms.com/ .

Blog Dialog & Spam

July 12, 2013

Dear Readers,

Unfortunately I receive approximately 100 Spam comments a day on this Blog, and find that maybe 1 out of 500 is legitimate.  This is very unfortunate.  In the future, if you have a question, comment, or want to dialog about a topic, please email me via the contact form first so that I know to post it, respond to it, and get a healthy dialog going.   Thank You.  Respectfully, Coach Todd Parker, M.A., M.S.

Have a long and intense training session ending close to lunchtime and not sure how to refuel well?  Consider some quality carbs such as pasta with good lean protein such as shrimp, chicken, or lean beef.  That’s a good power-recovery lunch that will replenish the glycogen stores (stored sugar fuel simply stated) and the necessary protein to help repair muscle damage.  A good spinach or arugula salad with some tomatoes, carrots… with a simple olive oil, lemon juice, and sea or kosher salt will provide some great vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and electrolytes. Whenever we have intense training or racing, there is some minor microscopic tearing of muscle fibers; however, when adequately repaired and recovered – bounce back with new added strength and endurance.  The protein and recovery time will repair and help prepare you for subsequent training/racing in the days and weeks to come.  Also make sure that water is a major component for the remainder of the day.  Adequate hydration is a 24/7 deal; however, after a considerable amount of work, it becomes even more critical to recovery and cell repair.  For more tips, link up on either https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Coach-Parker/122623211181590?fref=ts

or https://www.facebook.com/#!/CoachToddParker

PNF means proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, is a form of stretching in which a muscle is alternately stretched passively and contracted. The technique targets nerve receptors in the muscles to extend the muscle length and/or joint range of motion (ROM).  PNF stretching is used to supplement daily stretching and is employed to make quick gains in ROM to help athletes improve performance.  Good range of motion makes better biomechanics, reduces fatigue, aids in clearing residual lactic acid from training or racing, and helps prevent overuse injuries.  Sports massage techniques (typically) used with a warming oil also help facilitate residual lactic acid clearance and muscle recovery from intense training sessions or racing.  As your Coach if he or she has this expertise, and if so, ask to have this incorporated into your personal sessions.  By doing so, you’ll notice more fluid strokes and strides, as well as fewer incidences of knee and low back strains…etc.

More questions?  Get in touch with Coach Parker on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Coach-Parker/122623211181590?fref=ts CoachParker

http://www.facebook.com/#!/CoachToddParker CoachToddParker

or the company website at:

http://www.toddparkertrainingprograms.com/ TP2 – Todd Parker Training Programs

Overtrained Athlete

If you recently are experiencing decreased performance, increased fatigue, sleep disturbances or inability to remain asleep at night or during naps, sudden persistent and more pronounced muscle soreness, increase injuries (i.e. stress fractures, muscle strains, biomechanical injuries due to inattentiveness…) increased irritability, elevated training and resting heart rate (HR), appetite changes in either direction, feeling of heaviness or lethargy (just feeling exhausted overall), or out of energy – what we used to refer to as being “burned out”, then you have more than likely entered the “downward spiral of the overtrained state” as I like to call it.  At this point you must significantly increase your rest and time off in order to get back to that adequately recovered state.  You must “soul search”, make an honest assessment, and take time off.  Depending upon where you are, this may mean days, or even weeks or months if you’re severely overtrained.  First, take the next 48 hours totally off, and then reassess after this period.  If you’re HRs are still elevated and the overall feelings are still unchanged, then continue with another 48 hours off and reassess.  For most of you, you’ll be feeling like a tiger again in 48 – 72 hours, and be able to pull yourself back into a healthy trained state.  It is most helpful when others (i.e. coaches, training partners, teammates, family members) can assist you with an objective viewpoint, as they may observe cues or stimuli that you may not realize you’re exhibiting.  So if you remember nothing else, remember that considering all of the Optimal Performance Components, RECOVERY IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS THE TRAINING ITSELF!  So go out and place emphasis on your recovery, because I know you’re going to focus on your training, and if you have learned how your body responds and recovers, then you will progress towards your optimal performance potentials.

Todd Parker is a World-renowned Fitness Industry Leader & Corporate Wellness Speaker,  former Professional Triathlete, Elite Cyclist, Personal Trainer, Strength Coach, and Professor with a Masters in Exercise Physiology & Human Performance.  Todd is also an exercise physiologist, certified cycling coach, and endurance sports coach.  You can reach Todd at: TP2Coaching@gmail.com , by appointment only, or at his secure site https://toddparkertrainingprograms.com/ 

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It seems as though I  continue to get requests on this topic; therefore, I will need to keep re-visiting the topic of Recovery & its critical importance to performance – for training, racing, and reaching for those optimal performance goals.  And although I wrote this particular piece for Triathletes, this is applicable to all endurance athletes (i.e. Cyclists, Runners, Swimmers…) as well.

Athletes, if you rarely remember what you’ve read pertaining to your training and race preparation, remember this, RECOVERY IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS TRAINING ITSELF!  Whether we’re a beginner or pro, sprint or ironman distance competitor, many are training 5, 6, 7 days per week, and not just once, but sometimes 2-3 sessions per day.  To be honest, we never fully recover, but the key here is “adequate recovery”.  Depending on the volume and intensity of any particular training session, adequate recovery may be as short as 1-6 hours of rest, to upwards of 36-48 hours.  Adequate recovery may range from a shorter “recovery ride, run, or swim” later in the day or the following day, to literally not training for a day or two.  Again, this depends upon the volume and intensity of the recently completed workout, as well as one’s fitness level, profession, and training and racing years of experience.  By profession, I mean that there’s quite a difference between a low-stress job that has you seated for 8 hours, opposed to a high stress job (i.e. an emergency room nurse) who is on their feet for 24 hours straight.  Coaches and athletes must certainly consider such aspects into the training and recovery balance.  With years of training and racing experience, we learn  much about our body and how it responds to varying levels of training and recovery, so racing experience in terms of years are also very important considerations for coaches and athletes when prescribing/executing training plans.  Without adequate maintenance of your recovery levels, you’ll never achieve your optimal potential, and you may as well peak now, because you sure won’t on race days!  Other recovery aspects such as refueling and hydration are also critical, so stay tuned for future articles on these topics.

For more help, contact me via one of the means below.

Todd Parker, Sr., M.A., M.S.
Former Pro Triathlete, Exercise Physiologist, Endurance Sports Coach, 
Strength Coach, Personal Trainer, and Competitive Ultra Marathon Cyclist

Owner, TP2 – Todd Parker Training Programs, LLC
http://www.toddparkertrainingprograms.com/
TP2Coaching@gmail.com or 215.80.Coach (215.802.6224) Skype: USCoach2016

Also, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, CoachUp, Angie’s List…etc.

Been out for a long hard training session, but don’t want to spend lots of time fixing a nutrient rich recovery snack?  Fix a bowl with a good whole grain cereal, milk or yogurt, and top with some fresh fruit and nuts.  This tasty post-workout snack will refuel your body with the complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat that your body needs to recover, repair, and maintain your strength gains.

Take care of your body by incorporating a quality post-workout refueling regimen, and your muscles will reward you in the future.

Train Smart, Recover Smarter – starting with the first step – you’re Refueling!  Coach Parker

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