Excessive-workouts and over-training can lead to severe health problems, experts tell Aakanksha Naval-Shetye

Work-out-aholic Bollywood hunk John Abraham, who ducked gym workouts and exhaustive training with the excuse of muscle fatigue, knows what it is to suffer sports injury. B-town hottie Katrina Kaif does too, she is reportedly laid up in bed after injuring her neck while training in a gym.

So far, stories of stars working towards acquiring washboard flat abs and six packs have always sent aspiring wannabes packing to the gyms to get those envious cuts and curves. But the ill-effects of excessive gymming will hopefully alarm gymmers to now consider the downside of excessive gymming and avoid gym-related injuries, which health experts and trainers claim have been a fairly common occurrence.

Renowned orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist Dr Ameet Pispati reveals that he’s been witnessing an increase in the number of patients suffering from gym-related injuries. "These days everyone wants well-chiselled bodies. It’s almost an obsession for them. For this, they are not only exercising, but over-exercising and pushing their bodies to extreme levels without enough time to let their muscles recuperate or rest. As a result, they suffer from early burnouts in the form of muscle fatigue or even muscle tears in serious cases that can only be treated through surgery."

Eminen departmen ogy and Aashish the fact t people li "Chronic syndrom mon fallout of rigorous overtraining that result from repetitive use, stress and trauma to the soft tissues of the body. People push themselves beyond their body’s capabilities that could result in muscular-skeletal injuries in the long-run. Intensity violation, where gymmers work out for more time and excess intensity than prescribed is also a common cause."

Fitness expert Nawaz Modi Singhania agrees. "People are succumbing to the pressures of looking good. They set unrealistic goals for themselves and then set out on gruelling exercise regimes. The usual mindset is that if their trainer asks them to work out for 20 minutes, they try and double it to achieve the results faster. They do not realise that the energy is not pulled from their fat after a point, but their muscles. Hence instead of feeling refreshed, they will feel tired and drained of energy. Indicators that something about your workout is not right," she says.

Back pain, frozen shoulder, joint aches, feeling sore are some of the signs that a body gives out that one should pay heed to. But according to trainers, people often ignore their own body needs, and continue to push it even when their body sends out signals to tell them to stop. A point echoed by clinical fitness specialist Namita Jain. "Too much, too soon is what they want and they pay a heavy price for it. Apart from pushing their bodies to extremes, they do not compensate it with proper rest and most importantly adequate diet. They go on high protein diets ignoring the carbs completely.

The carbs intake has to be maintained, otherwise it accelerates the burnout process of the body." Namita also emphasises on the importance of working out under a well-trained fitness instructor. "Anyone who promises quick results should be totally avoided. On the contrary, people make the mistake of rushing to instructors promising them just that," she adds.

The ill-effects are more prominent in women, who may even suffer from hormonal imbalances. "The women often compromise when it comes to their diet and that in the long run can cause irreversible damage," adds Nawaz.

Acquiring a well-toned fit body depends on several factors like an individual’s body-type, lifestyle, food habits, work pressures, the intensity of workouts, the type of workouts and their durations. And in their bid to get sculpted hot bods, people often overlook these very vital elements.

Signs to watch out for

– Muscle soreness that lasts for more than 24 hours.

– Any acute or sudden pain in the muscle.

– Difficulty in lifting weights, which you could have easily done earlier.

– Any pain in the joints while running on the treadmill or on the stepper.

– Extreme fatigue and feeling of tiredness

– Irritability

– Change in sleeping and eating pattern

– Unsteady pulse

– (In women) Irregular menstruation cycle

– Frozen shoulder or stiffness in limbs

– Back ache, specially lower back

How to avoid gym injuries

– Train only under a certified trainer and share all medical concerns with them before devising any workout plan.

– Plan a workout, knowing your fitness level and keeping in mind your body requirements.

– Stick to that plan and any change should only be made after consultation with your trainer.

– Check out the progress of your body, but do not use anyone else’s workout regime as a yardstick. Different bodies adapt to same exercises differently.

– It’s perfectly healthy to work for about 45 minutes to an hour each day or even on alternate days. If you are into rigorous and intense training, remember to take at least one day off to let your muscles recuperate.

– Understand that six eight packs are hard to acquire and harder to maintain. The focus should be on staying f healthy.

– Eat a balanced, nutritious diet that includes proteins, carbs, fruits and vegetables. Carbs give you energy to through tough training sessions, while protein helps muscles rebuild after breaking down during exercise.

– Understand your body signals and don’t push yourself too hard.

– Working out smart is the key word to get the best results.

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