While exercising has plenty of positive benefits, it can be possible to work out too much.

You may be thinking, “I barely have time to work out, so why should I be worried about working out too much?” Well, it turns out that overtraining can be different for every person.

A marathon runner may be able to complete back-to-back marathons over the weekend but attempting that same feat might put others in the hospital.

In this article we will discuss several strategies that can help you prevent overtraining your muscles.

What is Overtraining?

“Overtraining” is the term that is used when individuals start to experience more negative effects from there workouts. Because exercise impacts each person differently, you may consider treating it like a prescription. Simply put, there is an amount of exercise that you can increase to give you consistent progress over time. This is called the “does-response relationship”.

However, there is a limit or tipping point to the amount of exercise and the increase in progress you see overtime.

CAUSE: NOT ENOUGH REST

Researchers have found that sleep is an essential component of health and well-being. The amount and quality of sleep can affect your physical development and cognitive performance. Getting enough sleep can improve your physical performance and focus, and reduce risk for injury and illness.

Rest is not only the amount of sleep you get but is also about the amount of time you give your body to recover between workouts. Heavy weight or high-volume exercise can cause significant damage to your muscle tissue. Because of this, adequate rest is need between bouts of resistance exercise. Lack of appropriate rest between workout can lead to injury and reduced performance.

CAUSE: NOT ENOUGH FOOD

Having enough fuel is essential for the energy dependent processes that are ongoing during the contractile activity of the muscles that move your body. When you don’t eat enough, you won’t be able to perform strenuous activities and exercise.

Overtraining symptoms

Not getting enough sleep and consuming too little fuel to meet your bodies energy needs is a recipe for overtraining, which can slow your progress towards your health and fitness goals. If you’re not sure how to identify overtraining symptoms, take a look at the few of these common symptoms.

PERFORMANCE REDUCTION

Let say you are trying to lower your time to complete a 5k race. You could have the perfect training program set up to accomplish this goal, but you are sleeping less than 6 hours per night and eating 1000 calories a day because you are also trying to lose weight. The combination in reduction in sleep and food could cause you to lose weight but might not give you the recovery or fuel needed to help you body build strength and endurance needed to lower your 5k time.

WORKOUTS FEEL HARDER

If you are concerned about overtraining, a simple way to identify it is to focus on how hard your workouts feel. If you know that a workout should be relatively easy to accomplish but when you repeat that same workout a week later and it feels like you have to suffer in order to complete it, then you might be overtraining.

CHANGES IN PERSONALITY

Overtraining causes an increase in stress hormones that include cortisol and epinephrine. If your hormone levels are not balanced, then you may experience mood swings and become more irritable.

 

If you are concerned about the effects that overtraining could have on your progress toward your health and fitness goals, then start slow and increase the frequency and intensity of your exercise at a rate that is comfortable for you to complete. If you start to notice some of the above symptoms, reduce your exercise frequency or work on improving your sleep and calorie intake.