One of the dangers of working out, especially in January when people are hitting the gym harder than ever, is overtraining. The basic premise is that you are constantly exceeding your body’s capacity for recovery. By doing this the body becomes overloaded and can go a bit haywire in its attempts to compensate.
This often leads to specific symptoms people can pick up on which in a way are cries for help from the body. It’s like your system starts shouting, “I need a break!” So what are some of those common warning signs?
Common Overtraining Syndrome Signs
- Your workouts are suffering – By that you are not able to meet or exceed your previous level of anything from cardio to weights. It is even worse if you are regressing and losing strength or stamina.
- Loss of definition – When your body gets into a state of overtraining it actually messes up the testosterone to cortisol ratio which can then increase fat deposits.
- Problems sleeping – At night are you restless or feeling excitable even though you should be tired? This is usually caused by an elevated resting heart rate and can happen to people who lift weights or perform anaerobic style exercises.
- Fatigue – For those who train for endurance you might feel sluggish or tired all the time.
- Pain – If your joints, bones, or limbs hurt that can be a sign of delayed onset muscle soreness or overworked pain receptors.
- Immunity issues – If you are getting sick more often or for longer than normal periods it can be because your immune system is worn down.
- Post workout dive – If you feel awful after a workout and the next day as well then it might be overtraining. Usually there is a rush of positive endorphins but overtraining turns that positive to a negative.
Quick Fix for Overtraining
There is one simple fix for overtraining syndrome; take a break. If you think you might be overtrained then you probably are. A lot of people don’t want to hear that because they are almost addicted to their training and are concerned about losing stamina, strength, and muscle if they take too many days off. Guess what? If you are overtrained then that is already happening.
Just take a week off from workouts. Seven entire days without doing anything at all is just what the doctor ordered. So what should you do during this down time from the gym? Use it to your advantage of course!
- Review your diet – Take the time to check your intake and see if you are getting the proper nutrients and combination of protein and carbohydrates.
- Review your supplements – Maybe you need to add some more fuel to the tank?
- Review your training program – Does it need more off days for rest? (Probably)
- Get extra rest – Make sure you are getting 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night. With the gym eliminated you should be able to get to bed earlier.
Most people will benefit a lot from the off time. Our bodies grow when we rest so sometimes with a busy life and lots of stress, taking a break is exactly what our bodies need to reset the system. If you still feel bad after a week then visit your doctor, but if you feel fresh and energized then jump back in the saddle!