One of the best ways you can keep fit and maintain a healthy body is through physical activity. Other than decreasing your body fat, your muscle mass will increase, and you’ll generally feel great. However, all these advantages have a caveat — don’t overdo it. You may be tempted to overtrain, particularly when you have a short-term goal, but this causes adverse effects. For instance, overtraining reduces your body strength and increases body fat — this is the way our bodies inform us that it’s time to take a break.
Yes, your body can handle tough workouts, but it needs to recover from the stress overload. You can achieve this by taking a rest for a day or two, then resume slowly. As you slow down, you will need to sleep more (at least eight hours a night) to give your body time to repair the torn muscles and build new ones. Proper nutrition is also necessary; eat whole grains, lean protein, and lots of veggies and fruits.
Below are telltale signs that you are overtraining and need to slow down or take a break.
Feeling Overly Tired
Although it’s normal to feel tired after exercising, this should stop when you take a rest or get a good night’s sleep. However, if it doesn’t, you can be sure the body is battling with chronic stress. The body’s stress response system is always activated, but our modern life makes things more difficult since we indulge in many activities the system perceives as threats. The body is forced to function even under pressure, and that’s how people resort to using caffeine, cortisol, sugar, and adrenaline. Unfortunately, these habits cause more harm over time — the body becomes more reactive and incapable of functioning without the artificial sources of energy. So, take a break when you feel tired to avoid pushing your body to the limits.
When you exercise religiously, your performance will increase, and it may stagnate over time, depending on your workout regimen. However, if you notice a decrease in performance and you haven’t changed your workout schedule, then you may be overtraining. Those additional repetitions of the same exercises won’t be as useful as they used to be. Therefore, try to focus on improving the quality of your training instead of the quantity.
Body Is Cramping
It is normal to have slight muscle soreness if you exercise regularly. But you can experience discomfort after overusing your muscles, including joint pain, headaches, cramping, and intense muscle soreness. This soreness indicates that you are pushing the body to the extreme. Pain is the natural defense system of the body, and you shouldn’t train when you are in pain. Schedule some rest days to give your body time to heal. Additionally, consider taking a cold bath, so the sore muscles can feel better. If pain or muscle soreness doesn’t reduce with rest, be sure to visit your physician.
Every time you work out, your body uses a lot of energy. If the body doesn’t get enough time to heal or the energy isn’t replenished, you will be forced to operate on low power. A lack of sufficient energy can cause nutritional deficiencies, such as iron deficiency anemia, which affects your workout performance and health in general. Other complications may also occur with the nervous, gastrointestinal, endocrine, cardiovascular, or reproductive systems. Resting and eating a balanced diet should help fix these issues.
You can easily prevent these issues by following a training program that allocates time for active recovery and total rest. Also, listen to your body to find a perfect balance between knowing when to exercise and slow down.