Most people think of muscle fatigue when you mention overtraining, but in fact 99% of the time overtraining is related to your central nervous system.
CNS fatigue is a physical condition that occurs when your training volume and intensity exceeds your body’s recovery capacity. Your CNS is what controls your body’s functions and is directly related to performance in and out of the gym.
The warning signs:
1. Lack of motivation
Repetitive high intensity training can negatively affect the levels of key neurotransmitters – serotonin and dopamine in particular. An imbalance with these two neurotransmitters can lead to decreased motivation and even leaving you in somewhat of a “depressed” mood.
This can be caused from a decrease in testosterone and increased cortisol levels, leaving you feeling sluggish and fatigued throughout the day and during your workout.
3. Loss of appetite
Having trouble eating your regular meals is a tell tale sign of overtraining. On the flip side, loss of appetite can be related to many other factors so if this is your only symptom don’t be so quick to rule it primarily as CNS fatigue.
4. Decreased immunity
Lack of sleep, poor diet and mental stress are all contributing factors to feeling run down and being at risk of decreased immunity. But if you feel you have these on point and you’re still getting ill, it may be due to CNS fatigue.
What’s the solution? REST!
Most find that a week off from gym is an adequate amount of time to refresh your CNS and get you hitting PB’s again.