Are you overtraining? How do you know? Your body will actually send you signals to try and communicate that it needs you to slow down and stop pushing so hard. Here are five signs you’re overtraining, and how to bounce back from its negative effects.
1. YOU’RE ALWAYS THIRSTY
If you’re quickly realizing you’re always thirsty, that’s probably a sign of dehydration. Dehydration is a sign you’re training too often, too hard or both. If you try pushing your body too hard, you’re going to end up with a kind of thirst you can’t quench. Not good. Drinking more water to compensate won’t help, though: you need to give yourself a physical break, too.
2. YOUR MUSCLES ARE STILL SORE
The reason taking it easy every once in awhile is so important, even taking a full rest day here and there, is because your muscles can only work so hard. After a workout, they need time to rest and repair. Increasing intensity of your workouts or increasing the amount of weight you’re lifting will make you sore, but that typically goes away after a few days. If you’re still sore three, four days after an intense workout, you’re probably overworking your muscles. Give them a chance to heal.
3. YOU’RE ALWAYS GETTING SICK
Being sick all the time, even frequently, isn’t normal. It’s your body’s way of warning you that its defenses against illnesses are crumbling. Overtraining can actually cause your immune system to really suffer. When that starts breaking down, you’re more prone to sickness. First of all, don’t train when you’re not feeling 100 percent: it’s not wroth it, and you’re only going to keep yourself out of commission longer if you don’t rest up. Second, back off your normal training schedule for a little while. Give your body a chance to catch up.
4. YOU’RE ALWAYS GETTING HURT
This goes back to the idea of muscle repair. The more you work out, the more you put yourself at risk for minor to serious injuries. If you keep training without giving your muscles a chance to recover from your previous workouts, they’re not going to have time to regain their strength. It’s like a rubber band you keep stretching and stretching. Eventually, it snaps. Fortunately, unlike a rubber band, you can heal, if you give your body a chance.
5. YOU’VE STOPPED MAKING PROGRESS
There are several reasons guys plateau, but overtraining is probably one of the most common. Each time you work your muscles, you’re breaking them down a little bit: that’s how they grow. You might think that more training would lead to more growth, but it’s actually the opposite. Breaking your muscles down, then continuing to work them without giving them a rest, only breaks them down further. In many ways, less is more. Don’t go overboard and think you’re doing yourself a favor.
HOW TO BOUNCE BACK FROM OVERTRAINING
If you’re dehydrated, drink a lot of water and rest – physically rest. Sit on the couch for awhile. Take a nap. Take a day or two to let fluids get back into your slowly healing system.
There’s only one cure for muscle fatigue: rest. Either take a full rest day or focus on working out a different muscle group to give the fatigued one a chance to breathe.
The same goes for sickness and injury. You’re not doing yourself any favors by pushing your body when it’s already in distress. Relax. Only get back to training when you feel physically ready,
Be patient. After resting, ease back into things slowly. Or mix things up and try a completely different workout, preferably one that works muscles you haven’t been overtraining.
A few days off and decreasing the intensity of your workouts for awhile isn’t going to reverse all the progress you’ve made. You’ve already done the damage by working your body too hard. If you’re experiencing any of these signs, make rest and recovery a priority. You’ll see better, more consistent results once you learn and try not to exceed your limits.