Fitness Articles

7 Hidden Signs of Overtraining

How to Know When to Lay Off the Exercise

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By Jennipher Walters, Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor         
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We all know that muscle soreness is a good thing. It means that we've really challenged ourselves and that our bodies are working hard to make us stronger and fitter. But if you've been doing an activity or exercise for awhile but tend to get sore really easily--or stay sore for more than 48 hours--it's probably a sign that you overdid it and next extra rest. This is why it's so important to ease into exercise, adding time or intensity slowly over weeks instead of all at once. The body simply needs time to adapt and improve!

If you have any of these signs, it's probably worth cutting back on the intensity, frequency and/or duration of your workouts. Swap an hour run for 30 minutes of easy yoga or trade that high-intensity boot camp for a long walk with your dog. While it might seem like you're taking time off from your fitness and weight-loss goals, you're actually doing the opposite: You're making yourself stronger by giving your body the rest that it's (subtly) asking for!
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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

  • I've noticed when I have overtrained, I feel listless. I discovered an app for the iPhone that tracks heart rate variability and makes a recommendation on whether the user should consider reducing training load that day.

    Each morning, I use the app to take a measurement. After 4 days, a baseline is calculated. The baseline adjusts with additional measurements.

    I am just a user, not affiliated with the folks who own the app. If you're looking for help, the app is HRV4Training. I don't understand the science behind it. I can say that the days I feel weary, the app usually suggests a lighter workout or rest day.

    The app could be handy for those who are data junkies. - 4/24/2016 4:08:15 PM
  • Wow...is that why my legs were super heavy on the track. They just had ENOUGH! I better take a rest. Whoaa - 1/12/2016 6:54:35 PM
  • thanks for the article ill take today off. see if that will help - 7/30/2015 10:40:05 PM
  • QUICKEASYFIT
    Hey Jennipher, we love this article! We just wrote a similar one on overtraining and would love if you checked it out. You can find the article here: http://www.quicke
    asyfit.com/am
    -i-overtraini
    ng-signs-of-o
    vertraining-a
    nd-how-to-recover/ - 6/17/2015 9:54:21 PM
  • 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

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