1. You simply can’t finish a proper workout.
When your body is overtrained, you won’t be able to lift the weights you normally can, you won’t have the energy to do as many sprints, you won’t have the stamina to run your normal route, and so forth.
Even though you’re hitting the gym each day, you’ll feel progressively weaker, slower, and more lethargic. I’ve had it so bad before that I couldn’t stop yawning in the gym and simply couldn’t push myself to do another set.
2. You’re getting fatter despite training hard
.Well, you think you’re getting fatter at least, but what you’re actually dealing with is an increase in water retention.
This is caused in part by the hormonal disruptions caused by overtraining (and this can be especially problematic when you’re restricting calories for weight lose.) restricting calories for fat loss
Namely, your testosterone levelstcan plunge while your cortisol levels rise, which causes a whole host of problems related to protein metabolism, insulin resistance, appetite, and more.
The end result?
You train harder and watch your diet closely, but you look fatter.
3. You’re training hard every day of the week.
I’ve yet to meet someone not on drugs that can lift heavy, sprint hard, or engage in otherwise intense training every day of the week and still adequately recover.
Unless you have Wolverine’s gift of regeneration, it’s absolutely vital that you take at least two days off weights per week, and at least one day of absolutely no exercise.
What I like to do is lift weights Mon – Fri and do cardio Sun – Weds. Saturday is a full rest day.
4. You’re restless at night and are having trouble sleeping.
If you do a lot of aerobic exercise and are overtrained, your sympathetic nervous system can remain excited at all times and you’ll feel restless and unable to focus, and your sleep will be disturbed and broken.
5. You feel overly fatigued and sluggish.
If you’re a weight lifter and are overtrained, your parasympathetic nervous system becomes overly stimulated, leading to a decrease in testosterone, an increase in cortisol, a crushing fatigue (mental and physical), and a stubborn tendency to hang onto body fat.
6. You have odd aches and pains in your joints, bones, or limbs.This is one of the first things that I notice as I approach the point of overtraining. My shoulder will start to ache. Then my wrist. Then my knee. Then my forearm.
It’ll usually take 8 – 10 consecutive weeks of intense training before these things turn on, and I just take a week off or “deload” for a week to let my body recover. They’re always gone by the end of the rest period.
(These things can also be signs of poor form, but that’s easy enough to diagnose. If you’re lifting heavy weights for the first time, you can also expect various aches like these right off the bat.)
7. You feel drained and crappy after what normally would be a good workout.
The post-workout feeling of general well-being is one of my favorite things about training. The rush of endorphins just calms your entire body and mind and can last for hours. It’s great, isn’t it?
Well, if it never comes, and if you feel irritable and uncomfortable after working out, you may be overtraining. Exercise should elevate your mood. If you’re feeling negative instead, it might be time to take a rest.