10 Signs and Symptoms of Overtraining Your Body
Exercise can be a great addition to your lifestyle – but sometimes people exercise to excess, either to relieve stress, in a frantic attempt to lose weight, or simply because they get addicted to exercise. As I’ve said before, it’s a fine line between getting enough exercise to improve your health and fitness, and too much training which will slow down your progress.
Here’s the tell tale signs that you need to take it down a notch.
1. Sleeplessness – If you’re over doing it in the gym, chances are your sleep patterns are terrible. You may fall asleep quickly, but then toss and turn and suffer from interrupted rest all night. This is really dangerous, as it’ll affect virtually every aspect of your life. Take a full week off and give your body the rest it needs.
2. Body Aches – Do you wake up feeling achy everywhere – in your shoulders, hands, low back and feet. Or maybe it takes you a few minutes to warm up and walk around pain free. This is another tell tale sign of too much training, which may release the nasty stress hormone cortisol, leaving you feeling like crap!
3. No Appetite – Food is fuel and when you exercise regularly your calorie requirements goes up. But when you’re over trained, you may find yourself not hungry at all. And that’s not good. Short term you may lose muscle mass and get weaker, but the real problem is that if not addressed, in the long term you can slow your metabolism and set yourself up for fat gain in the future.
4. Scheduling – I’ll admit I used to be compulsive with my workouts, and would plan my entire day around my workout. I’d miss family gatherings, important events and other get togethers just to be sure I didn’t miss my workout. While I admire dedication, there’s a clear point at which exercise becomes more important than anything else. Exercise should be part of your life, not your whole life.
5. Fat Gain – Despite all of your efforts in the gym, and a 7-day workout schedule, you’ve gotten fatter! Once again hormones can be at play here. In addition to cortisol being released, your testosterone levels may be sub par, which can lead to gaining body fat. Strange huh? Workout and get fat, or rest a bit and be leaner. Strange, but very true, trust me.
6. Food Compulsion – We all know a healthy diet goes hand in hand with a successful fitness and health program, but our relationship with what we eat can get taken too far. I used to refuse to eat a piece of a cookie, a scoop of ice cream, or a slice of bread. That’s not healthy and can lead to potential eating disorders. One bite or a taste of anything won’t harm your health or ruin your abs. Try to keep a healthy perspective.
7. Workout Duration – Honestly, if you’re in the gym longer than an hour, something’s wrong. I regularly talk about exercise intensity and the fact is you can workout long, or hard, but you can’t do both. If you’re wandering the gym for 90 minutes, or 2 hours, either you’re there to socialize, or you’re addicted to exercise. Try setting a limit of no more than 60 minutes.
8. Constant Fatigue – This may or may not go along with sleeplessness. Too much exercise can have you feeling like a slug all day, not as alert, and even falling asleep at your work desk. You’ll feel ready to nap at a moments notice, but never feel rested. I too have been there and it’s no fun. Do you feel this way?
9. Increased Sickness – If you’re doing too much, you’ve most likely weakened your immune system and may be prone to getting sick more often. If you find yourself more susceptible to the common cold or other sicknesses, you may need to reevaluate your workout volume and frequency.
10. Weakness – Even if you’re eating right and sleeping well you may be getting weaker in the gym, or running slower per mile times. That’s also a sign that you need more rest or time between workouts to allow for proper rest and recovery. If you’re not making progress in the gym, or worse going backwards, it’s time to adjust.
At one time or another I’ve suffered from all of these red lights and I’m sure many of you have felt one or more of these indicators too. I know exercise can be fun, but for your own health and fitness, you must be smart about how hard, and how much you train.