Hold onto Your Hard Won Fitness: Avoid Overtraining

Overtraining is the result of giving your body more work or stress than it can handle. Overtraining occurs when a person experiences stress and physical trauma from exercise faster than their body can repair the damage. Symptoms of overtraining may be different from one person to another.  Any combination of the symptoms, described below, may indicate that you are over trained and need to recover.

symptoms of overtraining


Physical Symptoms of Overtraining

Physical symptoms of overtraining include the following:

  1. Lethargy
  2. A plateau in performance.
  3. A drop in performance.  A drop in workout performance is one of the earliest signs of overload.  Altered performance levels are more apparent in endurance activities such as running or cycling.
  4. Inability to complete workoutsLoss of libido
  5. Poor co-ordination
  6. Swelling of the lymph glands
  7. Abnormal heart rate
  8. Elevated heart rate measured when you wake up in the morning.  When you put more stress on the heart, it has to work a lot harder.  An increase in your normal resting heart rate, say from 45 beats per minute to 60 beats per minute, could indicate that you are placing excessive stress on your body.
  9. Elevated exercising heart rate
  10. Chronic muscle soreness.  Persistent muscle soreness that lasts for hours or days after your workout is a sure sign you need more rest.
  11. Lack of appetite. A decrease in appetite can occur in the middle to later stages of over exercising and goes hand in had with feelings of fatigue and lack of motivation.  By slowing down bodily processes like metabolism, the body attempts to force a reduction in its workload.
  12. Weight loss (when not trying).
  13. Frequent minor infections

Psychological Symptoms of Overtraining

Psychological symptoms of overtraining include the following:

  1. Tiredness
  2. Sleep disorder (both too much and not enough). Being in a state of overload comes with disrupted sleep patterns, so instead of getting much-needed rest, you become restless and can’t fall asleep.
  3. Feeling of “heaviness”
  4. A desire to skip workouts (your body is telling you something and you should listen).
  5. Lack of enthusiasm when it comes to both the gym and everyday activities.
  6. Decreased concentration.
  7. Mood changes.  These signs are common when your body is overstressed physically.  The stress hormones you release when you are emotionally stressed are also released when you are physically overloaded.
  8. Irritability
  9. Depression
  10. Anxiety


It’s important to recognize symptoms of overtraining and take steps to pull back.  This will allow you and your body to get the maximum benefits from all your hard work.

About the Author Lisa