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Signs of Overtraining

5 signs of overtraining

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We always encourage i.d. members to exercise at the level that's right for them, taking into account their age, diet, metabolism, physical limitations, fitness goals and so on. High-intensity endurance training may be right for some people, while for others it crosses the line into overtraining.

Taking into account that all of us are different, there are some basic signs -- a state of chronic fatigue, depression and underperformance that persists despite rest  -- that signal when you're overtraining.

"We think overtraining can be highly personal and goal-dependent, but we generally describe overtraining as any time that exercise is working against you and when adding more will make the problem worse," personal trainer George Deoudes says. "If you want to avoid overtraining, you'll want to pay attention to certain personal cues."

1. You repeatedly fail to complete your normal workout. Some people train to failure as a rule, and that can be OK for them. In this instance, we're pointing to failing to lift weights you usually lift, run sprints you usually run and complete hikes you normally finish. If you're getting weaker, slower and your stamina is deteriorating despite regular exercise, you're probably overtraining. 

2. Your joints, bones or limbs hurt. When you experience pain while exercising, don't you think it's time to reassess how you're exercising? If you creak, wince at every step and dread staircases, it may be a sign that you're exercising too much or too long. The danger here is that your daily endorphin high has over-ridden your natural pain receptors. You should probably listen to them. 

3. You're losing leanness despite increased exercise. Sometimes, working out too much may cause muscle wasting and fat deposits. You're burning calories, probably more than ever before, but it could very well be coming from glucose or muscle tissue. Have you been working out like a madman only to see your definition decrease? You're probably overtraining.

4. You feel restless, excitable and unable to sleep in your down time. When a power athlete overtrains, the sympathetic nervous system steps in. These folks experience hyper-excitability, restlessness and an inability to focus -- even on athletic performance. For these people, sleep is generally disturbed, recovery takes longer and the resting heart rate remains elevated. In these cases, the body is reacting to a stressful situation by heightening the sympathetic stress system's activity levels. 

5. You're suddenly falling ill a lot more often. Many things compromise your immune system, from dietary changes to poor sleep habits. If you're eating right and enjoying solid sleep, but you find yourself with a nagging cough, a little sniffle, some congestion or a headache, your immune system may be suffering from the added stress of overtraining.

Read more about overtraining