Working out can be addictive. There are times when we force ourselves to train even at the expense of sleep and consistently push our limits without taking time to recover. Over time, this will catch up with you. The human body is incredible and can do amazing things, but sufficient rest is paramount for you to feel well and function optimally. Here are some signs and symptoms of overtraining:
DIFFICULTY LOSING WEIGHT/WEIGHT GAIN. Our bodies are smarter than we think. In some cases, the scale won’t budge when the body is consistently stressed. Some may even gain weight. When this happens, you must back off a little, and let the body heal.
FATIGUE. Overtraining often leads to feeling tired, low on energy and/or weak. In severe cases, this may persist despite getting sufficient sleep at night.
REGULAR SICKNESS. When overtraining, your immune system becomes weakened, making it more difficult to fight off illness. When you continue to train through the sickness, you can prolong it and even cause it to worsen.
Overtraining is often accompanied with over-dieting, which can make symptoms of excessive training amplified. You need sufficient calories for your body to function properly. (Use an online calculator to determine what you need to meet your goals.) If you eat too few calories while overtraining, you may experience the following:
MUSCLE ATROPHY. The body needs calories to maintain muscle. Calories provide energy during your workout. When you don’t consume enough calories, your body may use muscle instead of fat for fuel, causing your muscles to atrophy. So, make sure you are taking in enough calories to protect that hard-earned muscle.
INSUFFICIENT BODY FAT. Eating too few calories while overtraining may result in your body fat becoming too low. While having a low body fat percentage can help you physically perform better in sport, going too low can be dangerous. Fat is necessary for regulating body temperature and for protecting your bones and joints from injury, among other things.
In summary, overtraining can cause severe harm to our bodies! It can actually deter you from your goals. Be sure you are getting an adequate amount of sleep every night (7-8 hours), and a sufficient amount of calories according to your goals! Try easing up a bit if you are overtraining, and see if your body responds better. As I always say, train SMARTER not HARDER! Stay dedicated and determined and always remember, “The Skye’s the LIMIT!”