At what point does it become obsessive? PART 1: Training

Training one to two times a day because it was my program, turned into two to five times a day because I ‘needed’ to and for so many other reasons I kept telling myself.


Training one to two times a day because it was my program, turned into two to five times a day because I ‘needed’ to and for so many other reasons I kept telling myself.


There is a difference between following a structured program designed for your goals and adding in a few extra bits and pieces on top of your program.


I was guilty of over-training which ran me down physically, emotionally and mentally. My mind wanted more because I thought more meant I would be a better athlete.


my 1 of many ab sessions

My 1 of many daily ab sessions with friend and cross fit fanatic James Newbury

Because I wasn’t working I used training to fill the extra hours in my day, for social contact and I was addicted to the hard work.


A friend sent me a fantastic article, which was amazing timing for me, written by seven time Olympian Merlene Ottey’s sprint coach Henk Kraaijenhof.


The topic was about training verses rest, and one of the most basic and most often asked questions for any coach: ‘how often and how much should we train?’


Kraaijenhof says athletes tend to think a day rested is a day lost. Many are filling the hours, keeping busy because the schedule or program says so or because they wanted to.


“The approach should rather be: what and how little is necessary to accomplish our goals, instead of how much can we do”.


“When an athlete comes to train with me and asks how much he/she should train to reach their goal, I always answer: wrong question. The question should be: how little should I train in order to reach my goal.”


This was one of the greatest quotes I had ever heard – I wanted to learn this method!


If you have ever researched elite athletes or even local ones and found their careers were shortened or were unable to fulfil their potential due to chronic fatigue, chronic and acute injuries. Majority of these problems arise from overloading the body.


All the extra weights i snuck in resulted in my hands constantly in pain

All the extra sessions I snuck in resulted in constantly ripped hands

When I overloaded myself with extra sessions I was struck down with illness or injury. There came a point when I strained my quad from adding in extra sessions and my coach was so confused.


“Cloë you should not have injury in your quad because the program was not targeting that muscle,” he said.


When I confessed, he said because I was doing extra work he couldn’t monitor me and therefore couldn’t pin point what the cause was. Consequently, I was banned from any extra sessions after that, which was like depriving a fat kid from cake!


I am grateful for becoming aware of this blog and can see where my coach is coming from. I can now determine when I am overloading my body and when I need rest. It’s just a matter of listening to my body and doing it.


When adding just one extra training day per week (20% more training) your recovery time will be 50% less, which is where things tend to go wrong.


Our muscles recover quite fast but bones, ligaments, joints and the nervous system recover at a much slower pace, which is harder to monitor.


no matter how much training i did i always balanced it with recovery

No matter how much training I do, I always balance it with recovery.

Kraaijenhof tells his athletes: “Like in normal life: it is not the 5 hours of sleep instead of 8 hours that will harm you in the long term, it is the 3 hours more of thinking or working”.


My coach says a good complete training cycle includes a balance of training, eating, sleeping and recovering.


Next week Part 2: Food


Written by Cloë Neophytou @cloeneophytou 


This entry was posted in Sprint by Cloe Neophytou and tagged , , , , , , , , by cloe.neophytou

About cloe.neophytou

'So you want to train with me?' Asked the 6 foot Nigerian Olympian. 'Yes please' 'Ok see you tomorrow' That is how it began. That simple. After a lifetime of enthusiasm for fitness, a successful high school athletics career and then owning my own business in personal training & pilates, i had a chance meeting that has shaped my immediate future. Uduma and I have trained together for 3 years now after a break which destiny brought us back together under strange circumstances. I have never felt so driven, and I have never been so strong mentally and physically to keep moving towards my dream.

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