It’s good to exercise and stay active. However, like everything else, you can have too much of a good thing. When you train too often and too hard without giving your body enough time to recover, you run the risk of overtraining, I tried to workout my calves everyday (they are so small) and the results was not what I

Overtraining occurs when the body does not get enough time to recover from training. Some call it “under-recovery” to emphasize that the condition happens when exercise is not balanced with recovery time.

Overtraining can affect anyone on an exercise regimen. It can affect professional athletes, the regular gym-goer, and even the home exerciser. For beginners and the less fit, the condition may set in sooner; but professional and experienced athletes can also experience overtraining symptoms by taking on too much too soon.

Signs of Overtraining

© Can Stock Photo / MrGarry

Below are eight warning signs that you could be suffering from overtraining.

1. Chronic fatigue 

According to a January 2013 statement by the European College of Sport Science and the American College of Sports Medicine, chronic fatigue is a frequent sign of overtraining. When you don’t get enough rest after exercise, you feel drained, lacking in energy, and washed out. This contrasts with normal exhaustion after exercise, when you should recover within a couple of hours.

2. A decline in fitness

Are you struggling through your workout? If you can no longer run as fast as usual, lift weights that you’d normally lift, or if you’ve noticed a drop in stamina, you could be suffering from overtraining.

3. Persistently painful and sore muscles

Most people look upon muscle and joint pain as a normal part of physical training. However, if you suffer persistently from sore muscles to the point of disrupting your life, it’s probably time to step back from training.

4. Difficulty sleeping

Although overtraining leaves you tired and exhausted, it robs you of sleep. In addition to monitoring exercise load, researchers recommend monitoring sleep patterns to identify overtraining.

5. Loss of appetite 

You’d expect overtraining to leave you famished. On the contrary, overtraining leads to loss of appetite. Researchers associated with Waseda University in Japan suggest that loss of appetite is a symptom of overtraining.

6. Loss of libido

Research has shown that overtraining can lead to reduced sex drive, for both men and women. Overtraining leaves you exhausted, and the loss of libido is associated with an increase in cortisol, the stress hormone.

7. Decreased immunity

If you don’t give your body time to rest and repair, you will end up overtraining and suppressing your immune system. Look out for consistent infections, colds, and coughs, which could indicate overtraining.

8. Loss of enthusiasm for your routine

Considering all the above, it’s not surprising that you may lose enthusiasm for your exercise routine. This is your body telling you to step back and give it time to recover. It’s time to change your workout routine !

How to get back on track ?

So, how do you get back into training with enthusiasm, reaping all the benefits as planned?

Step back from training

Take a break from exercise. The duration of the break will be different for everyone. Listen to your body and rest for a few days, or even weeks, if need be. Allow your body and mind time to recover.

You may start by monitoring your morning heart rate. Only go back to training when your morning heart rate is consistently back to normal. Your heart rate should rise normally with exertion and go back down quickly with inactivity.

Scale down your exercise regimen

Exercise for a shorter period than you did before. For example, if you normally do five sets of a weight-lifting exercise, reduce this to three sets. If you normally do 30 minutes of cardio, reduce it to 15 or 20 minutes.

Set aside regular rest days

Incorporate regular rest days into your exercise routine every week. In addition, wait for at least 48 hours before re-working a particular muscle group, to give those muscles time to repair. Experts also recommend taking a break from your normal exercise of choice and doing something completely different.

Examine your diet

After a workout, you need to refuel your body with adequate proteins and carbohydrates. Re-examine your diet and include enough fruits and vegetables, as well as whole foods. It’s time to see if your diet covers your training goals adequately.

Get enough sleep

According to a 2013 Gallup survey, some 40% of Americans regularly don’t get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep affects exercise and physical training. A 2011 Stanford University study concluded that adequate sleep improved the performance of basketball players. Experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep to allow for repairing of muscle tissue.


Final thoughts

Going forward, you need to address the factors that led to overtraining in the first place. If you are a beginner, ease your body into exercise gently. If you are an experienced, professional athlete, don’t take on too much too soon. If need be, talk to a coach or personal trainer who can help you balance between working out and rest.


5/5 - (5 votes)