Guest blog: Gabrielle Maston on overcoming over training syndrome

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Each Friday on the blog, we are lucky to have a guest post from a leading expert in weight loss, exercise, diet and motivation. This weeks blog is written by qualified clinical and sports dietitian, exercise physiologist, behavioural health coach and personal trainer (phew…), Gabrielle Maston and she is looking a the issue of over training syndrome.

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For fitness enthusiast and athletes, one of the biggest challenges in training is avoiding exercising too much! It’s easy when you enjoy being active and goal driven towards competition, to keep running your body on of the smell of an oily rag without enough rest and nutrition.

If your focus is performance in sports or getting muscular gains, don’t focus on how much you training. Instead concentrate on the quality of your training sessions. Intensity and specificity always trumps purposeless volume training every time.

Doing too much doesn’t allow the body to recover fast enough to keep up with the training demand. This means instead of training at an optimum level for specific training sessions, training is repeated at a half fast level over multiple sessions. It’s when you do too much it can cause a collection of emotional, behavioral and physical symptoms, you simply burn out.

If you are feeling burnt out, it’s probably because you are over training and have been doing so for a long period of time.  This condition has been dubbed “over training syndrome”.

Over training syndrome can include all or some of the following symptoms:

  • Trouble recovering after workouts
  • Total body soreness
  • Little or no improvement in training performance or worse yet performance has declined
  • Trouble sleeping, some times leading to insomnia
  • Feeling overly fatigued, more so than normal
  • Loss of appetite
  • Decreased immunity
  • Compulsive need to exercise
  • Hormonal changes such as lowered testosterone
  • Elevated heart rate at rest

Some of the above symptoms can be also indicators of other conditions as well such as: thyroid issues, chronic fatigue and insulin resistance. If you are experiencing any of these visit the Dr for a full blood check. This will allow you to rule out the possibility of any other underlying medical conditions.

Over coming over training is simple, you need to rest! Understandably this can be extremely difficult for those of you who love training. More importantly for those who compete in sports, taking a rest may not be suitable for your preparation time line.

Take some time to decipher which training sessions are the most important. To maintain fitness 2-3 short cardio sessions per week lasting 30min each is plenty. With resistance training keep your intensity up by using lower rep ranges between 4-8, lift 70-80% of 1RM, and keep your training volume low around 2-3 sets.

Use every other day to rest, and get your nutrition back on track, often the two are interrelated. If you don’t provide your body enough energy for training and day-to-day living, poor recovery and fatigue results. Following restrictive diet plans or trying to maintain an extremely low energy intake for weight loss will perpetuate poor recovery.  See a sports dietitian to get your intake needs right for you and your sport.

Similarly not having enough protein and carbohydrates pre and post training for the best performance and recovery outcomes will do the same thing.

If it’s the off-season the best thing to do would be to take 2 weeks off from training and relax. It’s your fastest ticket to the road to success! You will come back stronger, refreshed and more positive about your training goals.


About the author

Gabrielle Maston     

B AppSc(EXSS) and Bsc (Nutr)(Honours in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics)

A qualified clinical and sports dietitian, exercise physiologist, behavioural health coach and personal trainer.

Currently Gabrielle runs a private nutrition consultancy and exercise physiology business in Fivedock Sydney. She is a regular feature writer for popular fitness magazines and a sort after presenter in corporate health and well-being.

Gabrielle passion is helping people lose weight, excel in sport and manage chronic disease by regaining their health through proper nutrition and exercise.

Connect with Gabrielle:

Website –

Blog –

LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook



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