7 Signs You’re Working Out Too Hard
By Brian Acton
Regular exercise is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, regulate your sleep cycle, boost your mood, and more. But if you overdo it in your quest for fitness, you could be setting yourself up for negative consequences.
Exercising too often or too hard can backfire, and you may need to dial back the intensity or the frequency of your workouts. Here are seven signs you’re working out too hard, too often, or for too long.
- Excessive Muscle Soreness
Muscle soreness after a workout is normal. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can kick in a day or two after you exercise, and can leave you feeling sore, tender, and immobile for a few days. Stretching, massage, foam rolling, and other methods can help, but DOMS will go away after a while.
But if you are feeling muscle pain or soreness beyond 72 hours post-workout, you may have overextended yourself. Reduce the intensity, duration, or frequency of your exercise to help your body acclimate to the activity you’re doing.
- Isolated Pain
While soreness is common from the elite athlete to the weekend warrior, acute pain should not be. If you’re frequently feeling pain or suffering injuries in isolated parts of your body, you could be hurting yourself with improper form or overexertion.
- Extreme Fatigue
Fatigue after exercise is normal, especially after an intense workout. But if you have extreme fatigue or you feel exhausted for a prolonged amount of time, you might be overtraining. Your body needs time between workouts to rest and repair itself, so make sure to get plenty of rest between workouts.
- Weakened Immune System
Regular exercise has been shown to boost the immune system, making you more resistant to illness. But excessive training can actually weaken your immune system. An overly intense workout can leave you more susceptible to viruses and bacteria for days on end. If your find yourself getting sick frequently, try dialing back the workout intensity.
- Throwing Up
This probably goes without saying, but vomiting during or after a workout is a sign of overexertion. While it’s possible to push yourself to the point of throwing up without doing long-term damage, it’s a sign you’re working too hard. You may also be dehydrated or experiencing heat exhaustion, so be careful.
- Decreased Performance
Normally, a consistent workout routine should result in gradual performance improvements, or at least help you maintain a steady plateau. But if you’re seeing a decrease in performance despite increasing or maintaining the level of intensity, you might be overtraining. Take a break or reduce the intensity of your workout.
Unusually strenuous exercise can result in the release of cortisol (the stress hormone) and adrenaline in the evening, resulting in insomnia. If you are having trouble sleeping, try toning down the workout intensity or switch your exercise routine to the morning.