Are You Working Out Too Much?
Injury Care & Prevention Sep 21, 2017
Are You Working Out Too Much?

You commit to an intense exercise regimen or you’re training for an event like a marathon and you’re giving it all you’ve got day after day. You’re focused and motivated to reach your goals. In fact, you’re so gung-ho that you almost don’t even notice you’re not seeing the results you’re expecting. Maybe you notice something seems “off” but you’re not quite sure what it is.

It could be a sign that you’re working out too much.

Instead of feeling energized, maybe you’re feeling lethargic and just plain blah. Or maybe you’re just not as psyched as you once were to get your workout in – what used to be fun suddenly seems like too much work. Or maybe you’re expecting to lose weight from all the exercise you’re doing and suddenly your body just seems to want to hold onto body fat and you’re not shedding an ounce.

You know that expression “too much of a good thing”? That certainly applies when it comes to working out. If you overdo it, your body will start giving you signs that you need to cut back a bit. So pay attention to the signs and adapt your efforts accordingly.

Here are 5 signs you’re working out too much:

You’re not performing as well as you used to. If you can’t seem to complete the same mileage you used to, feel yourself slowing down or find that routines you used to breeze through suddenly seem difficult, it may be a sign that your body needs a break. Pushing yourself too hard can thwart gains in strength and endurance.

You’re not recovering as quickly as you used to. It’s normal to feel sore for a day or two after a workout, but if you’re still hurting days after you work out, your body is telling you to rest. You need a day or two of rest between tough workouts and should also intersperse intense workouts with lighter workouts. You also need to get adequate sleep and eat healthy so your body can repair tiny muscle tears and build new muscle.

You’re tired. Exercise can give you a short-term boost in energy, but if you’re doing too much you may start to notice you’re feeling more tired than you should be or won’t feel that energy boost after a workout. You may start to fatigue earlier than normal while you’re training or may notice that you are generally lacking energy or feeling groggy, even though you’re not getting sick. Overtraining can also lead to insomnia, which makes it difficult to get in a good night of quality sleep.

You’re not enjoying your workout anymore. Too much of a good thing can make you lose interest in what you once loved. Pushing yourself too hard can also lead to the release of stress hormones that make you feel anxious and irritable. If you notice a change in your personality or differences in your attitude towards training, it’s time to evaluate whether you’re doing too much.

You notice physical changes. Overtraining can lead to an elevated resting heart rate. You may also notice you’re more prone to injury or are getting sick more often.

There is no exact definition of “too much” when it comes to working out – each person is different. But if you start to notice any of these signs, it may be time to cut back on your training and give your body a break.