Everyone wants to build muscle as fast as possible, which leads many to believe that doing more is always better, and this has been repeatedly proven to be false. Overtraining is simply the condition where the body is no longer capable of recovering properly from the physical demands you place on it on a daily basis. You must include a so-called “deload” week if you’re starting to feel overtrained. Feeling like this can happen for lots of reasons, but mainly because of too much exercising and not enough resting.
If you want to prevent overtraining completely, you can make a switch to a workout routine that incorporates progressive overload since these types of routines have rest periods incorporated into them which will allow your body enough time to properly recuperate. Now, let’s explore what the 5 major symptoms of overtraining are and how to quickly spot them and give yourself a break:
- You get sick more often and recover slower from colds/flues
So you have been training for months on end, giving it all you’ve got on each training session and all of a sudden you have a sore throat and you’re coughing. Lifting heavy weights and especially doing compound movements, such as deadlifts and squats are extremely taxing on the central nervous system. If you don’t give your body ample time to rest from these intense workouts, it will eventually severely impair your immune system. This will leave you susceptible to flues and colds. You won’t want to skip workouts and rest, but this will make you more likely to get sick or you might get into a state of a chronic cold, which will seriously hinder your progress in the gym. Do not make this mistake.
- Pains and aches that won’t disappear
We’re not talking about soreness in your muscles the next day after a brutal training session. We’re talking about the constant nagging pain in various joints, tendons or even muscles themselves. The worst thing one can do when he/she has chronic pains like these is to continue training and not rest. This will often lead to injuries. This is the body’s way of telling you that it’s tired and that you need to take it easy and rest. Don’t ignore these warnings or you’ll pretty soon regret it.
- Feeling tired and fatigued all the time
Do you workouts start to feel like chores you’re obliged to do? When you enter the gym do you secretly wish it’s over already? Do you experience a feeling of being constantly tired? The reason for this is simple, you’re run down and over-trained. Chronic fatigue can slowly creep up on you as it accumulates from weeks and weeks of intense training and/or resting too little.
It’s precisely at this point that your body will tell you that is has had enough and needs some time off by simply being lazy and lethargic all the time, basically crying out for some quality sleep and rest. You’ll notice a big difference after you get back to the gym following the deload week. You’ll be in the mood to train, not to mention eager to get back into the gym as soon as possible.
- Reduced appetite
This is another big symptom of overtraining. It’s very likely that when you were starting out a training program after taking some time off of training you were able to eat huge amounts of foods, were constantly hungry and on the lookout for food in order to build muscle fast. Now, you find yourself struggling to finish your meals and having no appetite. This is a big sign that you’re overtrained. Again, by simply taking some time off and letting your body recover, you will quickly find that your appetite is returning to its normal levels as before.
- Training hard each workout session
This isn’t so much a symptom of being overtrained, but one of its major causes. There’s one thing you need to remember: you should stop trying to do the workouts that you see in bodybuilding magazines that professional bodybuilders do. You have to remember that these guys are using a multitude of anabolic steroids and many other performance enhancers. Additionally, they all have access to the best foods, some of them even have personal chefs, and they quite literally eat, train and rest for a living.
These types of workouts are simply too much for the average recreational lifter who wants to build muscle as fast as possible while doing things naturally. This quickly leads to becoming overtrained. That’s why you should switch to a program which incorporates the basic principle of progressive overload, and not only that, it has adequate rest time incorporated into it so that you wouldn’t have to take deload weeks too often.
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If there’s one thing you need to take away from this article, it’s this: even if you have just one of these symptoms, take a step back and rest. Rest in any form. Take a deload week, get some quality sleep and some nice rest off the gym. It may feel counterproductive at first, but the truth is that it will significantly improve your progress and take your training far ahead of what it would’ve been had you simply carried on training while being severely over-trained. Doing more is not always better, and this especially applies to training.