9 Signs of Overtraining

Overtraining in fitness activities occurs when you overdo to the point that your body can't recover overnight. Overreaching or less severe overtraining happens when you overdo somewhat, but are able to recover in just a few days. But severe overtraining can take your body weeks or even months to recover. Overtraining happens when you don't maintain a healthy balance between exercise and recovery. Overstressing your body without giving it proper rest in between exercise sessions can cause multiple side effects. Let's take a look at some of its signs.

Signs of Overtraining

You may find it difficult at times to tell whether you are overtraining, or just very sore from a strenuous workout. If the muscle soreness and pain continues, or if you experience insomnia or headaches, or the sparkle has gone out of your exercise sessions, you may need to give your body a break. Resting for a few days until the soreness goes away isn't a sign of failure. On the contrary, it will likely help you to succeed. The following signs can help you determine if you need to have a break.

1.   Moodiness

Overtraining can cause a decrease in catecholamine, a hormone that influences the sympathetic nervous system. A lack of this hormone results in irritability, a stressed-out feeling, or plain moodiness. If this happens to you, cut back on your exercise routine for a while to see if you feel better.

2.   Muscle Soreness

Muscle soreness for a day or so after a workout is normal. But if your soreness lasts more than three days, you need to rest and reevaluate your training routine. Overtraining will actually impact muscle-building negatively because you're not allowing time for your muscles to recover between sessions. Weight-training sessions shouldn't last more than 45 to 75 minutes at the most. Pay heed to your muscles. You want to build them up, not wear them out.

3.  Vulnerability to Sickness

There are a number of ways to compromise your immune system. The obvious ones include lack of sleep, too much sugar, and inadequate amount of vitamin D or sunlight. But if you are careful in these areas, yet find yourself coughing, congested, sniffling, or having headaches, these can be signs of overtraining. You should take a week away from your exercise routine and get your immune system back under control.

4.   Injury Increase

If you are finding old injuries flaring up, or experiencing new injuries more frequently, you need to back off from your training routine. When you are overtraining, and your body isn't recuperating between sessions, your body remains in a weakened state. To keep this from happening, add rest periods into your training schedule. Change up the training intensity or mix in some low-intensity exercises that will give you time to recover.

5.   Lack of Motivation

Most people who are dedicated to their gym life will want to skip a day occasionally. But if you suddenly lose interest and motivation, you are likely to be overtraining. Rather than pushing through the lack of motivation, risking hurting yourself by improperly exercising, take a week off. Then, when you do go back, start up slowly, and gradually increasing exercise back to your norm. Be sure to eat right and get good sleep–seven to nine hours a night–and take your vitamins.

6.   Halted Progress

If you notice your progress has declined or stopped altogether, it may be one of the signs of overtraining. If you have overtrained, you may have damaged your muscles, rather than building them up. Then they are continually been re-torn and damaged. Muscles need time for proper rest between training sessions if they are to be built up rather than destroyed.

7.   Insomnia

If you are having trouble falling asleep at night, you may be overtraining. It's possible to be too tired to fall asleep right away. At the other extreme, you may feel as though you can't get enough, no matter how long you sleep. Both of these extremes may be the result of overtraining. When you put too much stress on your body by pushing yourself too hard, your body may release stress hormones such as cortisol, which can hinder your sleep. 

8.   Increased Heart Rate

If you are experiencing a higher than normal heart rate, it could be from overtraining. Check your heart rate every morning and write it down in a notebook. If your heart rate is increased over an extended length of time, it could be from overtraining. Realize, too, that the increased heart rate can result from several unhealthy habits, such as dehydration, caffeine, stress, or lack of sleep.

9.    Overly Fatigue

If you are ending your exercise session feeling exhausted, rather than energized, this is one of the signs of overtraining. If the exercise is done properly, your body will release endorphins, which make you feel good. Sure, you may be tired, but it should be a "good tired" feeling, not a drained, worn-out, I-need-a-nap feeling. If this describes you, listen to your body and change your exercise routine.

Solutions to Overtraining

  • Take time off to restore your body.
  • Assess your eating habits, ascertaining that you are getting sufficient calories from nutritious foods. Get your carbs from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and your lean protein preferably from vegetarian sources, and healthy fats. Include a good multi-vitamin supplement.
  • ŸUpon resuming training, mix up the muscle group and try targeting one set of muscles at a time. Reduce repetitions, taking it more slowly.
  • Regular deep tissue massage helps prevent injury by relieving muscle tension. Use a home massage system to work on yourself at home.
  • ŸSpecially designed balls used for body rolling will relieve pain of the back, shoulder, calves, hamstrings, knees, or any joint or muscle.
  • Hot and cold showers, or hot and cold packs on the affected area activates nerves to carry impulses into the body to stimulate circulation and the immune system, improve digestion, and lessen pain sensitivity.
  • ŸBegin your exercise session with full concentration. Leave your problems behind. If you are using a public gym, avoid stopping to talk between sets. Let nothing interfere with your exercise until you are finished.
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