Here’s a tip to identify signs of overtraining. We’re talking about your waking, resting heart rate. Ideally, you’ll want to get a “baseline” reading from which to work with. This is best done during a week off, and it’ll be very revealing to many.
Here’s how to go about it:
Before getting out of bed in the morning, grab your cell phone or wrist-watch/timer and perform the following exercise:
– Pick your pulse up by placing 2 fingertips on the inside of your wrist
– Count how many pulses occur in 15 seconds
– Multiply by 4, to arrive at a beats per minute figure
It takes a bit of practice, and I use the average of 3 measurements but hell that takes a grand total of about a minute – even I have the patience for that. Having said that, let’s look at what I found out, when performing this exercise recently. Important to note I had really been pushing it, and all the subjective signs of over training were there. One week off and I took my average, daily resting heart rate each day.
Here’s what I found !!!…
- Monday: 68 beats per minute
- Tuesday: 68 beats per minute
- Wed.: 64 beats per minute
- Thurs: 62 beats per minute
- Friday: 60 beats per minute
- Sat: 58 beats per minute
- Sun: 56 beats per minute
- Mon: 56 beats per minute, upon waking and prior to resuming training…
It’s clear my body was in an over-trained state. Ultimately, my resting heart rate dropped an incredible 10 beats per minute over these 7 days before normalizing. I didn’t change anything, other than NOT weight training during this time. Yes I continued to perform cardio and yes I ate the same, but nothing else changed. The point being, I now had a true “baseline” figure to work with (56 beats per minute.)
Twice a week during the next 3 weeks, I took my resting heart rate. Predictably, it started to rise again in response to the stress I was imposing on my body. By the end of week 4, I was pushing 68 beats per minute again.
The ideal is to de-load or take a week off when your resting heart rate rises 8 beats per minute above baseline. Doing so will ensure you don’t slip into a state of over-training, where immunity is compromised. Keeping tabs on this has benefits beyond better immune function btw. You’ll progress faster in your training, be stronger and avoid injuries all associated with over-training.
Take this tip to heart, as it’ll lead to faster gains and more importantly, better health too….
Listen to Coach Rob on Superhuman Radio each week.