A few weeks ago we asked the readers of our Facebook page to suggest topics for the blog.

One idea was to write a blog on how often you should train – a more difficult question to answer than you may think!

To see any improvement in your performance you need to adhere to the FITT principle!  I touched on this subject in an earlier blog (to see the full article click here).

However, just to recap, FITT is:-

  • Frequency – this refers to the number of training sessions that are carried out per week i.e how often training is performed.
  • Intensity – this refers to how hard a person works during a training session.  The intensity of training is probably the most important factor when it comes to improving fitness.
  • Time – this refers to the duration of the training session.  The duration of training is inversely related to its intensity: the more intense a session is, the shorter the duration needs to be in order to gain the fitness benefits.
  • Type – the chosen mode of training should be specific to the individual’s needs and goals.

It is general advised to just increase one of these factors at a time in order to avoid over-training.

What is over-training???

Over-training is the state where rest is no longer adequate to result in recovery.

Taking part in a poorly planned exercise programme, and not allowing for adequate recovery can lead to excessive, chronic overload.  This can lead to fatigue, illness and burn-out, this is referred to as over-reaching.  Short periods of fatigue following heavy training are to be expected but they are normally reversed following a period of rest or reducing the training load.

If inadequate rest or recovery is allowed and a person is constantly over-reaching, they may well become over-trained.  

Some of the most commonly cited early signs and symptoms of over-training include:

  • increased resting heart rate
  • slow heart rate recovery after training
  • weight loss
  • decreased appetite
  • altered sleep patterns
  • altered mood state
  • recurrent colds or viral illnesses
  • persistent muscle soreness
  • feelings of burn-out and staleness, and
  • overuse injuries.

Any form of physical training has some potential risks involved.  However, most risks can be minimised through a well-constructed training plan and careful monitoring during exercise.  Being able to monitor your training level comes with experience.  I find the best tool to use is the RPE scale (rate of perceived exertion).

Any questions/comments are always welcome!  

Remember, in true Fitness Puzzle style, together we can WORK IT OUT!

Aileen x