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Éva Pataki

Loss Of Energy / Strength in Training - Mental Exhaustion

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I train muay thai for 2 years. This year I started fighting, and this means more training, more sparring, running, etc.

Before MT, I was a kung fu competitor so the hard training is not a new thing for me. 

But... in recent months, I don't feel I become stronger, faster or better in technics  after all this training.   I feel I become weaker, slower. I was a hard-kicker, but now, I don't know, why, but I just can't kick hard, or strong. 

At my last fight my punches were so weak,  they didn't hurt my opponent.  I tried my favourite low kicks, but.. no power.
 

Since February I'm not allowed to take any vitamins or protein shake (because of an laser eye surgery). But there are so many fighters who don't take supplements.. 

So do you ever feel this "losing strenght" ?  Should I do more conditional training, crossfit, etc?

I'm so frustrated now...

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To me, this sounds a lot like overtraining or reaching a plateau moment in your growth (for the latter, try googling physical plateau or sth along the lines to see if this is your case).

Why I think these might be symptomps of overtraining?

I assume you stopped using supplements in February, so you had to do all this year without them, right? This could also be a reason for your lack of growth. It's not that you can't get better without supplements, but if you were using them, your body was recovering faster. Now that you don't use it, it recovers at the "normal" time, which is sometimes too slow for an athlete who trains everyday.

Do you properly do a rest day once in a while? Active recovery - massage, swimming, sauna, light stretching?

I also heard recently that if you can't recall a time when you didn't train for more then 2 or 3 days in a row during the last year, overtraining is probably your silent companion.

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At my last fight my punches were so weak,  they didn't hurt my opponent.  I tried my favourite low kicks, but.. no power.

 

Do you run as a significant part of your training? There are three basic things that Thais use to develop power, or "charge the battery". Regular running, padwork and extended clinch sessions.

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I also heard recently that if you can't recall a time when you didn't train for more then 2 or 3 days in a row during the last year, overtraining is probably your silent companion.

 

This sounds over-broad. This is a problem with Overtaining talk, it becomes incredibly vague and yet prescriptive.

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I train muay thai for 2 years. This year I started fighting, and this means more training, more sparring, running, etc.

Before MT, I was a kung fu competitor so the hard training is not a new thing for me. 

But... in recent months, I don't feel I become stronger, faster or better in technics  after all this training.   I feel I become weaker, slower. I was a hard-kicker, but now, I don't know, why, but I just can't kick hard, or strong. 

At my last fight my punches were so weak,  they didn't hurt my opponent.  I tried my favourite low kicks, but.. no power.

 

Since February I'm not allowed to take any vitamins or protein shake (because of an laser eye surgery). But there are so many fighters who don't take supplements.. 

So do you ever feel this "losing strenght" ?  Should I do more conditional training, crossfit, etc?

I'm so frustrated now...

I'm sorry you're experiencing this P.Evi, I know how frustrating and confusing it can be. There are times in my training when I fell like a damn rockstar for a couple days and then out of nowhere, even though I feel good, I come to training and just can't put it together. Even my trainer will look at me and frown, saying, "you better yesterday." Yeah, I know... but he also says that the body isn't the same every day. Any number of things can make your power go up and down, things you don't necessarily have a lot of control over: how well you slept, what you're eating, if you have different levels of hormones in your body in natural changes throughout the weeks and months and years... the body changes and you can only help direct it, you can't actually keep it in the same state all the time.

I feel like I have more "tired days" in the past year than I did ever before. I'm getting older - we all are - but it's not a "I'm too old" kind of thing; it's just changes in the body. On days when I have no power, I take it way down and still do all my training but I focus on details in technique, or breathing, or footwork or whatever else isn't power. That's okay. Not every day is a power day.

Keep in mind, the way you wrote your post implies that you've recently increased your training because you're fighting - so more sparring, more running, more rounds on the pads, etc. If you're doing more, you're going to be more tired as your body adjusts to it. I train hard all the time, but when I change my training - like when I stopped going to O. Meekhun, which was an hour of clinching, and started going to Karate, which is kind of an hour of shadowboxing and some stuff kinda like padwork, I'm exhausted. Just from the change. It's not more work, it's just different work and my body is adjusting.

In your own opinion, what does it feel like you need? Do you feel like you need more rest? Does it feel like you're mentally hitting a wall? Are you feeling really good but physically just not what you're expecting from yourself? What are your trainers saying?

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This sounds over-broad. This is a problem with Overtaining talk, it becomes incredibly vague and yet prescriptive.

