Many gym-goers and athletes these days are worried about not getting enough exercise. However, the truth is that there are plenty of us out there who may actually be getting a little too much. How do you know whether you are doing too much? And how do you know when enough is enough? It’s time for you to sit down and analyze your training…

Overtraining is becoming increasingly more common. It frequently occurs in individuals who are training for a competition or a specific event, and they end up training beyond their body’s ability to recover. Individuals often exercise longer and harder so they can improve and be “better than ever”. This is where most people make the biggest mistake because, without adequate rest and recovery, these training regimens may actually lead to a decrease in your performance.

The perfect routine requires a balance between overload and recovery. Too much overload and/or too little recovery may result in both physical and psychological symptoms of overtraining.

A few of the more common signs of overtraining are:

  • Feeling tired or drained, with a lack of energy when doing everyday activities
  • A general feeling of aches and pains in your muscles and joints
  • A sudden inability to complete workouts
  • An inability to sleep or insomnia
  • Headaches
  • An increased number of colds and sore throats
  • A decrease in your training capacity and/or intensity
  • Moodiness and an increase in irritability
  • Depression
  • Loss of enthusiasm for the sport you once loved
  • A decreased appetite
  • An increased incidence of injury
  • A compulsive need to exercise

If you suspect you are overtraining the first thing to do is reduce the amount of training you are doing or stop completely. Allow for a few days of rest, drink plenty of fluids and you can also consider altering your diet if necessary.

One of the easiest ways of measuring whether you are overtraining is by keeping track of your resting heart rate each morning. Any noted increase from the norm may indicate that you are not recovering fully. This, combined with a subjective assessment and your mental state is the most reliable indicator of overtraining. Unfortunately, most athletes ignore these signs and wait too long before they do something about it. An important component of exercise is to continually measure your training and modify your programmes before any damage is done.

There are a number of ways that you can remedy overtraining. As already mentioned, the most important one is taking a break from training to allow your body time to recover fully. Another way may include reducing the volume and intensity of your training or possibly splitting your training programme so that different sets of muscles are worked on different days. Ensure you get sufficient sleep and you can also go for a deep tissue massage. You may need to address any vitamin deficiencies and ensure that the calories you are taking in match the calories you are expending. This will all assist in the recovery process.