If you struggle to find balance when working out and are worried about overtraining, here are some tips to help you find balance.

How to find balance to avoid overtraining



It’s the striving for balance that brings us unstuck. Ideally, true balance should be less about striving and more about actually listening to what your body and mind really needs.

“Start slow, build your sessions over time and stay in tune with your body along the way,” advises Allot. “Note how you are feeling and if progress targets are being met. Make sure you allow recovery time between sessions, get plenty of sleep and introduce some active recovery into your routine such as walking or hot yoga.”

It’s wise, particularly for beginners, to sit down with a fitness professional and make a detailed short- and longer-term plan. Talk about your goals, realistic time frames and the steps you’ll need to take in order to get there.

“Get yourself a training and nutrition plan and a good mentor – this will ensure you have the perfect mission plan and the right people in your corner to guide you,” says Evennett. “Train hard, but train smart, and you will get the results both physically and mentally.”

Where you can, make exercise a social – rather than an anti-social – activity. This provides an important balancing reference point that can almost single-handedly fortify you against overtraining.

But if you are overtraining, it’s important to be honest with yourself.

“Recognising that you may be over-exercising is the first step to finding balance in your workout routine,” says Dr Tanious. “Take some time to consider how long you spend working out each day, how long you spend thinking about it, whether you are flexible with your plans or feel compelled to stick to a routine. Are you forgoing social activities for exercise or prioritising it over your work and family life? If so, it may be time to take a step back and remind yourself that only 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day is required for a healthy lifestyle.

“This can include activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, yoga and Pilates. Incorporating weight training, cardio and strength building and stretching exercises such as yoga and Pilates can help you find a balance. Yoga is a particularly good way to stretch it out and give your body time to recover during the week.”

When you are working out, particularly if you’re prone to going for broke, remember that you’ll probably achieve better results if you back off a little.

“Erase from your memory phrases like ‘no pain, no gain’ and ‘go for the burn’ and ‘maxing out’,” says Hanne Blank, movement coach and author of the Unapologetic Fat Girl’s Guide to Exercise. “Feel free to set fire to the idea that ‘unless you’re giving 110 per cent, you might as well just stay in bed’. None of it is true and all of it can exhaust or even hurt you. Instead of 110 per cent or even 100 per cent – set your sights on 80 per cent. It’s much more reasonable, rational and effective over the long haul.”

This is, essentially, the idea behind ‘slow fitness’ or the ‘slow burn’: to incorporate a  sustainable plan for long term results.

“The body can only get stronger or more limber as quickly as it can, and it can only do so as part of a cycle that includes rest, repair and regrowth,” says Blank. “The same is true with regard to competence and skill. Your brain, nerves and muscles can only learn new skills, or refine old ones, as fast as they are capable of learning.”

Check out the full article by David Goding in the September edition of WH&F.