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Overtraining? Top 9 ways to know if you are doing it and how to fix it!

Overtraining? Can there be such a thing? Are you telling me NOT to work out today?

No, no, no, no, let me explain.

Overtraining can best be defined as the state where your workouts are exceeding your recovery. Overtraining Syndrome is the term for the collective symptoms of not getting the proper rest and recovery over the course of weeks or even months. Everyone has good days and bad days in the gym, so don’t confuse that with actual overtraining. But, with that said, if you read over this list and it screams out “THIS IS ME!!!” it may be time to take a couple of days off for some good R&R.

  1. You Repeatedly Can’t Finish Your Normal Workout – Like I said, everyone has good and bad days in the gym (I can personally vouch for that), but this is a series of really bad days. Let’s say that on a normal day you can do 100 round kicks on a heavy bag with no problem, but for the last few days after 45 your legs are spent. This is a prime example of overtraining, where your body is starting to regress, instead of progress.
  2. You Have Been Working Out Consistently And Start To Get “Thicker” – Obviously if you are eating improperly this is going to contribute to this, but what I mean is that if your diet is on point and your workouts are consistent, but you start to notice those dreaded love handles are getting bigger with every burpee you do, that is overtraining. Working out too much can lead to the dreaded “C” word…Cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone in your body, which if thrown out of balance with your bodies other hormones can increase insulin resistance as well as fat deposits (especially around the midsection!)
  3. You Have Been Working Out Hard Every Day – If you have been pushing your physical limits every day, that’s great! But you had better push your rest limits too. Between your job, family life, and working out there isn’t enough time to really get the rest your body needs. It’s OK to take a day off! (Your body will thank you!) Pro athletes push human boundaries with their workouts sometimes 2 or 3 times a day, but they also don’t have to worry about the new cover sheet on their TPS reports. If you want pro style results, get pro style rest.
  4. Your Sleep Is Being Compromised – When you kill it in the gym every day, your Sympathetic Nervous System gets so excited that it wants you to stay up all night and think about your great workout! If you notice changes such as restlessness during the day, irritability, and poor sleep quality, it’s time to take a little time off.
  5. Your Heart Tries To “Rise and Shine!” Before You Do – If your waking heart rate is elevated, let it have a day or two off. Your heart is very thankful for all of the hard work you have been doing to keep it nice and healthy, but remember it needs to rest and recover too!
  6. You Are Achy All The Time – I’m not talking about “ I did squats yesterday and today my legs hurt”. That is just your bodies way of telling you “Good job”, I’m talking about genuine deep joint and muscle pain. First thing to check is that your form is correct (Most actual pain comes from not doing the exercise properly) followed by making sure your joint is working properly! Listen to your body, if it’s just being whiny, just say to it “Shut up, it’s burpee Thursday”! But if it has filed a formal complaint, you better listen.
  7. You Are Getting Sick More Than Usual – This was the first way I knew it was time to take a little break. If you aren’t the sickly type, but recently you can’t shake a cold or sore throat, it could be your body putting on the brakes. Your new abs could be compromising your immune system. Keep track of all those sniffles and if it becomes a regular occurrence, grab a tissue, and take a break.
  8. You Are Suddenly A Hermit – If you are normally a social butterfly and now can’t seem to find the energy to go out and socialize, you could be overtraining. When your body can’t recover enough to complete the tasks it does every day, the last thing it’s going to let you do is go to all you can eat wings with your buddies all night. Trying to make time for everything by cutting out rest is never worth all those delicious, spicy, morsels of goodness.
  9. You Always Feel Like Garbage – If not being able to move for days or even weeks after a tough workout is becoming the new normal, it’s time to make a few days off from the gym the “New” new normal.