Before I answer the question of are you overtraining I must define exactly what overtraining is. Overtraining, in the fitness world, is a physical condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual’s exercise exceeds their recovery capacity.
The important thing to understand in the realm of overtraining is that any athlete at any level of experience can overtrain. For example, a rookie in the gym who just started a weight training program who knows very little about weight training can overtrain their body quite easily. Even pro athletes face this condition when they push their bodies again and again day after day, and season after season.
The key signs to look out for when it comes to overtraining are the following:
– Raised RHR (resting heart rate)
– Extended periods of muscle soreness (past 48 hours)
– Short tempered
– Constantly Sick
– Can’t think clearly
– Always injured
– No progress in the gym or to your physique
Ways to avoid overtraining include the following:
– Reduce the number of training sessions per week
– Increase the number of hours you sleep
– Improve your nutrition and slightly increase caloric intake such as 20%
– Switch up your exercises / routine on a biweekly or weekly basis
– Don’t get tunnel vision and think the only important thing in your life is your physique
Finally, remember that overtraining is something you want to avoid at all costs. Overtraining involves demishining returns and results in futility when the true goal of exercise is to increase your health and vitality not decrease it. Follow the suggestions listed above and if you feel you’re pushing yourself too hard you probably are. Slightly decrease the number of sessions per week and in most cases that will solve your problem. Continue to exercise and remember this is something you are committed to doing in a safe and healthy manner not at the expense of your health and those around you. See you at the gym, unless of course you’re taking a few extras days off.