5 Signs That You're Training Too Hard
In today’s culture it’s rare to hear people talk about the dangers of over-exercising.
Normally, we assume the longer and harder you exercise, the better. We’re surrounded by a marketplace full of gadgets that measure daily performance, making it is easy to obsess over the number of calories burnt as a sign of success.
Having goals and working hard to achieve them is great, but when does it become too much? How do you know if you’re dealing with an addictive behavior or just a healthy love of getting your sweat on?
If you’re experiencing the following signs it may be time to give yourself a break.
You’re not sleeping well.
Exercise increases our stress hormones — cortisol and adrenaline. While this stress response is helpful during a workout, too much of these hormones can become a problem and start to affect other areas of life. Sleep is one.
Cortisol makes you feel more on edge or awake by increasing your heart rate and increasing blood flow to your muscles, which can make falling and staying asleep difficult. If your sleep schedule feels out of whack and you’ve been working out a ton, consider taking more rest days to allow your body and hormones to reset. Meditation and yoga can also help manage cortisol levels.
You’ve been feeling particularly moody.
Too much cortisol not only affects your sleep — it also affects your mood. If you’ve noticed that you’re frequently getting bent out of shape over little things, this could be a sign that you’re demanding too much from your body.
High levels of cortisol can lead to mood swings, which manifest as irritability, anxiety, or even depression. It can be easy to focus solely on how working out makes you feel physically, but the truth is, exercise plays a big role in how you feel mentally as well. If your emotions are on overdrive, give yourself a break.
Your soreness is overpowering and lasts for days.
Some soreness after a tough workout isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s proof that your muscles are breaking down and rebuilding. But too much soreness can be a sign that you overdid it. So where’s the line between good soreness and bad soreness? If you’re so sore you can’t carry out daily activities, or if the soreness lasts for a long time or gets worse, that’s not good.
Over-exercised muscles can become very painful and even swell. If you’re suffering from nagging neck aches, knee pain, shin splints, etc., don’t ignore those symptoms. Doing so may lead to more serious injuries in the future. Make sure you’re skipping the gym when you’re in pain and taking adequate time to stretch after your workouts.
You’re not performing as well during your workouts.
The more you go to the gym, the better shape you’ll be in, right? Not exactly. However counterintuitive this may seem, upping your exercise routine sometimes ends up doing more harm than good to your overall performance.
One of the most obvious and earliest signs of overtraining is a decline in performance. From there, things can get a lot more serious — and a lot more dangerous. While it’s normal for muscles to break down during a workout, pushing too hard too often can lead to muscle fibers actually dying and subsequently releasing contents into the bloodstream that can be very toxic to the body. This condition is called Rhabdomyolysis and can occur with any type of exercise, from cycling to CrossFit.
Everything in your life revolves around your workouts.
Making time to exercise is a good thing. Life gets busy, so it’s easy to use other commitments as excuses to forgo a workout. But if it gets to the point where you prioritize exercise over everything else in your life — social events, work meetings, family time — it might be time to take a step back and make sure your workout routine isn’t turning unhealthy.