Exercise is obviously a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and with YouTube home workouts, colorful workout gear and unlimited #fitspo motivation on Instagram, it’s easier than ever to get started on a fitness routine. But if you’re hitting the weight room/pavement/yoga mat hard day in and day out, you might not be giving your body enough time to recover. You might think you’re working toward harder-better-faster-stronger results, but in reality, too much of a good thing is going to keep you from reaching your fitness goals. Plus, #restdaybestday, amirite?

Resting after training


Say you’re on an extreme health kick, and you push through tough workouts, even when your body’s screaming for you to just lie down on the couch and watch Gilmore Girls. You could have what’s known as “overtraining syndrome,” which means you aren’t giving your body enough time to recover from all those HIIT workouts and barre classes. Overtraining syndrome is actually pretty common in athletes that are training for a big race or event. But taking training to the extreme isn’t good for you.

When you exercise, you boost your immune system. But if your pursuit of swole doesn’t include rest days, you’ll actually repress it. Your muscles become fatigued more quickly and lose mass, stress hormones are more activated (which can lead to belly fat retention) and you’ll also feel negative mental effects, like decreased motivation and confidence and raised anger and tension. Yeesh. Here are some of the signs to look out for.



1. Your heart rate is elevated, even when you’re not working out. The fitter you get, the lower your resting heart rate (RHR) will be. But during periods of overtraining, your RHR can jump back up by 10 or 15 beats per minute. The same thing happens when you’re about to get sick. So, clearly, it’s a sign that your body needs you to take a cool down.

2. You’re SUPER thirsty. Not in like, a Tinder way. If you’re hydrating like crazy and still can’t quench your thirst, your body might be in what’s called a “catabolic state,” where it’s starting to break down your muscle for protein. This naturally leads to dehydration.

3. You can’t sleep. You would think that crushing it at the gym all day would set you up for a solid night’s sleep, but when you’re overtraining, your hormones and central nervous system can go a little haywire. If you’re experiencing insomnia, take a closer look at your workout regimen.

4. You’re feeling all pain, no gain. Normally after a tough workout, you’ll start feeling sore within a day or two and then it goes away. But if you’ve pushed too far without giving your body time to recover, the muscle pain could last up to three or four days. And you could even start feeling pain in muscle groups you aren’t working.

5. You’re not hitting all your reps. If you find yourself underperforming in your workouts and you can’t figure out why, overtraining could be the culprit. And if it happens a couple days in a row, you definitely need to take a break.

How do you keep track of your workouts to prevent overtraining? Tweet us your tips @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)