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Signs You Might Be Overtraining



Signs You Might Be Overtraining

Here at Own Your Goals, we talk a lot about the importance of rest days. Allowing your body to rest and recover is just as important as the actual exercise itself. 

When we exercise, we cause tiny tears in our muscles (hence why they hurt the next day!) that need to be repaired. The body repairs these tears by layering on extra muscle fibres, causing our muscles to strengthen and grow - but it can only do this when we’re at rest. 

If we overdo things by not resting and training too hard and for too long, then we risk experiencing overtraining syndrome. So what signs should we be looking out for and what can we do about it?

What is overtraining syndrome?

Working out regularly, to a high intensity, is really commendable. You’re committed, motivated and making great progress towards or even exceeding your goals. Go you! 

But doing so without adequate rest is risky business. Training without enough rest can actually set you back, leave you at risk of injury and cause burnout. 

What are the signs and symptoms of overtraining?

Overtraining syndrome can lead to various different symptoms, that can affect us both physically and emotionally, and you may experience some or all of them:

  • Feeling absolutely drained of energy, lethargic or tired all the time
  • A decreased appetite and unexplained weight loss
  • A racing heart 
  • Suffering an increased number of colds etc due to an impaired immune system
  • An inability to get enough good quality sleep
  • Lacking enthusiasm for the exercise you used to love
  • Decreased athletic performance or workouts feeling more difficult 
  • General, overall muscles aches and pains
  • Persistent, nagging injuries 
  • Brain fog and difficulty focussing 
  • Feeling depressed, anxious or irritable
  • An inability to switch off or relax

Many of these symptoms can also be signs of something else, such as stress, anxiety or as a consequence of the perimenopause or the menopause

But if you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms and you’re not sure why, think about your training schedule. Have you been overdoing things and ignoring your body’s requests for rest? If so, you could have developed overtraining syndrome. 

What can I do if I think I'm overtraining? 

Relaxation, relaxation, relaxation. (That’s how the saying goes, isn’t it?) It’s all too easy to just say, oh switch off and relax, but we know it's hard, especially if you have goals to smash. 

But sometimes, taking a break to reflect on how far we’ve come and what we need to do to go further is just what we need. 

If you’re struggling with aches and pains, try to book in for a sports massage if you can. They may be able to give you advice on how to look after certain muscle groups that are causing you issues. Also, never underestimate the power of a hot bath for soothing tired muscles (and a tired mind). 

To prevent overtraining syndrome coming back, always factor in rest and recuperation. Target certain muscle groups on certain days, rather than full body workouts and have at least one full rest day a week. On your rest day, if you still want to exercise, try some gentle yoga or low impact walking. 

You’ll still get there, we promise! 

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