Know If You Are Overtraining and Its Likely Consequences!

Have you ever experienced muscle fatigue or mood disturbances during training? Perhaps you are straining yourself more than you can actually hold the pressure. You are overtraining! Let us know more about Overtraining, its causes, signs & symptoms along with the consequences of overtraining and its essential treatments. Towards the end of the article you can also find a technique explained by Dr. Carl Foster, which would let you detect and avoid if you are overtraining.

Overtraining and Its Likely Consequences

Know-About Overtraining In Brief:

When there is a prolonged training strain during workouts or when the exercise or training session exceeds an individual’s recovery capacity there occur a condition in the person when he meets with fatigue, depressed mood and showing reduced performance. This is what is called overtraining. This negative physical, emotional and behavioral effect in overtraining occurs when one continuously increases the volume and intensity of the training while striving for increased performance. Overtraining is very much common in weight training, though runners, athletes and sports persons also suffer from the consequences of overtraining at times.

Signs And Symptoms Of Overtraining:

“You are dragging self to the gym; you perhaps have no interest in going for your workouts!” This marks the first sign of overtraining. Apart from this there are some of the noted symptoms of overtraining which can let you know you probably require rest and necessary treatment for the consequences that occurred due to overtraining. Let us check them out below.

  • Muscle fatigue occurs along with loss of muscles which marks the negative impact of overtraining.
  • There occurs joint pain with overtraining.
  • There begins disturbed sleep or improper sleeping habits when you are going through the consequences of overtraining.
  • Frequent illness is one more symptom of overtraining. We know exercises and fitness trainings are done to keep self body and mind fit. However when anything exceeds limit, there occurs danger. So overtraining makes you susceptible to infections, injuries and illness.
  • Mood disturbances are common in overtraining. Irritation, depression, loss of interest in workout etc are some of the most common emotional and behavioral symptoms seen as the consequences of overtraining.

Causes Of Overtraining:

“For every good or bad that occur to you, there is a cause behind it” Let us note down some of the major causes that leads to overtraining or the symptoms of overtraining.

  • Working out for long can cause overtraining.
  • Challenging self very often with excessive hard workouts can be one reason for overtraining. It is good to keep a check on your body and its ability to withstand training strain before doing hard exercises.
  • Laying importance on any one part of the body while fitness training can be the cause of overtraining. Usually people who do only legs or only upper body workouts are more prone to the consequences of overtraining.
  • Doing low intensity cardio exercises can cause overtraining.
  • There are also some other factors which causes overtraining like the lack of sleep. Sleep is very much important. In case there is a lack of sleep, chances grow high that you might suffer from the negative effects of overtraining.
  • Not taking essential nutrients or not eating properly can cause overtraining.

Consequences Of Overtraining:

Coming to the consequences or the negative effects of overtraining, here below we can mention them in the following ways categorizing them into physiological, psychological and performance based consequences.

  • Physiological Consequences Of Overtraining: Excessive loss of weight, excessive loss of fat from the body, reduced muscular strength, increased resting heart rate, constipation, chronic soreness in muscle, constant fatigue, frequent infections and illness, heart palpitation, loss of sleep, absence of menstruation in women, higher cortisol and lower testosterone levels etc are some of the negative effects of overtraining.
  • Psychological Consequences Of Overtraining: Psychological consequences of overtraining include depression, loss of mood, loss of motivation, irritation, loss of appetite etc.
  • Performance Based Consequences Of Overtraining: Consequences that are marked in performance include delayed recovery, easily prone to infection, decreased aerobic capacity, poor physical performance, imbalanced fitness etc.

Treatments For Eradicating The Symptoms Of Overtraining:

Here below are some of the ways one can treat the symptoms of overtraining.

  • Take enough rest and keep away from training for some time. Give some time for recovery.
  • Reduce the volume and intensity of training when you start the workout once again after the break.
  • Take proper sleep and eat healthy.
  • Massaging the affected muscles can give you good relief from the pain.
  • There are also some kinds of therapy available which include temperature contrast therapy, thermotherapy, Cryotherapy etc.
  • Take nutritional supplements along with the proper diet.

Know If You Are Overtraining: Detect And Avoid – A Technique Explained By Dr. Foster!

Now you are aware of the overtraining, causes, symptoms and its consequences. It is for sure you must be worried about how to know if you are overtraining self? So, this section will let you know about a technique explained by Dr. Foster published in the July, 1998 issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise; which explained how to detect and avoid overtraining.

  • The technique is primarily based on one evidence that the horses progress when follow a hard-easy training program, however they start showing signs of overtraining when the workload on the easy days gets increased.
  • So, the hypothesis here is that overtraining is linked to the training load or the level of difficulty of the training and the Monotony of the training or the variation in the difficulty of training from one day to other.
  • In order to access the training load you are going through in your training session, you need to rate the difficulty of your training session on a scale of 1-10 and then multiply this number by total number of minutes you do your exercise in the training session. Detecting your training load can help greatly in reducing the risk of overtraining.
  • Monotonous training comprises only one moderately hard day after another. However the varied training includes the mix of hard days, easy days and rest days occasionally for recovery.
  • It is known that combining the easy recovery days into your training session can actually help you reduce overtraining and also help you improve your body fitness without breakdown.


One of the saying from Ron Adams comes, “I decided excess, even in health is not good for anyone!” So, do not go for excessive strain while training, keep an absolute intensity and volume in training and make sure you have added few resting days into the training. Talk to an expert fitness adviser before you start your exercises and keep safe from overtraining.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 25, 2019

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