Yes, there is such a thing as pushing TOO HARD. Most of us can stand to work a little harder at the gym, but work too much and your body will start to show signs of wear and tear beyond the “normal” post-workout fatigues. Here are a few signs of overtraining in your workouts:
If you are ALWAYS thirsty, it’s usually a sign you’re pushing too hard. If your body goes into a catabolic state—breaking down muscle for energy—it depletes stored energy and leaves you craving water. Try to get some rest, drink plenty of fluids, and give the gym a break for a few days until your thirst returns to “normal”.
Altered Resting Heart Rate
Your resting heart rate is lower than your workout heart rate. Your heart can’t always be pumping at full speed, but it needs a break. But if your resting heart rate is higher than normal, it may be a sign your metabolism is working too hard to meet the energy demands placed on your body by your workouts.
Too Much Soreness
There is a certain amount of muscle soreness to be expected from a workout. Even if you stretch properly, you push your muscles to their limits and it feels good to be a bit tired or sore. But if that soreness continues for days after the workout’s done, it may be a sign you’re pushing too hard. The soreness should dissipate within 72 hours—any longer, and you’re overworking.
Exercise is supposed to improve your emotional state, not make you feel gloomy or depressed. Overtraining can be stressful, but it’s usually the result of body issues or the NEED to improve your body. You may end up suffering from depression as a lack of visible results, or because your body isn’t as perfect as you want. It’s time to cut back on the training and put it into perspective!
Insomnia is one of the most common side effects of overtraining. Too much working out can overload your nervous and endocrine systems, leading to a drastic increase in stress hormone production. Too much cortisol and adrenaline can interfere with your sleep. But remember, your body “grows” during sleep. It’s when all the repairs are made to your muscles, and you see the real results you want. You can’t let anything interfere with the quality of your sleep!
If you’re often getting sick, it’s a pretty clear warning that something’s not right. It’s probably your workouts. Heavy workouts can actually dampen your immune system for a short time, leaving you vulnerable to infection and disease. The continuous state of catabolism (breakdown of muscle) can also reduce your immunity. Get rest, eat well, and take immune-boosting supplements to protect yourself from illness.
If you’re training right, you shouldn’t be suffering any injuries. However, fatigue can increase your risk of injuries, as you’re more prone to improper movement when tired. An increase of injuries or the recurrence of old injuries can both point to the fact that you’re training too hard.
A lack of motivation is common among those who work out too hard. They push and push and push until they feel “burned out” on their workouts. It can be a switch from one day to the next—you’ll go from highly motivated to feeling like the last thing you want to do is work out. Take a week or three off working out, and try a new type of exercise. When you come back to the gym, it’s more likely to feel good again.