Overtraining: Symptoms and Prevention

Overtraining is the same “sports disease” that neither beginners nor professionals are immune from. In the former, it is associated with excessive loads for an unprepared body, and in the latter it overtakes, if desired, to improve the effectiveness of training. Impatience and exercise through pain and fatigue can play a trick on you. Sports disease leads not only to a stop of progress, but also to the loss of accumulated results.

How does overtraining manifest itself?


Symptoms may accumulate and appear gradually.


  • In the first stage, you will not distinguish illness from overwork.
  • Then your performance will noticeably decrease, and fitness classes will cease to bring both results and pleasure.
  • The third stage is a regression in training and a state of neurosis: you begin to lose weight (muscles are destroyed), you cannot train in the same mode, and you feel depression, apathy, and emotional instability.


This happens because the overtraining of the body is directly related to the overstraining of the nervous system.


Symptoms of overtraining are similar to those of stress and depression:

  • increased fatigue;
  • lack of pumping (feeling of “bloat” in the muscles during training);
  • muscle weakness, slowness and inaccuracy of movements, deterioration in coordination and endurance during training, lengthening the recovery period after the usual workout;
  • general discomfort in the body after training (heaviness in the legs, gastrointestinal disorders, increased heart rate, pain in the chest or abdomen);
  • stopping training progress and even regression;
  • atypical irritability and emotionality, dislike for training;
  • increased need for sleep;
  • decreased appetite, sudden and unplanned weight loss;
  • decreased libido;
  • unusually low or high heart rate at rest;
  • frequent headaches;
  • low or high blood pressure (body temperature remains normal);
  • deterioration of immunity, and frequent illnesses.


  • Too frequent workouts to the limit. You can exercise “to failure” no more than once a week, otherwise there is an accumulation of microtraumas in the muscles, and the nervous system is constantly stressed and “burns out”.
  • High levels of stress in everyday life.
  • The same workouts for a long time. The absence of changes in the program will not only not bring you good results, but will also harm the body.

How to avoid overtraining?


1.   Train according to a well-designed program. It should include no more than one extreme intensity session per week, a few cardio workouts, and stretching. Workouts should be divided into large muscle groups. The program should be changed every few weeks.

2.  Eat right: eat enough protein, complex carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. The number of calories consumed on training days should be increased by 1/4

3. Correctly recover after training

4.  For prevention, you can use herbal adaptogens, such as Eleutherococcus or ginseng extract. This is not mandatory, but it is a completely safe way to play it safe and improve your performance in the classroom in a fitness club.


How do recognize the disease?


If you suspect you’ve reached overtraining after all and want to test yourself, take two simple tests.


  • Take your pulse at rest, preferably in the morning when you wake up. If it is higher than usual (at this time in this state) by 12 or more beats per minute – it’s time for you to take a break from intense training.
  • Do an orthotic test. For example, you can measure the pulse in a sitting position (first sit for 10 minutes), then stand up and measure the pulse again. With sports disease, the difference will exceed 20 beats per minute.


If you’ve reached a point where your workouts are doing more harm than good, don’t worry. Of course, power loads will have to be abandoned for the duration of treatment, but this will not take so much time. Recovery will take place in two stages.

Stage 1 – small aerobic exercise. Work out for 20 minutes on any cardio machine three times a week. Watch your heart rate: it should not exceed 60% of your maximum level (a table for calculating the rate of heart rate can be seen here ). On non-training days, you can do walking and yoga. This step will take up to 3 weeks.


Stage 2. Gradually introduce into your program small power loads on all muscle groups. You can do it twice a week. At the end of rehabilitation, consider the moment when training again begins to bring visible results.



Don’t forget that recovery is not only about proper training, but also healthy sleep and good nutrition.


You need to get enough sleep and eat enough calories and micronutrients that your body needs. Be sure to rest and treat the nervous system – a calm environment, pacifying activities, getting rid of stress in everyday life. Drink green tea: it contains L-theanine, which has a beneficial effect on the psycho-emotional state.


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