Overtraining – How Much is Too Much?

Everyone knows that hard work and dedication can help you overcome challenges to reach your personal fitness goals, but how much is too much? Taking a step back to re-evaluate your fitness goals and taking a holistic view of where you are along your journey can help you reassess parts of your fitness journey that may have created an imbalance in other areas of your life.  Things that you should look for as red flags that might indicate your fitness plan should be reassessed:

  1. You have lost contact with friends and family who are not workout partners. Workout buddies are fantastic for accountability and making sure you get your workout in.  Workout buddies can also add a little friendly competition to motivate you to challenge yourself a little harder during training.  Working out is part of training we do to stay fit, compete in our sports, and challenge ourselves, but it should not define us.  If you are not able to maintain a relationship with an old friend or relative simply because they don’t share the same fitness obsession, it could be an indication that might be over training. Just like you would schedule your workout time, be sure to schedule time with friends that are independent from your workout or training.  It can create comfort in the future if you become injured or have to walk away from competing to know that you still have a solid foundation of friends and support.
  2. Constant or chronic pain/injuries. Our bodies send signals to our brain when they need a break from training. It could be a nagging discomfort or strain that won’t go away or a reoccurring sports injury.  These common discomforts are often preventable by decreasing the amount of training and adding a rest day to your training plan.  The muscles get microtears from challenging training programs and it can take a couple of days to heal and get stronger.  Not taking a rest day can put you at a higher risk for injury and burnout. If you’re an endurance junkie, be sure to add some cross training, like exercise with balance balls or a yoga gym ball to help improve functional fitness and reduce your risk of sports injury.
  3. Chronic Fatigue. Chronic fatigue or adrenal fatigue can happen from over training and can wreak havoc on your training and fitness goals.  A holistic personal trainer can help you identify areas in your training that can be modified to help reduce chronic fatigue syndrome.  Sometimes a poor diet or not eating enough to support the type of training you are doing can influence fatigue in athletes.  A trainer with holistic nutrition training or a background in sports nutrition can help you manage dietary plans that support your training and active lifestyle.
  4. Not listening to your body. There is no training plan that is a one-size-fits-fall. One person’s amazing workout could be a disaster for another person. Be sure to follow a fitness training plan that has been tailored and individualized to your personal needs and goals, instead of a generic fitness plan found in a magazine or book. There are nutrition fitness software programs that can help personalize your workout and fitness goals.  A fitness professional with health coaching certification can help you make positive changes to your fitness plan if you feel that you have been over training.

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