Are You Over Exercising?

Are You Over Exercising?
Are You Over Exercising?
It is very frustrating when, despite your best efforts, you are just not getting the expected results from your workout even when working out six or even seven days a week. Your body fat percentage may be increasing, strength decreasing, muscle tone diminishing and your clothes may even be getting tighter. It is common for people in this situation to think they just aren’t working out hard enough when it is usually just the opposite.

Too much of any good thing can be bad for you, and it is possible for hardcore fitness enthusiasts to overexercise. The typical knee-jerk reaction for people when they are not getting the desired result from their workout is to push even harder. However, as counter intuitive as it may seem, that is almost always counterproductive. The problem is usually overexercising, often referred to as “over-training syndrome,” and most often the solution is to simply reduce workout frequency.

For those who love the adrenaline and endorphin rush, exercise can become addictive and it can sometimes be hard to tell if your body has hit its limit. However, pushing too hard can cause orthopedic injuries and weaken your immune system as well. Overexercising is not always just a problem for hard-core workout enthusiasts. 
Regular gym goers and people sometimes just get too gun-ho and end up overdoing it chasing their own fitness goals. Additionally, people have varying levels of exercise tolerance and this is especially true for those with health issues. Because of the dangers associated with it, it is important to know the consequences and the signs of over exercising and what you can do about it.

Is Overexercising Detrimental to Progress?
Contrary to what the fitness industry would like people to believe, more is not always better. Over-training syndrome results from too much exercise without an adequate recovery period and is ironically a common unintended consequence of trying to get more fit. However, too intensive a training program that includes too many workouts without enough recovery days puts too much stress on your system and results in your best intentions backfiring.

Seven Signs of Overexercising
1) Fatigue
Feeling constantly tired is one of the most common signs of over-training syndrome and is usually the first to appear. While everyone feels tired sometimes, too much exercise without adequate rest can leave you feeling both physically and mentally drained.

2) Increased Resting Heart Rate
For most people, the fitter you are the lower your resting heart rate is. Whereas the average person’s heart rate is roughly 70 beats per minute, someone who is very fit should have a resting HR of 50 to 60 BPM. Monitor your heart rate and if you see it spiking for no apparent reason, take the day off.

3) Decreased Strength and Endurance
A steady and/or noticeable decrease in performance while maintaining your regular workout routine is a sure sign of over exercising. This may mean not being able to lift as much weight or run or bike as far. And you may become completely exhausted from doing even half the work you normally do.

4) Becoming Prone to Injuries
Suddenly finding yourself suffering constant injuries is a common sign of over training. While these are sometimes caused by poor form, continual minor injuries are most often the result of overuse. This is often due to pushing your body past its limits and overusing the muscles and joints.

5) Constantly Getting Sick
If you seem like you are getting sick more than normal, you may be pushing your body too hard. This is because the immune system recharges itself during rest and if you are not getting enough downtime your immune system becomes weaker and weaker, you will get sick more often and take longer to get better.

6) Women Stop Menstruating
While it can happen for any number of reasons, women will often stop menstruation if their body fat drops below 20 percent and almost all will cease at less than 17 percent. If this is happening, and you have ruled out all other possible causes, cut back off on the workouts a bit.

7) Increase or Loss of Appetite
Because hormones help to regulate hunger cues and exercise regulate hormone production, over exercising can cause appetite changes. While an increase in appetite after working out hard is somewhat normal, an abnormal HR increase can be a clue that you may need to slow down. A much more obvious indication of over training is a decrease in appetite after a hard workout.

Is it Okay to Overexercise if You Just Enjoy Training Everyday?
The term “overexercising” literally means you are exercising too much. Studies have shown that training seven days a week leads to orthopedic injuries so you should, at a minimum, take at least one full day a week off. Of course, there is a big difference between moving and working out. If you are weight training or prepping for a marathon you should give the affected body part(s) the day after your training session off. For example, runners and bicyclists should give their legs the day after a workout off and weight lifters should not work the same muscles on successive days. However, there is one caveat to overexercising.

“Overreaching” is a term that means to engage in a particularly intense period of training for a set period of time. This is opposed to over training where you just keep punishing your body with no recovery period. With overreaching, you perform a series of really tough workouts that results in a temporary decrease in performance followed by an adequate period of recovery. This can result in an actual enhancement in performance. However, the emphasis is always on the recovery period and you must always listen to your body and not go beyond its capabilities.

Tips for Recovery
Even if you have been suffering the consequences of over training, there are a number of steps you can take to help your body get back to normal. Here are some proven recovery tips:

• Even if you absolutely hate the idea, stop training altogether for one week. You will be absolutely amazed at the increase in strength and endurance you will have when you start working out again.

• If you just can’t make yourself stop working out altogether, switch from intense workouts to more moderate exercise routines for a period of at least three weeks.

• Sleep is when the body does much of its repair work so be sure you get at least seven hours each night.

• Knock off the fad diets and eat a balanced diet of 60 to 70 percent carbohydrates, 15 to 20 percent protein, and 10 to 20 percent healthy fats.

• Always have a high-protein and nutrient-dense meal within an hour after your workouts.

• Drink plenty of water and cut back on sugary drinks and alcohol.

• Give muscle groups 24 to 48 hours rest between workouts and take at least one full day of rest each week.

• Boost your immune system by eating healthy foods like fresh vegetables, whole grains and lean meat and cold-water fish. Drink plenty of water and be sure you are getting the vitamins and minerals you need.

• Work with a trainer and nutrition coach, if needed, to help you come up with a workout and diet plan that will fit your needs.

• Don’t take supplements unless you know your not getting the recommended daily allowances and then take just the ones you need.

If all of this does not help, see your doctor about your symptoms as there could be an underlying medical condition.

The most important point to keep in mind is that you are taxing your body during exercise, but both strength and endurance are built during the recovery periods when you are sitting on the couch watching a game and sleeping. If you are working out every day, your body never gets a chance to fully recover and you will see a net loss in your fitness level as you continually tax your body. Unless you are training for a competition, sustainable exercise followed by adequate rest is the best exercise for most people and the best way to keep moving forward without over exercising.

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