Are You Overtraining? Causes and Solutions

Being obsessed with intense exercise can lead to overtraining. Learn how to identify it and how to stop.
Are You Overtraining? Causes and Solutions

Last update: 10 March, 2020

It’s not just important to work out, it’s a healthy way to look and feel great (when paired with a balanced diet). Nevertheless, nothing is good in excess, and exercise is no exception. If exercise makes you feel physically exhausted and unwell, we have to ask: are you overtraining?

It’s easy to think that there’s no such thing as too much exercise, and the more you work out, the faster you’ll get results. However, rest periods are just as important as the exercise itself. If you don’t take time to rest, you’ll feel the consequences.

Today, we’ll explain some of the reasons why many athletes end up overtraining and pay the price. If you think you might have fallen into the trap of overtraining, don’t panic. At the end of this article, we’ll share a list of ideas that can help you get back to an exercise routine that’s healthy and balanced.

What are the causes of overtraining?

Overtraining is often the result of a combination of circumstances. When you add them all together, you end up pushing your body to its limit, exhausting yourself, and making it impossible to achieve your fitness goals.

If you can identify with this scenario, the first thing you need to do is pinpoint the causes in your particular case. Here are some of the most common:

A sports or exercise obsession

People often associate overtraining with a sports or exercise obsession. Training too much and too intensely just isn’t good. You don’t need to constantly push your body to its limit. Taking it easy every once in a while and having more relaxed workouts is key.

As much as you might love a particular sport, or just exercise in general, you have to take a step back sometimes. Seeing your friends, enjoying a good dinner, and skipping a session at the gym without feeling bad are all important for avoiding overtraining.

What’s more, if you’re able to disconnect from your workout regime for a few days a week, you’ll almost certainly feel much more energetic and motivated when you do go back. At the end of the day, it will improve your overall performance.

Foods rich in vitamin B.

A poor diet and inadequate hydration

When you exercise on a regular basis, your body is working pretty hard and needs enough nutrients to keep going. Sweating is also inevitable, and you might not be aware of how much water your body is losing when you work out.

Your diet and water intake have to coincide with the kind of exercise you’re doing. If you aren’t drinking enough water or eating well, it’s easy to overtrain. Even if your exercise regimen isn’t that intense, your dehydrated and under-nourished body will feel the effects.

Are you overtraining? Here are some solutions

As we mentioned before, overtraining is a problem you can fix. If you’re passionate about exercise and sports, it won’t be easy, but there are things that can help. Your body will thank you.

Next, we’ll explain what kind of modifications you should make, both in your exercise schedule and in your daily life. To get back to how you felt before and achieve your fitness goals, you’ll have to make some significant changes.

Make time to rest

Your rest days are just as important as your workout days. Letting your body recover and return to 100 percent is crucial for avoiding overtraining.

It’s easy to believe that the more you work out, the faster you’ll have the body you want, but that’s not how it works. If you don’t let your body rest, there’s no way you’ll be able to continue to perform at high intensity.

Sleep eight hours a night

Sleep is underestimated. You might not think about how important sleep is for your personal life, your family, and your exercise regimen. Everyone should be getting eight hours a night, but in reality, almost no one does. Going to bed really late and getting up really early are two of the main problems.

You should also try to stick to a set sleep schedule. Try to go to bed every night at the same time. That will help your body to rest more deeply and recover its strength for your next workout.

A man sleeping.

Are you overtraining? Don’t always work out at a maximum intensity

Variety is important in your workouts. Trying different exercises is important, and so is varying the intensity of your workouts. When you’re thinking about your exercise schedule, alternate easier sessions with high-performance ones. You don’t always have to max out your body to get results.

If you’re an active person and you’ve been exercising for years, it’s easy to think that moderate exercise won’t do anythingThat’s a misconception, however, because moderate exercise can also help you stay strong and flexible.

As you can see, preventing or overcoming overtraining isn’t complicated. All you need to do is be more cautious, and give your body what it needs to perform. Try out some of these recommendations today and avoid suffering the consequences tomorrow.

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  • Cheng, Arthur J., Baptiste Jude, and Johanna T. Lanner. “Intramuscular mechanisms of overtraining.” Redox biology 35 (2020): 101480.
  • Halson, S. L., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2004). Does overtraining exist? An analysis of overreaching and overtraining research. Sports Medicine.
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  • Zhelyazkov, T. (2001). Bases del entrenamiento deportivo. Editorial Paidotribo.

The contents of this publication are written for informational purposes. At no time do they facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.