How To Tell If You Are Overtraining
We all need plenty of exercise, right? I mean, you can never have too much exercise, it’s good for us. Yes, but there a limit that everyone has and should be respected.
When it comes down to the amount of you need there is a “dose-response relationship,” this means the more you work out, the more benefits you will receive. Unfortunately, there is a tipping point where increased exercise is doing more harm than good.
This point is reached in two ways:
- Far too much exercise without adequate recovery
- Not maintaining the right hydration
This tipping point is known as overtraining syndrome (OTS) and can lead to possible short and long term injury if you are not careful.
It doesn’t matter if you are male or female; the possibility of injury and OTS is still the same. The key is recognising the symptoms as early as possible and preventing them before they happen.
Here are a few signs that you may be overtraining
One of the first telltale signs you are likely to see is the lack of improved performance even though you have increased your reps or are using more weights.
Your reaction is generally a lot slower, and you have a decrease in strength and endurance. If you are runner, you may find that your times and running speeds start to slow and dramatically reduced. This is a common sign of overtraining.
Increased perceived effort during workouts
We all feel the need to put in that little bit more sometimes. However, if you are regularly doing this for every workout, then you have a problem.
Workouts that are generally straightforward can all of a sudden turn into a struggle. You have a dramatic decrease in performance. When this happens, you would typically find an increase in heart rate, which is a clear sign of OTS.
If you find that this is relevant to the way you feel during a workout, take a note of how long it takes for your heart rate to return to normal after a workout.
If you are feeling tired several days after a workout and your arms and legs still feel heavy, then this is another sign of OTS.
You will probably find that this will keep getting worse the more you train, inviting some injury due to fatigue.
Without addressing this properly, this could also lead to something called “low energy availability,” which means that the body is consistently pulling from its energy stores (carbs, protein, fat).
This is a common problem for those that have started a new training regime without eating, drinking, and resting enough.
Agitation and moodiness
You don’t get moody, do you? Surely not ;)
Unfortunately, overtraining your body is one of the symptoms of this I’m afraid. Overtraining affects your stress hormones, increase mood swings, unusual irritability, and the inability to concentrate.
Insomnia or restless sleep
It must be noted that there could be various reasons why you are suffering from insomnia or restless sleep. In fact, in most cases, it is a combination of lots of different factors.
Overtraining could be a contributing factor to insomnia. If you look at it this way, it’s a vicious circle because sleep is needed to aide the body in the repair process. Without enough sleep, the body can’t perform this function properly.
If you don’t wind down and completely relax, it makes it a lot harder to get off to sleep. When you do finally get to sleep, you don’t sleep properly. The problem just compounds.
Loss of appetite
Did you know that a hormone imbalance can affect your appetite?
If you are always exhausted after a workout, then this type of physiological exhaustion of OTS can suppress your diet.
Again, similar to insomnia, a loss of appetite has a compounding effect.
If you don’t eat enough, then this can affect your mood, which in turn affects your sleep patterns. Withoutout enough sleep, you suffer from OTS.
When you overtrain your body, you are in effect, overtraining your muscles. When this happens, you are overworking your joints and can suffer significant aches and pains.
If this is the case, then you are also prone to injuring your body.
When this happens, it takes you a lot longer to recover and for your body to repair itself. The problem gets worse as your body is so weak that it finds it even harder to fight infections. From this leads to low bone mineral density and low testosterone.
Lack of Motivation
Arguably, this could be one of the worse symptoms of overtraining. Developing a lack of motivation due to overtraining could seep into the rest of your life too.
In most cases, you would probably struggle to get out of bed, get off the couch, and be in a constant state of stress because you feel that you are not doing enough.
This is more popular than you might think and it is all down to overtraining.
Taking a break or switching up your workout might be your best option. That way, you will be working different muscle groups.
Recovery is probably one of the most underutilised parts of a workout routine. No matter what muscle group you are trying to grow, you need to give them time to recover.
Believe it or not, even your mind needs a rest from time to time.
Not only is this good for your muscles, it’s also good for your mind and wellbeing. It’s also a good idea to drink a lot of water and get plenty of sleep.
As you increase the amount of weight you are lifting, your body uses a lot of calories.
To maintain a healthy balance means you need to increase how much food you are eating. With increased exercise comes a higher metabolism.