Too much of anything is a bad thing. And that’s the case with exercises too. The line between pushing your body to the limit and pushing it over the line is very thin. Beginners – in their unbridled enthusiasm – can take on too much of a workload which can be a big setback and could stop you from being active completely.

When you overdo your workout, you are putting your body in harm’s way. Over-training is one of the primary reasons beginners will feel burnt out after a workout, and feel like giving up altogether. A common reason is that beginners expect the extra workload and intensity to have immediate effects on their fitness goal. ‘I’ll do twice the load today to make up for the day I missed’ does not work in real life. But if you are not used to paying heed to your limit, then there are signs to watch out for along the way to make you realise that perhaps you are overtraining.

Dehydration

Feeling thirsty after working out is normal, but if you are feeling thirsty even after drinking many glasses of water then it’s time to take it stop and maybe end the day’s workout. Dehydration creeps up on you and can seriously harm your vitals and muscles. Despite hydration when your body experiences signs of dehydration – such as parched throat or tightness in the sides – it’s because the protein tissue is being broken down to release energy that leads to dehydration.  

Muscle soreness

Of course your muscles – especially those which you do not work all that much – will be a little sore after the first few days of working out, but if you experience discomfort in parts that you use everyday – your wrists, knees or ankles – it may be time to get a check up. Prolonged muscle soreness is an indication that you may have done a bit too much that you could handle. Any pain or discomfort that lasts for more than 3 days shouldn’t be taken lightly as this could be due to muscle fatigue and micro-tears, which can be exacerbated very quickly. Just stop working out for a few days, and take a break. It’s good to give your muscles time to recover.

Lack of sleep

Not getting enough sleep or feeling restless are also signs of overdoing your exercises. We all know after a good workout we are supposed to get good night’s sleep, especially if we have had a balanced diet. But often one would find that sleep comes hard when you have over-trained. This is because your brain releases stress hormones that keep you alert for much longer than you should be – your excess workout has basically caused you mild trauma and your brain is still wired to get the most of your muscles. Once you ignore the stress hormones – by continuing your workout, for example- they interfere with sleep patterns and wreak havoc on your rest period.

Depression

We don’t mean full-on depression but this is more of a subtle condition. Usually exercise releases endorphins, which give you that happy feeling. But the minute you overdo the session you won’t be feeling happy. On the contrary you will feel depressed, fatigued and unmotivated for your next session. Overtraining affects your nervous system, and the excess endorphins affect your mood adversely, making you want a higher and higher dose of endorphins when you continue overtraining for a long time.

Knowing what your limit is is not always possible. This is where someone like a personal trainer or coach comes into the equation. They will help you get accustomed to increasing your workout volume gradually, and will keep you alert to signs of burning out. Don’t let yourself get discouraged from sticking to your workout schedule. Do what’s in line with your capacity and that awesome post-workout feeling will last a long time.

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