8 Signs You Are Overtraining

You work really hard to get great results from your workouts. You eat well and stay away from the junk 80% of the time. You take your kids to their activities. You make dinner, do the laundry, schedule appointments……. Ahhhh!


At times it can seem overwhelming to feel responsible for everyone else and still have time to take care of your own needs. Sometimes you just need a break from your “to-do” list and sometimes you need a break from your work out routine. Don’t mistake one for the other.

Today, I’m going to share with you 8 signs that you are overtraining and when you need a break from your work out.

One thing you must realize is that it’s impossible to always be at peak performance. Your body ebbs and flows, even if it’s just a little bit. Some months you’re leaner, other months you might have a bit more fat. If you’re an athlete, there are times during the year when you’re at the top of your game and other months when you’re in a build-up phase.

This type of programming is called periodization and the purpose of it is to avoid burnout and allow for peak performance at the optimal time (like a baseball player being in tip-top shape for the World Series.)

You may actually do a type of periodization without even realizing it! Typically you work really hard in January after committing to New Year’s resolutions and, in spring, just before bathing suit season you hit the gym hard again. Then, your consistency starts to wane during the winter holidays or in the summer when you are vacationing on the beach!

There’s a lot more to developing a periodized program than just working hard during pre-swim suit months, but you get the idea that volume and intensity fluctuate.

It’s normal, and actually good, to take a bit of a break from your normal workout. It keeps things fresh and exciting and your body needs new physical stimulation or it will stabilize. The SAID principle stands for specific adaptation to imposed demands. Very simply, this means when you expose your body to a challenge or stress, it gets better at handling that exact stress. One reason for reaching a plateau is that the difference between placing too much stress on your body (to challenge the body) and too little stress  (so you don’t get hurt) is so minimal that your body stops adapting.  Changing your usual routine, taking a break from heavy weight lifting or switching things up assures the SAID principle is always working for you.

So, is it okay to take a break from your workout? The answer is, like most often,  “it depends.”

It depends on

  • How hard were you previously working?
  • What kind of break (i.e. total rest, active recovery, complete change of activity?)
  • How long is the break?
  • What are your ultimate goals?
  • Are you getting injured?
  • Have you over extended yourself and just looking for an excuse to stop your normal workout?

If you’re a busy woman and your exercise programming is for general health and fitness or fat loss, it’s okay to take a break from your current programming and you should take a break, especially if you have these signs:

8 Signs You Are Overtraining

  1. You dread the workout instead of being excited to do it.
  2. After your workout you feel more stressed out, rather than being relieved of stress and feeling energized.
  3. Elevated resting heart rate (which means you should know your resting heart rate previously)
  4. Your joints and muscles always hurt and there is no other explanation.
  5. The intensity of your workouts has declined.
  6. Increased incidence of injury.
  7. Irritability.
  8. Increased incidence of infections; immune system seems depleted.

As a busy woman and mom, you should evaluate if your “over-training” is really over-training in the gym or if it’s being overworked in general. Besides changing up your work out, make sure you take some down time from the rest of your crazy-busy life. It’s okay to say “no” to things that are other people’s priorities.