If you participate in strenuous exercise, you probably have some amount of sarcomeric damage, which just signifies that you’re muscles and skeletal system are being worked hard. Marathon runners, and weight-lifters put the greatest amount of stress on their muscular-skeletal system, and evidence of the damage can easily be found in the body.
So, how do you know if you’re over-training? Creatine kinase (CK) is a type of enzyme that is located in several tissues in the body, mainly in muscle. In normal conditions, there is a small amount of creatine kinase circulating in the blood below 200 units per liter in men and women, but when muscle damage occurs, the amount of CK in the blood can rise substantially. This means that the amount of CK in your blood can act as a type of biomarker to show the extent to which your muscles are over-exerted.
For example, before marathon runners begin a race, they typically have about 200 U/L of creatine kinase. One day after running a marathon, they might have as much as 10,000 U/L. It takes about 7-14 days post-marathon for the levels of creatine kinase to return to baseline. There is a correlation between the pace of CK recovery and the athletic performance, as evidenced by the fact that professional athletes will recover faster than amateurs. There is also correlation between CK level and injury; for instance, if you have high levels of CK and continue to exercise, you will increase your risk of injury, cramps, and fatigue.
Symptoms of overtraining (namely, a high amount of CK in the blood) can include muscle pain, fatigue, weight loss, cramping, injury, and bone pain. InsideTracker from Segterra takes into consideration your age, gender, ethnicity, type of athletic activity (swimmers should have lower level of CK than soccer players) and determines your personalized range of CK. If you are too high, InsideTracker will give you several personalized options for reducing your levels of CK, including dietary changes, exercises, and supplements. You can choose the option that best fits your lifestyle and preferences!