We can all agree that exercise is good for your body. As you get into shape, you’ll notice more stamina, increased focus and a host of other benefits. However, as with everything else, you can have too much of a good thing.
Overtraining syndrome (OTS) is when you’re pushing your body too much and not allowing it to recover properly. Usually, this can happen when you’re working toward a specific goal (i.e., running a marathon) or if you become overly focused on exercise in general.
Unfortunately, the dangers of OTS can be extensive, and you might wind up ruining much of your progress. So, with that in mind, we want to take a look at nine signs you may be overtraining. If you notice any or all of these, it’s time to step back and reassess your routine.
#1 Extended muscle soreness
We’ve all experienced the pain of a workout the following day. Your muscles are sore, and it can hurt to move, particularly when extending various parts of your body. However, if you continue to feel that way for days after your first workout, it could be a bad sign.
If you’re overdoing it, your muscles don’t have a chance to recover, which means that you just keep tearing them. Not only is this not healthy, but it could cause you to lose muscle mass, rather than gain any.
#2 Increased fatigue
Yes, the point of a workout session is to build up a sweat and get your heart pumping. However, if you find yourself experiencing exhaustion sooner and sooner during your routine, it’s likely a sign of OTS. Again, your body isn’t getting the chance to recover, so you’re in a perpetual state of fatigue.
Typically, two things can cause this with overtraining – lack of rest and lack of nutrients. It should be pretty easy to figure out which option is making you the most tired, so adjust your methods accordingly.
#3 Decreased motivation
No matter who you are, the desire to workout can disappear from time to time. Maybe you’re already tired from your daily schedule, or perhaps you’re just feeling lazy. Those days are unavoidable, but if you find that they are happening more and more frequently, it could be OTS.
That being said, you should mostly worry if you’ve been training for a long time and suddenly notice a shift in your motivation. If you’re still new to your exercise regimen, it could just be your brain wanting to get things “back to normal.”
#4 Excessive dehydration
Working out will make you thirsty, but you should be able to quench that thirst with plenty of water. However, if you find yourself chugging gallons and never feeling satisfied, it could be a sign that you’re in a catabolic state. In that case, your body is consuming muscle tissue for protein since your diet isn’t providing enough to recover after a workout.
#5 Consistent injuries
Unless you’re a professional athlete, you shouldn’t be injuring yourself at the gym regularly. Yes, it’s possible to pull a muscle here and there, but these incidents should be rare. However, if you’re getting hurt more often, it’s a sign that you’re pushing yourself too hard. It’s tempting to work through the pain to maintain momentum, but you’re doing more harm than good. Get some rest and let your body heal before resuming any strenuous exercise.
When you get into overtraining mode, your body starts producing extra stress hormones. These hormones prevent you from falling and staying asleep, even if you’re exhausted from the gym. So, if you’re staying up later or you don’t feel rested after a full night’s sleep, chances are OTS is to blame.
#7 Mood swings
Another side effect of excessive stress hormones in your body is that you can become irritated more easily. On top of that, it’s harder to focus on any one task, so you might find yourself distracted more often. There are other reasons for mood swings, however, so pay attention to see if you’re experiencing any other symptoms before assuming it’s OTS.
#8 Decreased performance
Ideally, as you bump up your workout, you should notice an improvement in your capabilities. For example, you might start lifting heavier weights or running longer distances on the treadmill. However, if you’re staying stagnant or backsliding despite your best efforts, you’re likely experiencing OTS. Again, because your body isn’t given a chance to recover, it won’t get stronger or build up stamina.
#9 Harder to complete workouts
When you change your workout routine, it can be more exhausting at first. However, if you haven’t switched things up too much lately and you’re struggling to finish, you might be overtraining. Also, if your heart rate shoots up faster than usual, that can be a bad sign. Start to taper down your routine until you can get back on track.
Taking care of your body
Overtraining can have severe consequences if you’re not careful. These warning signs shouldn’t be taken lightly. No matter your situation, your health is the most important part. If you are experiencing an injury or pain, the experienced team at Cary Orthopaedics can help. Contact one of our four conveniently located Triangle locations for an appointment.