Overreaching

It’s a good idea to over do it once in awhile……..Spring preseason!

 

My favorite part of playing soccer was pre-season. Every year when I was a professional soccer player, we took 2 weeks at the beginning of pre-season and boarded an airplane to go somewhere remote.  When I say remote, I don’t mean an island somewhere that had beautiful hotels and peaceful sunsets.  It was usually some place in Arizona, Florida, or Mexico that was simple, warm, had a soccer field, a dorm or hotel, and food.  We spent 2 weeks focusing only on training and recovery.  No distractions!  The days were filled with hard training sessions and deep dives into recovery.  Hot and cold contrast therapy, sleep, precision nutrition, and soft tissue and mobility work. When it was over, we came out feeling refreshed, fit, accomplished, and confident. The programming we followed was specific; it was part of what is called periodization, a long term schematic that helped us manage stress and intensity with recovery and regeneration.  During the period of pre-season we did something called overreaching.  Essentially, we would push to the limit for a short time, 2-4 days, and then let the body recover.  Then we’d push higher for 2-4 days, and recover again.  Slowly building to a peak of intensity by the end of the 2 weeks.  

 

I am a firm believer that everyone should have a period of the year in which we overreach for a short amount of time.  It resets the body. It builds a strong sense of team and community when we are going through this together. And it provides a specific time in which the expectations are set for us to succeed in pushing to the limits of what we thought we were capable of.

 

Typically this overreaching period is done for no more than 2 weeks.  The demand is specific to what the body can handle, with a careful emphasis on how often and how hard we train,  along with specific times that are spent on recovery.  Without these key changes in high intensity and recovery, we enter what is called overtraining.  Overtraining is the place that is often known as a plateau, which doesn’t allow us to see improvements in performance or in body composition because the body is taxed too much and too often.

 

It’s important to understand that 14 days of overreaching is specific in the sense that it is prescribed only a few times during the year-long training cycle.  When we overreach too often, we automatically go into overtraining.  Then we see the body shut down and protect itself by storing body fat and fighting against intensity. The rest of our training year has to be spent with more time and space between high intensity training sessions in order to allow the body to return to homeostasis or normal resting state every 24 to 48 hours. We do this at Fit on a regular basis to protect our clients from over training, by varying the difficulty of the training intensity and volume. This is also why we recommend training either 5 days on, 2 days off or 3 days on, 1 day off. You need to schedule in days of rest.  During these 14 days, however, we will take you past what we would normally do on a daily and weekly basis.  We can only train like this because we have limited the window in which we will push these limits.

 

As a professional soccer player, I remember the distinct difference between how we ran training sessions on a weekly basis during our normal training season compared to our pre-season.  There was room for growth and improvement in both, but there was a strong difference in the level of intensity and closeness of the intervals of intensity, day after day, in pre-season.

 

We offer a 14 day training program that is open to everyone!  This is a great way to kick start something that is feeling old, start something new, or pick it up a notch to get ready for spring break!