Women’s Health Magazine recently posted and article in which the journalist gave their account of one particular workout they had done and the nasty consequences that followed. In this example, the author’s workout resulted in Rhabdomyolysis – a condition in which damaged muscle tissue breaks down and releases into the blood stream, subsequently impacting the kidneys.

Before we start – I just want to point out that Rhabdomyolysis is RARE. A few hard sessions in the gym or on the bike at home is highly unlikely to get you such a diagnosis. However, it did get me thinking about how much is too much?

Everyone’s exercise regimes are very different. Some of us exercise a few times a week, others exercise several times a day. We are all unique in our schedules and in how our bodies adapt and recover. It is important to understand that one size does not fit all!

Recovery is a key element of exercising which is often overlooked. Our progress is not on hold if we take a rest day. Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild, and strengthen.

What signs should we look out for that could signal over training?

Decreased performance
Lack of improved performance, strength and/or endurance despite an increase in training intensity or volume can be a sign of over training.

Increased perceived effort during workouts
Seemingly effortless workouts feel unusually difficult.

Excessive fatigue
Fatigue can be a sign that body never has a chance to fully recover from previous workouts.

Agitation and moodiness
Overtraining can create an imbalance of the hormones cortisol and epinephrine. This can cause mood swings, irritability and issues with concentration.

Trouble sleeping
The overproduction of stress hormones mentioned above, may prevent you from being able to relax, making sleep much less effective.

Loss of appetite
This hormonal imbalance can also affect hunger. More training should stimulate more appetite, but can lead to appetite suppression if you are over training.

Injuries & illness
Sore muscles are often the norm when training. However, pain that does not subside in two weeks (or so) may be a sign of over training. In addition, overtraining can also make it more difficult to ward off infections.

One of the best ways to prevent over training is by incorporating both short-term and long-term rests into your programmes. You can also consider using Periodisation when planning your programmes to ensure adequate levels of exertion at each phase. Get in touch to find out how we can help you with Programming!

Remember, more is not always better.

Lee & the Team

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