As a Men’s Fitness reader, you take your workouts seriously. But have you ever found yourself placing unreasonable demands on your body to the point of overtraining?
Rest assured: If you're logging five hours of hardcore gym time every week, you probably aren’t at risk of overtraining. But if you're going longer than that, and training is becoming a borderline addiction even to the point of possible harm—it’s probably time to reassess your goals.
Sound familiar? It's probably not a bad idea to double-check with a knowledgeable and experienced personal trainer who can quickly help you get your training back on track. Regardless, it’s crucial that you listen to your body and know the signs of overtraining. Here's a list of 12 common symptoms that you should constantly look out for.
12. Altered Resting Heart Rate
Have you noticed those heart rate monitors some guys wear at the gym? Believe it or not, they can help determine if you’re overtraining. “altered resting heart rate is the result of an increased metabolic rate to meet the imposed demand of the training," explains strength coach Dan Trink, C.S.C.S. But even if you don't have one of those gadgets, you can simply monitor your morning heart rate the old-fashioned way by measuring before you stand up to get out of bed and begin your day, Trink says. If your resting heart rate is unusually high or low, you should probably talk to a doctor.
11. Insatiable Thirst
Do you frequently have an unquenchable thirst? Are you starting to believe that no matter what you drink, you’ll still crave more? If this happens to be coinciding with a period of increased gym time, there’s an excellent chance that you’re overtraining. Here's why: Your body might be in a catabolic state, meaning it's starting to consume its own muscle for protein. “Being in a catabolic state naturally causes dehydration,” says personal trainer and nutrition expert Jay Cardiello, C.S.C.S. The solution is simple: Drink plenty of water and get lots of sleep.
10. Muscle Soreness
It’s normal to have sore muscles for a day or two after a workout. But if you’re still sore past the 72-hour mark, be sure to schedule a break and rest. This type of extended soreness is a sign your muscles aren’t recovering, which negatively impacts on your muscle-building efforts. “You should be able to get in a gym session—in and out—in 45 to 75 minutes max," says Muscle Model champion and transformation trainer Micah LaCerte.