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Overtraining

Overview

People who are very physically active sometimes cross the line between enough and too much training. Overtraining usually occurs when the body does not have enough time to recover from the stress of intense training.

You may be overtraining if:

  • You constantly feel tired or listless.
  • You can't move ahead on your fitness goals, or you move backward in your level of fitness.
  • You suddenly lose weight.
  • Your resting heart rate has gone up by 5 beats per minute.
  • You have lost your enthusiasm for exercising.
  • You feel grouchy, angry, or depressed.

Preventing problems from overtraining

It's better to prevent overtraining in the first place than to treat it after it has happened. To prevent overtraining:

  • Try to recognize when your body has reached its own training limits.

    Give yourself time to recover. Overtraining isn't just "overdoing it." It is a pattern of overdoing it too many times.

  • Follow guidelines for training schedules as they apply to your kind of activity.

    To get ideas on training for your activity, talk to an athletic trainer or coach.

  • Share your training schedule.

    Let people who train at your level or a specialized coach or trainer look at it. Ask them if it looks reasonable.

  • Talk to your coach if you have concerns.

    If a coach expects you to follow a training schedule that is not realistic for you, talk with your coach about your goals. Your coach should want your best performance. That can't happen if you overtrain.

  • Keep your training in perspective.

    If you find yourself thinking about your training all the time or becoming obsessive about it, take a short break from your schedule. If you don't want to stop all activity, try cross-training or take up some new activity for a few days or weeks.

Credits

Current as of: January 26, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Heather Chambliss PhD - Exercise Science

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