4 Signs you’re overtrained – What is Overtraining?

signs of overtrainingMost of you will hopefully know that there is a correlation between recovery in-between training and your level of performance. However, how do you know if you have recovered enough?

Over training is a phrase used by many but do people truly know the meaning?

There are those who claim it is very hard to overtrain as the body is ever adapting and adjusting to new stimuli. These people bust their ass in the gym every day. Leave everything in the weights room a,nd train all out for long periods of time day in day out. If not managed correctly, this can and will lead to overtraining.

Then there are the other camp of people who know the importance of training hard and making progress, but are also fully aware of overtraining and take the appropriate measures to ensure they do not comprise their training.

So, how do you know when you’re over trained?

What Is Over Training

what is overtrainingOvertraining is a physical, behavioural, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual’s exercise exceeds their recovery capacity.

Overreaching is the scientific term for describing short-term physical overload that is usually managed away within a few short days. Over-reaching which isn’t properly managed leads to overtraining.

Overreaching is actually needed at certain times within a training program to progress, so as long as this is managed this is not a bad thing. This is what is needed to force an adaptive response to be initiated in your body.

Now a lot of individuals claim it is very hard for the average gym goer to overtrain or overreach, and we do not realise the workloads the human body is capable of adapting to, but you tell me how you feel after doing 10 x10 squats every day for a week…

So in any training plan that is periodised to progressively increase overload on your muscle recovery is essential! Incorporating recovery into your routine is essential, so look at recovery as a crucial part of your training, one that will benefit not hinder your performance.

Over Training Symptoms

There is a thin line of clairty from “training hard” to “over-training”. Some will refuse to ease off, thinking that if they don’t go all out 24/7, that their gains won’t be as good.

Here are some signs you may be overtraining-

1. You repeatedly fail to complete your normal workout. I’m not talking about the sets that you can’t complete, but failing to lift the weights you usually lift, or failure to complete your run. If you find yourself getting weaker or slower, you may be overtraining.

2. Muscle Soreness and feeling like crap can be a sign of overtraining. DOMs is a common occurrence amongst newbie gym goers, but if you’re an experienced/intermediate lifter and are still sore 5 days down the line, be sure to schedule a break and rest. This type of extended soreness is a sign your muscles aren’t recovering


3. Do you find yourself depressed? If you’re overtraining, depression and dullness is a possible outcome. You may start to find going to the gym taxing and not interesting. This could be a sign of overtraining.  You may start to suffer from body image issues and negative thoughts towards your goals. So it is important to set realistic short and long-term goals, create a plan, and adapt it if need be.

4. Have a decreased motivation to get to the gym? If you generally live, breathe, and sleep the gym like myself (this is necessarily a good thing) and you suddenly become disinterested in working out, you’re probably overtraining yourself. Instead of going to the gym and possibly risking injury by performing an exercise only 50% or less, take some time off. A decrease in training volume or a whole week off can be very beneficial to your recovery both physically and mentally.

My advice is that if you are progressively adding volume to your training then recovery is an essential part of your routine. Listen to your body, health, improve your performance, and reach your goals!

Train Smart & Hard

Scott Edmed Weight LossTraining hard is just half the battle when it comes to nailing your workouts. You need to apply common sense, logic, and think about what you’re doing.

If you find any of the above symptoms cropping up, especially more than 2, chances are you need to take your foot off the pedal.

I’m not saying you need to take a month off from the gym or anything like that. However a ‘de-load’ week could be exactly what you’re in need of.

It’s also possible that overtraining is occurring as a result of poor nutrition. Are you dieting for fat loss on too few calories?

Are your carbs and fat’s too low? A pro-longed fat loss diet, in which you are constantly reducing calories, hoping to speed up results will leave you drained. Throw in excess cardio, and this is a sure fire way to run yourself down.

It’s not just those who dieting to lose fat that can feel over trained. Often it is when people are training for muscle gain, that over training occurs. The adage “go heavy or go home” hits home a bit too hard, so a trainee may continue to push heavier and heavier every week leading to constant overreaching which will result in overtraining.

It is crucial you are following a properly periodised training programme, that accounts for recovery, and eating enough calories. You do not need to run yourself into the ground every gym session. Preparation of diet is so important, especially if you’re looking to eat when travelling.

You don’t need to stack up on supplements. However, if you are falling short of your protein intake, a simple protein supplement can help out massively.

The Bottom Line On Overtraining

Now that you know what the signs of overtraining are, you should be able to spot the symptoms at the earliest possible chance. By adjusting training, taking rest, or adjusting your diet slightly, you will be able to get out of the rut, rather than grinding yourself into a worst state.

Remember, to train hard, but more importantly, train smart.


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Scott Edmed is a fitness enthusiast and physique competitor. When not educating himself or others about fitness, he can be found soaring the skies as part of the RAF.

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