Fitness Articles

7 Hidden Signs of Overtraining

How to Know When to Lay Off the Exercise

1.6KSHARES
When it comes to healthy habits, you can have too much of a good thing. Fiber is good for you, but too much fiber is a major diet no-no (if you've done it, you know what I'm talking about). Even too much sleep can backfire and hurt your health. And exercise is no exception.

In fact, trading evenings on the couch for marathon calorie-burning or muscle-pumping workouts day after day--without adequate rest--is a surefire way to burn out, hurt your performance and even get yourself injured. While everyone is different and no certain amount of exercise is automatically ''too much,'' it's recommended that you take one to two rest days a week, especially if you're working out at a really high intensity or with heavy weights. In general, exercising for up to 90 minutes (at a moderate intensity), most days of the week is reasonable and healthy, but you should take into account your fitness level, health status and how your body responds.

You might already be aware of some of the common signs of overtraining, but sometimes the body sends more subtle signs that you're working out too much.  These signs can sometimes be so sneaky that you may not realize your workouts are causing them.

We've gathered seven of the unique and misdiagnosed symptoms of overtraining. While none of these is guaranteed to be caused by overtraining (always talk to your doctor), it's possible that if you've been putting in lots of hours at the gym lately, your heavier workouts could be causing these less-than-healthy results.  

Exercise leaves you exhausted instead of energized.
Exercise should make you feel good and give you an energy boost. Yes, you might feel tired or fatigued right after a tough workout, but if you leave the gym exhausted, tired or generally feeling like you could go home and take a nap, it might be a sign that you're overdoing it. If you're not getting that feel-good endorphin rush that's one of the awesome by-products of being active, it's time to take a look at your training and see what your body may be telling you!

You get sick easily (or it takes forever to get over a cold).
When you exercise regularly, your body is constantly spending energy and working to repair those muscles. This means that when you come in contact with a bacteria or a virus, your immune system isn't able to give 100 percent to fighting off that cold or flu. So you get sick and can stay sick longer if you don't give your body the time off it needs to take care of itself. Remember, your body is an amazing machine that does much more than just power your workouts!
Continued ›
Page 1 of 3   Next Page ›
1.6KSHARES

Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

More Great Features

Connect With SparkPeople

Subscribe to our Newsletters

About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomeGirls.com, FitBottomedMamas.com and FitBottomedEats.com. A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • DUSTYSPARTAN
    Yeah, I know all about this, just finished a workout that wouldn't normally be that hard and left the gym totally deflated and wanting to go to bed! Time to take a week off training I think.

    http://www.cara
    llumaactivesr
    eview.info/ - 4/16/2014 1:36:25 PM
  • SAELBELLE
    Great article. The last 2 months I have had trouble getting motivated to workout, but I made myself do it. About half hour after finishing, I'd feel exhausted, yet couldn't sleep.
    I also found it wasn't helping with stress and I was short fused. I thought it was just summer holiday stress & weight gain.
    A few days ago, my body just gave up and my sciatica got inflammed and now I'm probably unable to workout for the next month. I am usually good at listening to my body and what it needs, but I ignored the signs this time and am now paying for it. - 1/19/2014 8:21:57 PM
  • This totally happened to me. It derailed months worth of work. My body got tired of fighting me and just shut down. Over doing it can really screw up your goals. - 11/13/2013 12:10:53 PM
  • Good info. Thanks - 8/28/2013 6:55:23 AM
  • Great article - 6/27/2013 9:50:07 PM
  • I have to be careful with my body. - 6/27/2013 8:51:18 PM
  • GIANT-STEPS
    I use my waking pulse rate to detect over-traiining. When my waking pulse rate is higher than normal for a few days I cut back.
    One thing I always say is that you don't get stronger from working out, you get stronger recovering from your workout. When you don't give yourself time to recover than you are shortchanging yourself. - 4/23/2013 1:53:22 PM
  • My legs hurt really bad when I overdo it. - 4/14/2013 9:30:36 PM
  • Good article.I can relate.

    I'm new to SparkPeople and relatively new to regular strenuous exercise, Yesterday, I went to my Tai Chi class,. When I came home I felt seriously energized. My inner Tazmanian Devil surfaced. I went into a cleaning frenzy. In contrast, I went to a fun Mud Run/Obstacle course a couple of weekends ago. While I did great and finished the race, afterwards, I slept 16 hours. When I awakened I felt rejuvenated and refreshed. I guess I really needed the sleep.

    Thanks. - 4/3/2013 12:21:05 PM
  • MIASTAUBIN
    Great article and not something a lot of people are aware of! I remember training a few years back and constantly being sick, and injured every other month, on again off again training, as soon as my head hit the pillow I would fall asleep within seconds, it was not good! We need to remember to listen to our bodies!
    If you feel tired, try a warm up and see how you feel after that, maybe that day is better of spent going for a walk or taking a break. Training 6-7 days a week will actually take you further away from you goal in some cases, remember less is more! ~Mia St-Aubin - 4/2/2013 9:37:08 PM
  • Pretty sure I'm affected by all of these :\ - 4/2/2013 10:11:02 AM
  • I've felt the exhaustion after a good run and have definitely had the sore muscles for days but I just thought that was a part of the whole "no pain, no gain" philosophy. Having said all that though, I do not exercise everyday - five to six days a week - yes but not everyday. So I really don't think I'm over-exercising. - 2/25/2013 2:00:13 PM
  • I felt this way while doing the Insanity work out. I looked great but I was so crabby and sleepy.
    Thanks for the information.

    ~Meme - 12/3/2012 9:01:06 AM
  • This is an interesting article! I could see it easily turning into excuses. :)

    For me, I have a tendency to get really sick right when I get to what I think is a great fitness level. Right now I have bronchitis and it's a rather nasty case. The only cure is complete rest because it's self-perpetuating and the slightest strain inhibits recovery.

    I wonder if it became this bad because I continued exercising when I had a cold, if the cold was due to exhausting myself or due to the guy behind me who coughed through the whole workout session, or just bad luck.

    Someone else said there's a fine line between overtraining and not enough and it's really easy to find excuses not to exercise. - 11/29/2012 1:39:41 PM
  • I've felt the heavy legs and bored from over exercising. So true that rest can do the body good! - 11/29/2012 4:28:01 AM
Popular Calories Burned Searches: SparkPeople 10-Minute Jump Rope Cardio Workout Video (Coach Nicole)  |  SparkPeople 10-Minute Bootcamp Cardio Workout Video (Coach Nicole)  |  SparkPeople Cardio Blast DVD: Walk It Out Workout (Coach Nicole)

x Lose 10 Pounds by January 7! Get a FREE Personalized Plan