BY: Dasha Anderson, MS, NASM-PES

9 Signs You Might Be Overtraining

What is overtraining? Here are nine signs you need to adjust your workout.

Overtraining in exercise is not only possible but very common. This might be surprising and can lead to exhaustion, stress, overuse injuries, weakness, and mood swings in addition to a lack of overall energy and performance.

People who work out are not always the healthiest people. But, people who work out smart are. Now the main difference between these two types of people is simple; the people who work out correctly know one thing that others don’t: rest and recovery are where your body makes the positive adaptations for muscle tone, strength, and just about every other beneficial factor of training.

Not sure if you’re overtraining? Here are nine signs you might need to adjust your workout routine:

1. You’re not seeing results over time

If you are working out correctly, with proper rest and training volume, you will undeniably see gains and results in your training. But, if you are overexercising or overtraining, you won’t see or feel anything but achy joints, knee pain, back pain, and other fitness issues. Gains can be identified as more pushups, longer stability holds, heavier weights, greater capacity towards movement, strength increase, stamina, endurance, and yes, better body composition. You’ll see an increase in balance, speed, agility, mobility.

2. You don’t have a strength and conditioning routine that is separate from your sport routine

There is sport and there is exercise— the two are very different. We often mistake one for the other. Many people have taken up recreational sports activities as a way to stay active and fit using a sport as a form of “exercise.” However, sports should not be your exercise routine. Marathon runners, swimmers, football players, and other athletes usually have a strength-and-conditioning exercise routine that is separate from their sport. Why? Because this enhances the sport they play.

3. You don’t have specific fitness goals

One of the main reasons athletes have a fitness routine is to help them become game-ready. This literally means that they are training for performance enhancement. What’s performance enhancement? It entails having a solid exercise program that is meant to improve your ability in a specific sport—or for non-athletes, it can be all about improving your body’s overall strength, health, and mobility. Workouts should never be just about the calorie burn — they should be about improving your body’s performance. For instance, if you’re new to running, you can create a goal of running one mile continuously. But that will involve breaking down this larger goal into subgoals, such as running for two minutes then walking for four minutes.

4. You sustain injuries from your workout

Injury prevention is another reason why athletes work out. As you train, work out, or exercise, you are fortifying and balancing your body. Exercise, when done right, should never lead to injuries. While you may get hurt playing sports, you shouldn’t get injured lifting a weight or doing a push-up. If you get injured in your workout routine, that means something is wrong, such as your form is off, you’re training too much, or you are performing the incorrect exercises.

5. You’re hyper-focused on weight loss

The natural byproduct of exercise is a healthy and fit body. While many people start exercising to lose weight, improved body composition is only one result of fitness and exercise. Strength training and cardio have tons of other benefits, like improving stamina and performance, increasing agility and flexibility, improving your mood, and promoting restful sleep.

6. You spend all day at the gym

Unless it’s your job to train, you have no reason to spend half of your day at the gym. All you need is to devote 45-to-60 minutes per day exercising. Training is all about getting the most out of your muscles. If you aren’t sure how to minimize your time in the gym while maximizing your workout, you may want to consider investing in a personal trainer.

7. You don’t have a training program

People who randomly work out will never get the results that people who work out on a program do. The athletes you look up to all have one thing in common: they follow a program. In fact, exercise programming is key. Find a home or gym program that works and follow it.

8. You’re getting your moves from Instagram

There are countless so-called “fitness experts” who post and follow every last fitness move they see at the gym or on Instagram. But you shouldn’t rely on them. You should know why you are doing a specific exercise and what benefits you’ll gain from proper training. The people who get and keep the best results are those who have a clear understanding of what fitness is and what they specifically need to do for their goals.

9. You don’t commit to one program

When you work out, you are building a neurological map to your body’s success. This requires patience. To see the results you want, you need to stay with the same program and keep building. Switching a routine too soon can leave the body confused — it needs time to adjust to your training routine.

Dasha L. Anderson is a celebrated trainer and fitness expert in New York City, with a master’s degree in exercise science and sports nutrition and a specialty in performance enhancement and injury prevention. She is also the founder and head certifying instructor of Kettlebell Kickboxing and has contributed to Self, Shape, Fitness Rx, and Epoch Times.

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