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Are you “Overtraining?”

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Is there really such a thing as “over-training“?  I mean, is it possible to workout too much?  The answer to that question is, yes.  Working out too much might seem like a great idea to people and might seems like a great way to speed up results, however, exercise overload is very dangerous to your health and will actually slow and reverse the results you want.  Crazy, isn’t it?  But it’s true.  Working out too much will be counter-productive and actually stop you from seeing the results you want.

So, how do you tell if you are working out too much?  Well, hopefully your doing workout programs such as P90X, Insanity, P90X2, TurboFire that are designed with a strict schedule to follow.  If you follow the schedules provided by those revolutionary Beachbody fitness programs, then you won’t ever have to fear this issue.  If you don’t follow the schedules they provide, or attempt to make up your own schedule without incorporating rest days, you can easily come across the situation of exercise overload.

Here are 10 Signs that you might be “OVERTRAINING”:

1. Decreased results.  Not seeing typical results is one of the earliest signs of overload.  Little or no results are often more apparent in endurance activities such as running, swimming and cycling.  If you find your reps remaining the same or decreasing instead of increasing, then it’s time to take a rest!  All of Beachbody’s workout programs have rest days built in, in fact the new P90X 2 has 2 rest days!!!  Over the years Beachbody has learned a lot about workout success and incorporating rest days is one way to get maximum results.

2. Lack of motivation.  A significant decrease in motivation or enjoyment of the activity can be a major sign of burnout.  This more often occurs in weight lifters or sprinters who have to train at a higher intensity.  If you are getting sick of working out, then perhaps its time to switch it up and have a week of lower intensity workouts.  This is why I like to do hybrids.  By mixing and matching the workouts I’m constantly changing the routines and tricking my body into increase results.

3. Bad Attitude.  Depression, anger, confusion, anxiety and irritability are common when your body is overstressed physically. Those same stress hormones you release when you’re emotionally stressed are also released when you’re physically overloaded.  Working out should make you happy and you should feel amazing!  If aren’t enjoying it, then take a break and switch it up to some different to freshen things up a bit.

4. Longer recovery time. Persistent muscle soreness that lasts for hours or days after your workout is a sure sign you need more rest.  Think of it this way, when you workout, you are literally tearing the muscle tissue.  It must fuse back together and repair itself to become stronger.  If you are working out the same muscle groups over and over again, you are not giving those tissues enough time to fuse back together and get stronger.

5. Elevated resting heart rate. 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 50 beats per minute to 65 beats per minute, could indicate that you’re placing excessive stress on your body.  Make sure you are using a heart rate monitor during all exercises.  CLICK HERE to read my article about “Exercising Your Heart rate”.

6. Fatigue.  Mental or physical fatigue is a sign of over-training.  If it’s hard to roll out of bed in the mornings or you often find yourself dozing off during the day, then you could be stressing out your body too much.  Now, please note, there is a difference between over-training your muscles and laziness.  If you have been training and this happens, then that’s a sign of over-training.  If you don’t workout and have these symptoms, then that’s just a sign of laziness.

7. Trouble Sleeping. Being in a state of overload often comes with disrupted sleep patterns, so instead of getting that much-needed rest, you become restless and can’t fall asleep.  This will happen often to those who workout later in the evenings.  Before I switched to working out at 4;30 A.M. I would start working out around 8:30 in the evening.  Night after night I had trouble sleeping do to the fact I had just completed a tough workout and calm my body down quickly enough.  To avoid insomnia issues, try to schedule your workouts the same time daily, and if you can, try not to schedule them at least 4 hours prior to bedtime.  This will give you time to calm down from the high you will receive from working out.

8. No appetite.  A decrease in appetite can occur in the middle to later stages of over-training, and goes hand in hand 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.  Be aware of your eating schedule and make sure you stick to a healthy diet plan.  If you find yourself struggling with finding the drive to eat, perhaps you are emotional drained from your workouts and need to switch that up and refresh.

9. Fat gain. What?!  Gain fat from working out too much?!  If you’ve lost weight but noticed an increase in body fat, you could be in the later stages of exercise overload.  The body responds to prolonged stress by elevating levels of stress hormones, including cortisol.  Over time this will lead to increased storage of adipose tissue, as well as inhibit steroid-like hormones that normally help increase muscle.  A decrease in muscle mass can cause you to shed a few pounds, but this isn’t a good thing since it means your body’s less efficient at burning fat.  This is also where people run into the problem of not seeing results from their workouts.  If you are not seeing the results from you workouts, perhaps the counter productivity of exercise overload could be to blame for slowing your transformation.

10. Weakened immune system. Don’t try to push through that exercise funk or you’ll keep sliding down to a weakened immune system, inflammation, and outright injury.  Prolonged over-training can take weeks, even months, to recover from, and can put your health at risk.  Chronic inflammation, for example, has been linked to diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  Bottom line: Take care of your body and give it a much-needed rest when it needs to rest after that tough workout.  Give it time to recover!

If you are looking to avoid exercise overload and working out too much, then be sure to follow a workout program that provides a proven schedule.  Personally, I recommend trying P90X, P90X2, Insanity or TurboFire as they have clinically proven schedules to shock the muscles, without overloading them.


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