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Overtraining: What It Feels Like And The Effects It Has On Your Life

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 Overtraining: What It Feels Like And The Effects It Has On Your Life

You might be going to gym day in, day out, and not seeing any results. You’re exhausted, you aren’t making any progress despite pushing yourself and you feel down and sore.


You could be overtraining and running your body into the ground.


What is overtraining?


Before you start cancelling gym memberships and retreat to the couch – exercise is generally good for you, but too much can be strenuous on your body once you reach a point. You’ll then stop getting the normal benefits of exercising and end up with injuries, high levels of stress and soreness.


Exercise has a dose-response relationship, which means the more you work out, the better your body will be, but there is a tipping point where it becomes detrimental.


By exercising too much without sufficient recovery or fuel, your body will go into a phase called overreaching. This results in muscle soreness that is more intense than usual, and comes from consecutive days of training.

“There are different types of muscle soreness,” explains James. “There’s muscle soreness, when you’re like ‘I’m sore today, I need an extended warm up, to prime myself up to go again.’ Then there’s muscle soreness, where you’re like ‘this actually hurts’.

“Muscle soreness is fine – am I sore to touch? Yes, that’s okay. Or is it muscle soreness, like am I struggling to walk upstairs, or take a shit? If you are, then you’ve gone too far.”

After this point, you may reach overtraining syndrome (OTS) if you continue to train without resting.

“A lot of people think athletes are the only ones who can overtrain. We see it a lot in the gym,” James says. “We do know that it gets to a stage where

“It happens quite quickly if you take up a new sport, I’ve personally taken up boxing and as smart an approach as I try to take it, but some things weren’t in my control,” explains Sean. “I didn’t know how my body was going to react, so I picked up niggles trying a new sport.”

Your tendons take 48-72 hours to adapt to stress caused through exercise. So you need to give your body time to rest and recover.

So what are the signs of overtraining?

Your body will be telling you if you’ve been overtraining, there are some key messages you’ll be receiving from your body if that’s the case.

  • Increased muscle soreness that gets worse the more you train
  • A plateau or decline in your athletic performance
  • The inability to train at the intensity or ability you normally do
  • Excessive sweating or overheating
  • Feeling like your muscles are heavy or stiff, especially your legs
  • Injuries that keep coming back, like muscle sprains, stress fractures, and joint pain
  • Loss of enthusiasm for exercise, or feeling like you want to skip your workouts altogether

So how do you fix overtraining?

The consistent point in all the literature, is rest. Sleep enough, have enough down days, let your body relax and recover and give yourself a regular break.


“Be mindful of volume,” says James.

“Get out of the thought process where ‘more is better’ or ‘pain is weakness exiting the body’, these are unhelpful.


"Consider why you’re training so much – what are you trying to achieve?” asks James. “If you’re overtraining as a way to burn calories, that’s a problem we’ve spoken about extensively.”


If you’re struggling with overtraining get in touch with our team to hear how we can help you change your mindset.

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