As everyone knows, exercise is good for you. It helps to keep your weight down, helps to keep you toned up, and helps to make you feel good. So then, if getting a little exercise is good for you, then it must be better to get even more and if getting more indeed is better, then it stands to reason that getting a lot would be even better. Sounds logical, doesn’t it? However, this is not always the case.
When you exercise with fairly high intensity, and you exercise that way often, there will come a time at some point when your body will begin to slowly start to shut down. People will get to this point at different times, depending on their fitness levels and exercise intensity and frequency. If after exercise you tend to feel more wore out than worked out, you may already be a victim of overtraining.
There are some signs that your body will give you both physically and mentally that will let you know that you are overtraining. It is wise to recognize these signs and act accordingly, before the problem gets to the point of causing you possible serious injury. Some of the major signs to be aware of are:
Lack of motivation
Loss of appetite
Chronic muscle soreness
Chronic stiffness at the joints
Longer recovery times
Loss of concentration
Reduced self esteem
You need to understand that whatever your exercise goals are, your body needs ample time to recover and adjust to the demanding loads you placed on it. Sometimes people who are newcomers to the world of exercise will try to do too much too soon, and may ignore their body when it’s trying to tell them to take a break.
In the case of some who have been into exercise for a while, they will often view these signs as an obstacle and feel the best way to deal with it is to “work through it” or “tough it out”. For some others, the problems causing them to overtrain may be more psychological. Excessive exercise is now recognized as a legitimate problem, much like anorexia nervosa or bulimia.
For most, the solution to the problem is simply to exercise in moderation or cut back on the intensity from time to time. Use periodization in your routines. When you feel the signs of overtraining coming on, reduce the intensity of your workouts for a while. When you are ready to increase the intensity again (your body will let you know), then gradually start to pick it up again.
Know your limitations, and never try to compare yourself to anyone else as this is asking for problems. There are some times when you should even just take a whole week completely off and do no exercise at all. This is like taking a vacation from work, it gives you body and your mind a chance to relax and rejuvenate so you can start again a week later nice and fresh.
Remember, if you exercise to the point of overtraining it is almost as bad as not exercising at all. Overtraining will only impede your progress, not help it and in the long run, if you let yourself overtrain, you may be headed for some very unwanted side effects.