The Warning Signs of Overtraining

Thursday, July 8 2021 4:49 PM
By Ellen Healy

Are you a workout junkie? Maybe in the gym more than five times a week or sometimes putting in two workouts a day? For this alone, we applaud you! It’s truly incredible that you take the time and put in the work, day in and day out, to reach your fitness goals.

That being said, if you overwork your body and find yourself asking, "am I working out too much?" you might be overtraining, which can halt your training routine with serious health concerns: pain, injury, and significant fatigue, to name a few.  

Today, we talk about overtraining and the signs to look out for when your body tells you to stop.

Signs of Overtraining

man struggling to get up after overtraining

Strained Muscles for Extended Periods

After a hard workout, it’s understandable that your body will be sore or in pain the next day. But if that pain and soreness last longer than two days, you may have gone too far in your workout routine. And if you continue to push through pain, it can lead to severe injuries. So listen to your body when it’s asking for rest.

Frequent Illnesswoman who is sick on the bathroom floor

When you overtrain, your body uses energy and other resources to help you recover. When in recovery mode, the body is not focused on protecting you from potential illness and infection. That is is because your body is in a continual catabolic state, which lowers your immunity. If you notice that you’re frequently sick, you might be overtraining. Give your body some time to recuperate and consider adding more vitamins to your diet.

Trouble Focusing

When you overwork your body, you're also overworking your mind. The entire body is spent both physically and mentally, leading to a lack of concentration and motivation. As a result, workouts may become more of a job or an obsession rather than an enjoyable and motivating experience. If you notice a change in your concentration or motivation, take a much-needed break from training.

woman too tired to get out of bedCan’t Fall Asleep or Oversleeping

Too much training leads to an overstimulation of the body, which makes it difficult to fall asleep. This trouble can lead to serious sleep issues, such as oversleeping or insomnia. In addition, sleep issues can lead to depression, irritability, and agitation. So what do you do? You guessed it: rest and recover. We also suggest that you schedule your workouts well before hitting the hay. This way, the adrenaline you got from working out has time to subside so you can relax and fall asleep with ease. Want more ways to get better sleep? Check out this blog!

How to Get Better Sleep


Mood Changes or Depression

We all know that exercise is good for you, not just for the body but also for the mind. Exercise can improve your mood and prevent depression. But if you’re overdoing it, it can have the opposite effect as overtraining messes with your stress hormone levels, leading to mood swings, depression, or mental fog.

When you overtrain, it’s easy to forget the real reasons why you train at all, and it’s even easier to develop issues with your body image. You may start to think that you’re only worthy if you train and that you only look good if you’ve worked out. Keep yourself and your motives in check. Create realistic goals that you can reach. Motivate yourself with better reasons than just “looking good.” Remember that training does so much more for you than your looks. It prevents disease and helps you lift your niece or nephew high in the sky. Take time to rest and remember your “why.”

Increased Injury

If you don’t allow your body time to rest and recover fully, you prevent it from repairing minor injuries or strains. Not letting this time recuperate can lead to more significant problems in major injuries, not to mention that overtraining aggravates old injuries. If you feel significant pain, pay attention. Is it just soreness, or is it something more? If you are not sure, play it safe and rest. 

Halted Progress

Too much of anything is a bad thing, am I right? The same can be said when you exercise too much. When you overdo it, you mess up your hormones, leading to lower testosterone levels and higher levels of “the stress hormone,” cortisol. These hormonal changes can lead to excess fat in your belly, a loss of muscle tissue, and weight gain, making you feel like you’re moving backward, not forwards. So skip the derailment in fit life progress and give your body what it wants: a break!


woman stretching before a yoga sessionI now know the signs of overtraining… Now what?

Continue to exercise but be mindful of the warning signs. Listen to your body, rest, and recover.

If you’re consistently active, you’re doing it right. Working out combats health conditions and prevents disease. It improves your mood, controls your weight, and leads to better sleep. Exercise is good for you. There’s no doubt about it. But if you don’t allow your body to rest, you could halt your progress and develop negative health concerns.


The Bottom Line:

We’re not telling you to stop working out. We’re simply pointing out the overtraining signs that you should pay close attention to. Be in tune with your body and what it needs so that you can get back at it! When your body is begging for rest, listen, and honor the request.

Want to know some common mistakes we all make in the gym? Check out the following blog so you can stop more ways in which we further hurt ourselves and halt our gym progress.

Common Workout Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Know the mistakes, know when you're overtraining! React, respond, and safely reach fitness success.



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