Luke Teuma | UK Personal Trainer
Each one of us has either overtrained or felt like we have done way too much in the gym. In my opinion, it’s extremely important for the body to rest, especially if you’re working hard in the gym as well as living your everyday life.
We’re going to explore the signs and symptoms of overtraining to determine if they are in need of some rest!
Signs and Symptoms of Overtraining
The most obvious sign of overtraining is fatigue. Now there is a big difference between being generally tired and potentially overtraining, so whats the difference?
Sometimes you might just be particularly tired leading to an unsuccessful gym session, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re overtraining.
Signs of fatigue through overtraining is usually when your fatigue is persistent both in and out the gym.
Are you getting tired very easy in the gym? Are you feeling more tired than usual at work? Use these symptoms to tell wether you need a well earned rest.
#2 Lack of Motivation
I pay close attention to my clients psychological approach to the gym, ensuring they use it to achieve the best results they can, so it’s easy for me to tell if their mind isn’t in the session.
Do you walk into the gym and feel excited and pumped for your workout? Or does it seem like a drag, would you prefer to go home and sit on the sofa? I’ve always found if my clients are continuously not enjoying their well planned workouts that they should rest.
Motivation is so important to maintaining and surpassing your current fitness goals and if that continually lacks or is always missing then I would definitely suggest to take a break.
#3 Unusual Aches and Pains
Muscle ache and pains are all perfectly normal and this doesn’t pinpoint that you’re overtraining.
DOMS (Delayed Onset muscle Soreness) is the pain you feel the day or two after a workout and cant last as long as a week. However, if you seem to keep getting aches and pains which persist or get worse when you train, (for an example an internal pain or ache) that is a stronger sign that you’re possibly overtraining.
Sometimes your muscles and joints need some time to rest and recover from the load/resistance you’ve been putting them through, this allows the muscle fibres to repair, making them stronger in the future.
#4 Getting Sick Easier
We all get ill and this cannot be put down to overtraining on its own, but it can most definitely play a part. Essentially, if you’re overtraining, your body is simply being run down and hasn’t had enough time to recover.
When your body is not performing optimally, it isn’t as strong physically and mentally, causing you to become ill quicker. This is a result of Cortisol (stress hormone) levels being too high.
When cortisol levels are too high it deactivates your body’s natural self-repair mechanisms leaving you vulnerable to every illness you encounter!
Side effects of overtraining
✓ Psychological Reasons
The simple way to look at overtraining is that you’re over doing something. In this case it’s training, so if you really love fitness but you’re not giving yourself a rest, you may not have as much drive to go and do a workout, leading you to stay at home for a few days or even longer!
Sometimes it may feel that your gym sessions are not as effective as your previous sessions, so you may think you’re lacking progress or not seeing changes, but the reality is you may just need to rest! Allow your body to recover and then work at your normal intensity, so that your brain doesn’t play tricks with what you see and what is actually there.
If you’re training too much it can leave your more open to potential injuries and in extreme cases, muscle tears. This occurs as your body starts to get lazy and you keep training at your usual intensity.
When your body is being lazy it simply cant keep up with the demand your putting on it! This is where injuries and tears can occur, the body struggles to keep up and just has enough, which then pushes you back even further to reaching your goals.
How to Prevent Overtraining
To avoid regular periods of bad gym sessions and unmotivated perspectives of the gym, give yourself particular days off whether it be a few days per week or certain days per month.
This will allow you work hard for that amount days knowing you have short rest breaks coming soon. This means you can work hard towards that point, rest, then go an have an amazing workout the next day/week.
This structure will work differently depending on the individual and what your goals are.
Take Home Message
Take time to think about how your body is feeling after a long stretch of training without no rest. I would always suggest to go with what your body feels!
If you’re feeling demotivated and have a negative outlook towards the gym, rest!
If you keep getting sick, picking up injuries, or have unusual aches and pains, also take a break.
Allow your body time to rest and recover to ensure lack of injury, a boost of mental motivation and keeping your body fitter and stronger for longer.