by Matt Weik
If you’re not an IFBB Pro Bodybuilder, I think we need to understand one thing… Your life shouldn’t revolve around the gym as if you were getting paid to have the best physique in the world. That said, there will be people who say it’s impossible for “the average” person to over-train. Well, if you’re falling into any of the categories below, there’s a chance you may be over-training.
Striving to improve your health and physique is one thing, but obsessing over the gym, workouts, recovery, and meal prep is taking things a little too far. Now, that’s not to say that you can’t make all those things a focus but making it the only thing you focus on and obsess about could be leading you to over-training or even an exercise dependence/eating disorder.
Below, we will discuss five signs you should look for to indicate you may be over-training.
1. Your Personal Life is Being Affected
Being committed to your health and fitness goals is a great thing, but they should be kept in check with how it affects your personal life. Unlike professional bodybuilders and fitness competitors, you don’t need to obsess over your physique and the process as much as they do. They eat, sleep, and train — in that order, every day.
If you try to mirror what professional athletes do, you’re going to find yourself over-training. Unlike these athletes, where those things are part of their “job,” you have your own 9-5 job, plus a home life. If you’re finding that you’re putting your workouts, sleep, and food prep above your family, you need to take a good, hard look at your priorities and what you’re doing.
You need to balance your health and fitness goals with your personal life. Don’t miss family gatherings, nights out with the family or friends, just to ensure you get in your workout and meals. This can lead you down the ugly path of over-training.
2. You’re Tired Throughout the Day
While being tired throughout the day could be due to poor sleep, if you’re getting the recommended minimum of seven hours of sleep each night, you should wake up well-rested and not be exhausted throughout the day. If you are, you may be over-training.
If you feel like over-training may be the culprit, get more rest, back off of your workouts slightly, and focus on your nutrition to better fuel and recover your body and brain. If there is an emotional or psychological aspect to this, you may need to sit down with a professional and help understand how to make the necessary changes and cope with what you’re experiencing. Over-training and exercise dependence go hand-in-hand.
3. You’re Oversleeping
If you’re the type of person who always hits the snooze button on your alarm seven times before finally getting out of bed, this particular sign may be a little difficult to identify. But if you’re typically someone who is up as soon as their alarm goes off and you’re finding yourself now hitting the snooze button and going back to bed on a daily basis, you may be over-training.
When you are over-training, it’s common for your body to want to recover, which means it may produce more melatonin. This increase in melatonin is your body’s way of telling you that it needs more rest in order to fully recover from over-training.
4. You’re Burned Out
Most of the time, you’re probably excited to head to the gym and crush a workout. Then, suddenly, you just don’t feel motivated to go at all. Maybe you’ve become disinterested in working out or just aren’t energized to put in the effort when you actually do show up. It happens, and it’s called burnout.
Burnout happens to many people who push themselves over time, but a great way to prevent this and prevent it from leading to over-training is by ensuring you’re taking rest days and actually resting during those days without engaging in any form of exercise.
By taking rest days, you’ll recover faster, find your strength improves, your motivation is steady, you’re seeing progress from your efforts in the gym, and you’re mentally and physically in a good place both in and out of the gym.
5. You’re Getting Injured Often
One of the worst things that can happen to you due to over-training is getting injured. If you find you’re getting injured, you recover, and then get injured again, it may be a sign that you’re over-training.
Should you find you keep getting nagging injuries, it would be best to shut it down and allow your body to rest, recover, and heal. At a minimum, you can lighten up your workouts or change the type of workout you’re engaging in. For instance, if you find your knees are getting banged up and hurt from running on a treadmill, switch it up and swim laps in a pool or do something that doesn’t involve high impact that would bother your knees.
Getting injured is never a fun experience, and over-training can easily cause you to be sidelined due to never letting up and allowing your body the proper time needed to rest and recover. Not only can injuries due to over-training sideline you from the gym, but depending on the severity, it may result in you needing to get surgery, which could take you out of the gym for months.