Hey, this is Dr. Steve Gangemi and I’m going to talk about the role of health and well-being in your training. In this video, specifically I want to talk about how you can use certain clues in your daily life to realize if you’re training too hard, sort of like little signs and symptoms you might have before you actually develop an injury or you end up sick or your performance just starts to plateau, and we’re going to talk a little bit about how to balance lifestyle, your life, your work, your family with your training. So most athletes out there aren’t professional athletes, and you have daily responsibilities. You’ve got a job, you’ve got school, lots of studying, probably a girlfriend, boyfriend, new relationship. So you’re always sort of juggling things in life to go along with your training, and training’s just part of your everyday routine.
So you don’t want to be training too hard on times when you’re too stressed out. If you do, that’s a great time to end up injured. In other words, if you’re training hard, if you’re doing some new moves, if you’re doing some longer distance runnings or harder types of activities or more complex type of movement patterns during final exams at your university, probably a bad idea. It’s a great time to get injured. These are times when you want to balance the stress of your life, whatever that may be, with how hard you’re training. Basically pretty simple.
The harder you train, make sure everything else in your life is pretty well balanced. In other words, you’re not having to stay up too late studying, you’re sleeping well, things are going well with your family or your relationship or your work and that sort of thing. Or if it’s a tough time in your life, then you have to chill out on the training a little bit, do more active recovery, have more rest days in between, which don’t mean sitting around, but just easier type of balance or relaxation type of activities to help you balance everything properly in your life not only so you don’t lose fitness at that time when you have to devote more time to other areas in your life, but also you’ll just be less chance of becoming injured, which is one of the biggest ways that someone loses performance, loses adaptation to exercise and doesn’t progress as well as they should be because they’re getting injured from something and now you’re being forced to take time off rather than just take it off when you’d like to. So how do you know if you’re training too hard or if you’re training too much and you’re about to either plateau in your training or you’re about to develop an injury? Well first, let’s understand a little bit of biochemistry. And when you’re too stressed out or you’re too stressed too often, too much, or even if you’re training too hard, especially if you’re doing a lot of high intensity type of training, in other words, quick interval work, a lot of long distance running will actually do this, too. You’re going to make a lot of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone secreted by your adrenal glands, which are little glands that sit on top of your kidneys.
These are really important hormones when it comes to balancing your blood sugar, reducing inflammation. We’ve talked about both these things, especially the inflammatory aspects or the anti-inflammatory aspects when it comes to an injury, in terms of preventing an injury, but also rehabilitating properly from an injury. So you don’t want too much cortisol or you’ll end up with problems with this hormone affecting other hormones, especially your sex hormones. Guys, that’s testosterone for you, for us, and women, estrogen and progesterone levels. So basically what happens is if you train too hard, if you train too much, if you don’t recover properly, you end up with too many stress hormones in your body and that’s going to set you up. It’s going to predispose you for an injury occurring.
There’s also little signs and symptoms that a lot of people don’t know about to tell you. It’s sort of little tells that your body is stressed out. One of them is actually a little eyelid twitch. If you ever feel like your lower lid of your eyelid on either eye, right to left doesn’t mean any difference, but if your eyelid twitches kind of like flutters, that’s a good indication that your body is stressed out, it has to do with cortisol levels, it has to do with hormonal imbalances. Another thing related to sleep is not just waking up in the middle of the night, but obviously insomnia if you can’t get to sleep. That’s typically because your cortisol level is high at night and it suppresses your melatonin level, which is your sleep hormone that is made at night and opposes cortisols. So one should be high, the other should be low, cortisol here and melatonin here. And at night, if you’re training too hard, if your life is too stressed, it ends up like this and you can’t get to sleep, you’re going to have some insomnia maybe for an hour, maybe you can’t sleep at all.
Along with that though, as you’re falling asleep, sometimes people get a limb twitch. I shouldn’t say sometimes, actually it’s very common. I’ve gotten this when I’ve trained too hard. I’ll be falling asleep and you get like a limb twitch, maybe your leg, a shoulder, an arm, maybe your significant other laying there next to you thinks you just levitated and became possessed as you actually jump off out of your body a little bit. And it’s a great little tell for you or for that person to tell you that you’re under way too much stress kind of like a limb jolt or a body jolt.
Restless leg syndrome. A lot of people get that when you feel like there’s bugs crawling through your legs and you’ve got to get up and out of bed to walk around. That’s a sign that you’re under too much stress, so is bruxism, which is grinding of your teeth, and people who need a night splint or a night guard at night to keep from basically wearing down their teeth when they’re sleeping. They’re under too much stress and their nervous system is so imbalanced that they’re grinding their teeth, they’re clenching their teeth at night. So those are some great little tells along with issues I’ve addressed in previous videos about ligament instability and ligament weakness related to injuries and injuries not healing up well because you’re under too much stress.
So, think about your entire stress of your entire life, not just how hard you’re training, and buffer your training and adapt your training to the amount of stress that you have in your life. And it’s the training itself. In other words, not too many hard days, not too many complex days or high intensity days or high duration days in a series, meaning days or weeks. Make sure you scatter in those recovery days as you should and adjust it to your lifestyle and you’re going to keep yourself from becoming injured. And if you’re unlucky enough to become injured, you’re going to heal super fast if your body’s low in stress.