It used to be that eating disorders were just about being thinner than everyone else. But that’s no longer the case. Now you have to be stronger, fitter, and healthier than everyone else too. Since this week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (February 24-March 1) it seems like the perfect time to talk about the new ways disordered eating is surfacing.
Though not an officially recognized eating disorder, there is a growing trend in orthorexia or an obsession with health. Many people, especially teenagers, associate health with the number on the scale or how they look in the mirror. Both of those can be good baseline for determining health, but there’s a lot more to it than how big your thighs are.
Rigorous workouts break down body tissues and cause cellular damage. If this cumulates from ongoing bouts of training, it could lead to overreaching (light form of overtraining) and eventually to overtraining syndrome which is the most severe form of overtraining. Overtraining syndrome represents the peak of training and non-training stressors tearing down the body at a rate faster than it can rejuvenate itself.
The best way to avoid this is to alternate between easy, moderate, and hard workouts (known as periodization). Variables such as sets, reps, time between sets, movement between sets, duration, volume and intensity can be manipulated through periodization. Periodization principles work for competitive athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. It helps maximize muscular endurance, strength, power, motor performance and muscular hypertrophy in minimal time while reducing incurrences of overtraining.
Once the body reaches states of overtraining syndrome, undesirable physical, physiological, and emotional changes usually take place. Unfortunately, there is no test to determine when you are severely overtraining, but listed below are warning signs that you might experience before or during overtraining syndrome: