Is it possible to become too fit with CrossFit? Are you running seven days a week in preparation for an upcoming race without resting in between? When it comes to exercise, there’s no doubt that the mental and physical health benefits are endless. From a better night’s sleep to a longer life span, training your body to be fit and healthy is a no-brainer. But overtraining—the tendency to stress your body out with too much exercise and not enough rest—is a condition that many people face. Here’s what to know so you don’t crash and burn.

The Truth About Overtraining

group of people working out with dumbbellsAre you a cardio queen, addicted to your daily dance class? Do you need to ‘spin’ daily in order to keep your confidence high? Do you have to lift and lunge seven days a week? While committing to an exercise plan can turn your quads and glutes from flabby to fit, overdoing it can cause your body to stress. When you don’t give yourself a few days of recovery during the week, you run the risk of entering the ‘overworked blues’. It’s not a myth (but a well-known fact) that when you push your body relentlessly without giving it a day or two to relax and play “catch up”, your body can create a “fizzled out” effect—causing you to un-do some of the hard work you spent in and outside of the gym.

Signs of Overtraining

Do you get a ‘high’ from pushing your body to new limits? Give your body enough R&R, or physical and emotional symptoms can pop up, causing your momentum of working out to come to a halt. So, what’s “enough”? Do you wonder if you’re overdoing it at the gym, even while taking a necessary day of rest here and there? Here’s what to look out for:

  • After a hard workout or two, you’re really sore. When you exercise, a proper pre-workout and post-workout meal is a no-brainer. But what happens if you’re doing everything “right” nutritionally but you’re sorer than ever after a hard workout—for several days that follow? Listen to your body, because if you’re unusually sore after an intense workout, your body could be clueing you in to take it easy…as opposed to continuing to hit those weights hard. Give yourself an extra day of rest, and watch your body positively respond!
  • You’re losing your drive to exercise. Even the most enthusiastic gym-goer can have his/her moments of sluggishness and lose focus. Have you seemed to misplace you work out groove lately? If so, overtraining may be to blame. Give your next workout a ‘change up’. So, if you’ve been hitting your strength training class or personal training sessions full speed ahead, devote your next workout to a yoga or barre class.

When you listen to your body, you can’t go wrong. Pay attention to what feels different than usual.  As with anything in life, moderation is key. Balance out a consistent workout schedule with rest in between. That way, you’ll maximize your fitness results while minimizing the stress along the way.