Avoid Overtraining in the January Fitness Rush

January 2018 is nearly upon us and inevitably most of us will have gained a few extra pounds over the festive period. Plans to lose that extra weight, get fit and feel great again will be set into motion as soon as our New Year hangover wears off. While it is fantastic to see such high motivation levels in January, this can be the time of the year when you are most susceptible to injury. We come across many clients who are almost too eager to achieve their goals and go from 0-100 in a very short space of time. This can place a lot of stress on the body and the risk of injury increases.

It can be challenging to hold back when training is going well and motivation is high. “If a little is good, more must be better” is the saying that comes to mind. Because most people have been doing very little exercise over Christmas, when their training load doubles or even trebles in January, it can become too much for the body to adapt to leading to injury as a result of overtraining.

Here are 3 tips to help you avoid overtraining this January:

1) Avoid Training Spikes

A training spike is when either the volume or intensity or your training jumps up rapidly in a short space of time. For example, if you took 2 weeks away from the gym at Christmas and then did 6 classes in the first week of January, your training volume would have spiked significantly. It is important to slowly build up your fitness levels again. Step Loading is one method we like to use with Coachpact clients, whereby you take a small step up in either volume or intensity each week you train:

So, this could be starting with 3 training sessions in the first week, 4 in the second week, 5 in the third, and so on. The same method can be applied to running, whereby you steadily increase the mileage or speed each week. New Year fitness fads often result in a huge training spike that can result in us getting injured or experiencing burnout. This can have a negative effect on both our training and professional performance.

2) Get a MyZone Tracker

A MyZone fitness tracker is a simple and effective way to track your training loads. Loads can be quantified by tracking the number of sessions, amount of MEPs (effort points) or even calories burned. This is all presented to you in daily, weekly, monthly or yearly summaries through the MyZone app.



Tracking these stats allow you to easily quantify the amount of training you are doing each week. The stats not only tell you the amount of training you are doing, it also shows the intensity of these training sessions. It does this by reading your heart rate during exercise and giving you an easy to read graph afterward. In business it is vital to closely monitor month on month performance. Adopting a more analytical approach to your training via a MyZone heart rate tracker will ensure that you can monitor your progress. At CoachPACT.com we use MyZone heart rate monitoring to set targets with our clients who are then held accountable for achieving these targets.

3) Get Expert Advice

There is so much advice out there that it is hard to know what to believe. Some of the advice floating around is of sound quality and is well researched, however, some will only slow your progress, give you short-term results or could, in some minor cases, be dangerous for your health. Following a training program that a celebrity recommends can also be a risky move. You need to remember that they are going to be different to you in many ways. For example:

  • Age
  • Current fitness levels
  • Training/injury history
  • Specific goals
  • Genetics
  • Lifestyle

Just because a certain training program works for one person, it does not necessarily mean it will work for everyone, and it may even be counterproductive for some people. If possible, you should always get an individualized program that is based on your personal wants and needs.  The CoachPACT.com team are qualified to the highest standard having gained undergraduate and post graduate qualifications in the areas of health, fitness, sports science and nutrition. Our coaches have extensive training and nutritional experience having worked with many different types of people.

Remember, your training regime should be sustainable over time and not just a short-term burst. One of the main reasons people lack consistency is due to excessive pain after a workout or because an injury halts their progress. Try to monitor your training even if it’s just using pen and paper. This should help you avoid the ‘too much too soon’ trap, and if in doubt, seek advice from a reputable source.