Are you training regularly with consistent intensity, but not making any gains in size or strength? It could just be a temporary plateau, a leveling off telling you to change up your routine. Or it could be an indication that you are overtraining, pushing yourself too hard.

How To Know If You're Overtraining

When you first start training you’re probably really motivated, excited and enthusiastic. You see results, improved fitness and increased strength, you think to yourself “if a little exercise is good, then more exercise must be better“. But this is not necessarily true, too much, too fast without adequate rest and recovery often results in overtraining.

Signs You’re Overtraining

Your body will give you physical and mental signs to let you know that you are overtraining. Learning to recognize these signs and make the appropriate adjustments will allow you to get your training back on track and avoid more serious overtraining complications.

Signs to be aware of include:

  • Changes in your heart rate. If your resting heart rate remains elevated long after your workout ends your body is trying to tell you it is unable to recover.
  • You are constantly tired and sluggish. Overtraining uses your supply of glycogen and stored energy beyond your bodies ability to replace these stores. Additionally, overtraining can deplete your body’s hormones resulting in chronic mental and physical fatigue.
  • That same hormonal imbalance will cause a lack of motivation, decreased mental alertness and concentration, even a decrease in coordination and ultimately depression.
  • Restlessness and an inability to rest, relax or sleep at night. Overtraining stresses the body and causes imbalances which upset the normal body functions. That elevated heart rate combined with these imbalances will cause your muscles to twitch, increased discomfort in your joints and muscles all leading to restlessness and the inability to relax.
  • You may get sick more often. Overtraining will interfere with your immune system causing you to be more susceptible to colds, flu, respiratory infections and similar illness.
  • Loss of appetite. The increased epinephrine and norepinephrine hormone release caused by overtraining will result in anxiety and a marked decrease in appetite. Over the long term this will also result in a decrease in body mass.
  • Female trainees may experience menstrual cycle disturbances. Overtraining and the resulting imbalances may cause a disruption in a woman’s menstrual cycle including irregular periods or the absence of periods.

Conclusion: How To Know If You’re Overtraining

Learn to recognise the early symptoms of overtraining. Your body needs adequate time to repair, rebuild and recover to the demands that you place on it. To avoid overtraining practice periodization exercise in moderation and occasionally cut back on your load and intensity.