You feel like you're giving your workouts your all. You're consistent. You're dedicated. But you can't figure out why you're not progressing. You're starting to feel discouraged. You can't possibly add more volume and intensity into your training.
Fitness enthusiasts such as myself don't want to be told to do less. How is doing less the answer? How is less time in the gym going to support my fitness goals? Here are signs of overtraining (all of which I've experienced myself):
LOW ENERGY. Your body feels extra heavy and groggy.
MENTAL FATIGUE. You're finding it hard for your brain to fire at full capacity. Concentration is at an all-time low.
INCREASED PRECIEVED RATE OF EXERCISION. The same workout feels more difficult than usual.
IRRITABILITY. Why is everyone and everything so annoying?!
LOW SEX DRIVE. Yeah, certainly not interested in getting some. Goodnight.
SLOW RECOVERY FROM WORKOUTS. How am I still sore? I must be so out of shape.
DECLINE IN PERFORMANCE. Shouldn't these exercises start to feel easier, not harder?
PERSISTANT INJURY/ILLNESS. That nagging pain that won't go away is just who I am now I guess.
DECLINE IN MOTIVATION. I'm working so hard and getting nowhere. My body and mind are exhausted.
Read last week's blog: EXERCISE | Why More is Not Always Better to understand why overtraining occurs.
Personally, I've experienced all of the above symptoms of overtraining, but instead of listening to obvious signs my body was so loudly telling me, I didn't back off. It took a solid 2 years, rocky relationships, and being stagnant in my lifts and physique for me to get it through my head that I was doing TOO MUCH. I went from 6 lifts to 4 lifts a week, from several HIIT cardio sessions to daily walks, and I look and feel better than I ever have.
Unfortunately, this isn't something that is an easy fix. Often times it's a deep-rooted mental hurdle. It is difficult to understand that training less will make you better. But if you are a chronic over-trainer, dialing back your training is the answer, and it's something you will have to learn yourself.
Wearing Jed North Women (support code FITMANDI for 20% off)