Health

Signs you are overtraining and need more rest

Working out does wonders for your physical and mental well-being, but be wary of overdoing it

The rising interest in fitness is great, but the constant emphasis on working out can cause burnout in many people.

Doing high-intensity exercises every day is not recommended because your muscles need time to recover. Even for athletes, training six to seven times a week is extremely difficult.

If you're losing motivation or simply aren't feeling your workouts lately, look out for these tell-tale signs that could indicate overtraining.

YOU ARE NO LONGER MOTIVATED

Motivation is hard to get as it is. Usually, it is discipline and habit that help people stick to their workout regimen. Everyone has an off day here and there, but if you feel tired and feel forced to exercise for days on end, something is wrong.

Feeling tired is one thing, and your body telling you to stop and take a break is another. The lack of motivation caused by overtraining might not just be mental, but physical too.

YOU FEEL EXTREMELY FATIGUED

At the end of a workout, endorphins should be lifting your mood and energy levels. While it's normal to feel tired, you should still feel energised, not lethargic. You could be overtraining if you're always feeling sleepy and restless.

YOU ARE CONSTANTLY HAVING MUSCLE ACHES

Delayed onset muscle soreness refers to the muscle aches that come after a day or two.

Many view it as an achievement, and as a sign that they pushed themselves to their limits.

While that may be true, it is important to stretch it out and give yourself time to rest.

If you still wish to get your daily exercise fix, replace strenuous activities with an active recovery workout like walking, jogging or swimming.

YOU HAVE REACHED A FITNESS PLATEAU

The body is in a weak state when facing overtraining. Weak, tired and aching muscles point to slow recovery. When you aren't recovering, you aren't building or repairing muscles or torn tissues.

No amount of running or weight lifting is going to give you results when your body is not in the right shape to work.

YOU ARE ALWAYS THIRSTY

Rehydrating after a workout is key because it prevents dehydration and speeds up recovery.

However, you should not have an unquenchable thirst hours after your workout. Watch out if you are always thirsty, even after downing a bottle of water.

YOU ARE SUFFERING FROM INSOMNIA

Worked out in the morning but can't sleep until 3am? This might not be due to your high heart rate, but overtraining. Mood swings, irritability and anxiousness, topped with reduced motivation, is a sure way to keep you tossing and turning through the night.

YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE IS INCONSISTENT

Overdoing workouts deprives your body of the nutrients it needs, causing unstable hormone levels and as a result, delayed or early periods.

In extreme cases, women even lose their period for months when they overtrain, due to the hormone fluctuation and lowered estrogen.

This article first appeared in Shape (www.shape.com.sg)

MEDICAL & HEALTH