What are the symptoms of overtraining?

Most of us have problems with getting enough exercise and for others, like me, getting enough rest might also be a problem. Getting too much exercise and not enough rest may lead to overtraining and be just as detrimental as not enough exercise.

Look out for these signs to maintain good training progress and health:

  • Extended muscle soreness
    You worked out hard and maybe added some new exercises that you have never done before. It is normal to be sore for 24 to 48 hours. If you are aching for longer than that, it means that your muscles are not recovering and is not beneficial for your training efforts.

  • Insomnia
    Can’t sleep even though you are training really hard? When you are overtraining, your nervous system (neuromuscular fatigue) and stress hormones (e.g., cortisol) can impact your sleeping pattern. Remember that your progress occurs when you are recovering, and this means sleeping. The opposite of insomnia is also a warning sign. If you are sleeping longer than usual, but don’t feel rested, you are likely not getting the good quality deep sleep that you require for a full recovery.

  • Moodiness
    Being inexplicably irritable and moody may also be a sign of overtraining. If you are “set off” by small things that usually wouldn’t bother you, or your moods are all over the place, and you can't figure out why this could be a sign of fatigue.

  • Depression
    Even though regular exercise is good for your mental health, overtraining is not. Be careful if you believe that “more is better,” as this could have a detrimental impact on your mental well being.

  • Halted progress
    Have you stopped improving for a significant length of time? Remember that your muscles and tissues need time to repair and recover. This is only possible when you give it enough time to rest and recover before training again.

  • Altered resting heart rate
    If your resting heart rate changes first thing in the morning, usually higher than normal, you might be overtraining. This is the result of an increased metabolic rate to meet the demands of training and healing.

  • Getting sick frequently
    Exercise causes stress on the body and also your immune system. With a depressed immune system, you are more susceptible to not only getting sick, but it will also take longer to recover from exercise.

You need at least 1-3 rest days per week and maybe more as you get older. Don’t be scared of undoing all of the hard work; it takes several weeks of rest to start deconditioning.

A little time off may even make you more excited and motivated about training and if anything, will make your training more productive. Life is too short to be fatigued, depressed, moody, sick and exhausted all of the time. It is also definitely too short to spend all of it in the gym