SIGNS OF OVERTRAINING
Lilli Inman, Certified Personal Trainer
Welcome to the new year! Chances are, you’ve decided to make a commitment of self-improvement (yeah, but this time you really mean it!). That might mean better commitment to health and exercise. Perhaps you’re not getting the results you’re looking for, or you’re being honest with yourself that you could put forth a bit more effort for your fitness. Whatever the reason, more gym time is what you’ve decided.
Trainers typically see this every year. Well meaning people take out gym memberships or suddenly increase their time spent in the gym. As if by clockwork, a few months later most of them are no longer there. What causes this?
One of the main reasons is overtraining. Are you in the gym every day? Perhaps you’re putting too much load on your body without taking the time for proper rest between workouts. Signs of overtraining may creep up on you if you’re not paying attention. While injury is often the most recognized, there are several other signs you may not be aware of. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has recognized nine signs of overtraining:
- Decreased performance despite an increase in training intensity. You feel you’re just not making progress.
- Your regular workout seems more difficult. Your heart rate may remain elevated longer after your workout or during the day.
- Excessive fatigue. Occasionally feeling tired after a heavy workout is normal. However fatigue will accumulate if you don’t give yourself enough recovery time.
- Agitation and moodiness. Overtraining affects your stress hormones, including cortisol and epinephrine. This can cause mood swings and inability to concentrate.
- Insomnia or restless sleep. You may have a hard time winding down or relaxing before bedtime. This can place your body at risk for chronic fatigue.
- Loss of appetite. More training should stimulate more appetite to fuel you, but your body’s fatigue may actually suppress your appetite, causing poorer performance.
- Chronic or nagging injuries. Muscle and joint pain that doesn’t subside within two weeks should be cause for concern. Overtraining also taxes all the body’s systems and can make it harder to ward off infections. It could also lead to lower bone density.
- Metabolic imbalances. Nutrient deficiencies can occur, such as iron deficiency anemia. Other complications can include gastrointestinal, endocrine, nervous or reproductive system disturbances.
- Psychological stress and/or depression. If you live for grueling workouts and due to injuries cannot, this can have a negative effect mentally.
If you have any questions regarding possible overtraining symptoms or just want to make sure you’re training correctly, please talk to one of our trainers. We are happy to help you train successfully!