Pushing Yourself to the Edge: Symptoms of Overtraining

Have you ever visited a message board or been told by a trainer the following?

* If you train a muscle group more than once a week, you are overtraining.

* If you train more than 5 days a week, you are overtraining.

* If you workout more than once a day, you are overtraining.

Folks, while overtraining is a real concept, it’s not as simple as slapping down some magic number. It does require that you evaluate each situation and the signs and symptoms below in order to effectively evaluate a potential overtraining situation.

The next time somebody tells you are overtraining without getting all the facts based on situation, blow them off.

Myth: Overtraining is defined is a set number of days a person workouts. Training 5 days in a row or more is too much and that is overtraining.

Fact: Overtraining is different for everybody based on several factors. It’s not as simple as “if you train 6 days a week, you are overtraining.” That is incorrect. A person can suffer from symptoms with fewer days and somebody else can suffer no symptoms and make fantastic gains with 7 days a week. It cannot be defined by slapping down a number for every single person in every single case.

Here’s some signs and symptoms to be aware of in regards to overtraining and overreaching. They are grouped into physical and psychological categories.

Now if you suffer from a couple of these, it’s not a sign of overtraining. If you have 5+ of these on a regular basis, it is probably cause to adjust your schedule. Just because I can’t sleep on night does not mean I’m overtraining.

Physical Signs & Symptoms;

* Elevated resting pulse / heart rate
* Frequent minor infections
* Increased susceptibility to colds and flu’s
* Increases in minor injuries
* Chronic muscle soreness or joint pain
* Exhaustion
* Lethargy
* Weight loss
* Appetite loss
* Insatiable thirst or dehydration
* Intolerance to exercise
* Decreased performance
* Delayed recovery from exercise

Psychological Signs & Symptoms;

* Fatigued, tired, drained, lack of energy
* Reduced ability to concentrate
* Apathy or no motivation
* Irritability
* Anxiety
* Depression
* Headaches
* Insomnia
* Inability to relax
* Twitchy, fidgety or jittery

There’s a lot to be aware of when it comes to your body’s signals about pushing yourself too far. The most common sign of overtraining is the total loss of motivation to train (and maybe other areas of your life) mixed with some the symptoms above and exhaustion.

It might be wise to take a break if you are not motivated, exhausted and you have some of the symptoms above.

I’m a big believer in taking a training break every 8-10 weeks anyway to keep myself from ever reaching the above states of potential overtraining. It helps to take a break regardless but that’s up to you.

Do you think any of these signs and symptoms applies to you?

Are there some that you suffer from not listed here?

I’d love to hear from you!

Yours for Bigger Gains, More Often,

Marc David – CPT
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
Author of NoBull Bodybuilding

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4 Responses to "Pushing Yourself to the Edge: Symptoms of Overtraining"

  1. Arif:
    January 13, 2011 03:42 pm

    Hey I appreciate the time you put in for writing this article, helped me out a lot and cleared my doubts. I do an AM / PM schedule whereas I do hi rep / lo weight in AM and the reverse in PM. Thankfully I have noticed none of the symptoms of over training as you listed. But at nights after 11:00′ish ever since I started doing AM / PM schedule I noted myself sleeping like a log. Was worried that was overtraining, but I think I am OK. Thanks again for u r article sir.

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  2. samantha:
    September 13, 2007 09:26 pm

    i enjoy what you said about over training, because i am getting ready for a show and I’m in the gym twice a day for 6 days, and i wonder to myself am i over training,You shine some light for me,cause i am lean,and cut nice but can’t get any real size, i wonder is it my diet as well
    Thanks alot samantha

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  3. themba:
    September 11, 2007 01:11 pm

    I am impresssed by how straightforward is your newsletter in informing or answering some of my fitness questions. It is like they coming just in time wghen I

    Leave a reply  
    1. Anonymous:
      May 09, 2011 10:50 pm

      hello, i am a 56 yr old grandma. i have been working out w/videos, running some, and have used different machines in my home over the years. . i am in great shape , i would say especially for my age. i spend lots of time w/my 4 grandchildren, riding horses, playing outside.
      but, i have been EXHAUSTED the last 2 weeks and just read this and have many of the symptoms you have described. i am very bad about taking time off from my w/outs. but , i have had to the last few days , cuz i cannot get up the energy to do anything. i am going to see my dr. next month, but those 2 lists pretty much describe how i’ve been feeling. how much time off would you suggest? i’m afraid to take off to much and lose the fitness that i have attained over the years. the older i get, the harder it is.

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