Working out regularly is great for your health, building muscle, and keeping your weight in check, but it is possible to train too much, where your hard work can actually backfire.
Here’s why: when you overwork your body, you actually deplete muscle stores (such as when you do too much cardio), and you might feel more sluggish during workouts and experience more muscle pain, as well. Additionally, overexerting yourself increases your risk of injury—where you’d have to stop your training altogether. So, it’s best to keep workouts shorter (though more intense —give them your all!), and include rest days in your routine.
Not sure if you’re working out too much? Look for these signs.
Chronic Joint and Muscle Pain
If your muscles feel sore all the time, then you are overdoing it. Your muscles need time to recover after workout, since training breaks them down. That repair comes from what you eat afterwards, but it also comes from sleep and rest. On rest days you can take the whole day off or choose something light, such as a walk, light yoga, or a bike ride.
You’re Always Hungry
While you should feel hungry after a tough workout, if you feel bottomed out, you might be going too hard or for too long. And if you’re doing double workouts a day and your appetite is insatiable, then stick to just one and shorten your duration. When you’re too hungry you might eat more calories than you’re actually burning off, and this can derail your efforts. Have a snack, like a protein bar, to fuel up but don’t go overboard with excess calories.
You Can’t Sleep
Can’t catch those zzz’s? It could be that you’re working out too heavily and it’s messing with your sleep patterns. This is especially true if you are working out too close to bed, as it will stimulate you and make it hard to fall asleep at a reasonable hour. If you’re finding it hard to go to bed, and you’re also constantly tired, then it could be a sign of overtraining and you should dial it back.
You Can’t Work Out as Hard or You Stop Seeing Results
If your workouts feel super hard and you can’t seem to put in the same effort you used to, then take some rest or cut back and see if you get that newfound stamina and power. The same goes for progress—if you no longer see you’re getting stronger, tackling more goals, or building more lean muscle, then it’s time for a change. This could mean upping your weight totals or working out in shorter, harder bursts.