It's true, it is broad and vague. I don't know her true condition, it could be that simply changing the water she's drinking to a brand with more minerals could help, but it could also be the cause of fatigue. Or sth completely else.

I'm just trying to point in a direction and it's up to P.Evi to see if this might apply to her. Or not. 

From experience I can say that when I feel my punches weaken and my kicks having no power, even though I've been training a lot - it usually is related to not resting properly, not eating good quality food or having a lot of stress at work and life, as well as a kind of overwhelming feeling of pressure. So it can be put in a bag called "overtraining", but I'm aware that not everyone ever overtrains the same way.

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So many good questions to think about... Thank you!

I run a lot, eat quality food, aaaand try to sleep enough. 

I'm thinking about that it's maybe not "overtraining", but "overworrying". I mean... There are a lot of things that I must do at the same time. And maybe I'm not physically weak or tired, but mentally...?  I'm writing my Msc thesis, studying spanish in a language school 4 hours every day (I need a language exam to get my diploma), and working, but still worrying about money... (teaching children with adhd). Stress, stress, stress. 
So it feels like my brain never rest, I worry too much?

Can this cause physical weakness?

I love training, and after working and studying I'm starving to move, hit pads, etc. But when I train, I often still thinking about my other duties (for example: shit, I won't be ready with my thesis...) 

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Can this cause physical weakness?

 

Yes, mental fatigue is a real thing. Maybe you could teach yourself to 'switch off' when you're at training, so you can use that time for yourself to just focus on muay thai and have fun..just for that hour or two try to not think about your studies, work, etc.

For me, I know it's not a good idea to fight or train for a fight when I have a heavy study load or other things going on in my personal life. Sometimes I just want to train without having to worry about training for a fight. Sometimes it's good to take the pressure off so muay thai doesn't become another stressor.

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For me personally, when I started to feel "off" it turned out to be a health issue in the long run. What helped restore me a little bit though in between everything else was actually taking a bit of a break from "heavy" training and cross training with yoga. Something to stretch me out and relax me and de stress a bit. So, maybe not over training as in too much, but maybe need to switch up the type of training you're doing and incorporate a restorative element ?

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So many good questions to think about... Thank you!

I run a lot, eat quality food, aaaand try to sleep enough. 

I'm thinking about that it's maybe not "overtraining", but "overworrying". I mean... There are a lot of things that I must do at the same time. And maybe I'm not physically weak or tired, but mentally...?  I'm writing my Msc thesis, studying spanish in a language school 4 hours every day (I need a language exam to get my diploma), and working, but still worrying about money... (teaching children with adhd). Stress, stress, stress. 

So it feels like my brain never rest, I worry too much?

Can this cause physical weakness?

 

I love training, and after working and studying I'm starving to move, hit pads, etc. But when I train, I often still thinking about my other duties (for example: shit, I won't be ready with my thesis...) 

Over-worrying is totally real. There are times I feel like I can't do anything and I'm just mentally exhausted. Usually for me it's because I'm overly concerned about pleasing my trainers or I'm obsessing and stressing about "not doing well" in training; sometimes it's because assholes on the internet are being really nasty to me and even though I know I shouldn't care, I do... all kinds of things can overload your brain and then your movements aren't free and flowing. You get kind of tense all around. It's incredible how exhausting even just a little bit of tension can be when you're trying to push through hard training also.

Given your workload (you have a LOT going on), I'd recommend finding dome method to clear your mind of those stresses so you can train more freely. It's like how you can't sleep if you have your mind racing. So there are methods of writing everything down before bed so you don't keep thinking about it, or doing breathing exercises, or mental imaging to clear your mind so you're not "attaching" to your thoughts... those kinds of things prior to and after training might do wonders for you. I do this when I seal the ring before fights - everything outside of the fight is outside those ropes and I don't have to think about them.

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Continuing on those thoughts a bit: I find when I'm having a bad day at work, feeling tired, whatever, and I have the thought, "training is going to suck tonight," that it always does. ALWAYS. If I can instead focus on what I enjoy about training, pick something to focus on that night that's achievable, and look forward to training as a way to turn the day around, I nearly always enjoy the session and perform at least moderately well. I very rarely enter the gym thinking positive and leaving with only negative energy.

 

If I'm tired or stressed, I may not smash 1,000 combos during each round like I might on a good night, but I take my time and do the ones I can manage with precision and focus while keeping my gaurs strong. Mental energy can totally affect how you train.

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