It's a common assumption that the more exercise you get, the healthier you'll be. But this isn't always the case. In fact, exercising too much or overtraining can cause negative effects and actually reduce your physical performance. While some people may be able to workout every day with no ill effects, most need a break to allow the body to heal and recover. Without this downtime, you're likely overtraining and causing more harm than good.
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1. Reduced Appetite
If you exercise or lift weights too much, one of the key signs of overtraining is experiencing a reduction in appetite. If your body is that overtaxed and overwhelmed so that you don't feel like eating, you won't have enough energy to exercise properly anyway. You need to eat a balanced diet to maintain your energy levels to sustain your workouts. If you're just not hungry, it might be time for an exercise break.
2. Difficulty Sleeping
Failing to get enough sleep or suffering from insomnia at night could be a sign of overtraining. This is usually a result of your body being too pumped full of endorphins following exercise. Too much training can make it hard for your body to relax and calm down after the workout. This may be amplified if you exercise near bedtime.
3. Poor Performance
If you suddenly start to perform worse than you normally do, it may be a sign of overtraining. Whether you're running slower than normal or you can't lift the usual amount of weight you're accommodated to, overtraining could be to blame. In any case, this sign is a call from your body that you need to rest and take some time off.
4. Immune Problems
Even though exercising typically improves immune system function, too much can actually damage it. In fact, overtraining can cause you to get sick more often and even leaves you more susceptible to infections. If you feel a bout of the sniffles coming on after a rigorous workout schedule, consider cutting back for your health's sake.
5. Chronic Fatigue
If you feel very tired after a workout and for days following, you likely have been overtraining. Chronic fatigue can leave you feeling run down and out of energy, even when you've gotten plenty of sleep.
6. Muscle Soreness
It's normal to be a bit sore following an intense workout. But if you're in significant pain and it doesn't go away for days, you're probably overtraining. Your best bet is to take several days off from exercise and once you start up again, ease into it slowly. Cut down your usual routine and be consistent in warming up and cooling down to prevent further pain.
7. Exhaustion After Normal Training
Another sign that you're overtraining is feeling like you have to work extra hard to get through a simple or standard workout. Your muscles might feel tired or heavy. Your breathing may be uneven and ragged. You also might take longer to recover after exercising than normal. All of these indicators can be blamed on overtraining.
8. Lack of Post-Workout Endorphin Rush
One of the best parts of working out is experiencing that rush of endorphins following exercise. However, if you suddenly stop experiencing this, it's likely due to overtraining. You might feel shaky and anxiety-ridden, depressed or antsy. This is not how working out is supposed to make you feel and is a sign that your body needs a break.
9. You Lack Muscle Definition
If you lift weights too much, you could reduce your muscle definition rather than add to it. In fact, overtraining can cause your body to burn muscle tissue, leaving your body looking less than fit. It may even encourage your body to hold onto fat deposits, all the while burning away your hard-earned muscle tissue. If you're working out a ton and seeing a reduction in muscle definition, it's time to cut back on your session frequency.
10. Increased Resting Heart Rate
Finally, overtraining can be determined by an increased resting heart rate. Even if you're in great shape, your resting heart rate will go up if you're exercising too much. This goes along with the increased recovery period post workout and increased exhaustion. In all cases, you need to take it easy and slow down if you wish to overcome this overtraining hurdle.