Ever heard the expression that you can never get too much of a good thing? Well, it’s not exactly true. Especially when it comes to working out. In fact, working out too much—something called overtraining—can wreak havoc on your body and actually make it harder for you to reach your goals. Read on for five reasons why overtraining is for the birds. The really tired and scrawny birds.
Overtraining: 5 Reasons to Avoid Working Out Too Much
1. You’ll burn out. Never taking a break stresses your mind and your body. Sure, you may be gung-ho and totally motivated now, but in a few weeks if you are working out too much, your body will be fatigued, your cortisol levels will be elevated (stress!) and working out will feel like torture instead of how it should feel—energizing!
2. You’ll catch that cold going around. Overtraining or overexercising can decrease your immune system, making you more likely to get that nasty bug going around no matter how much vitamin C you pop. Yuck.
3. You’ll lose muscle. If you don’t give your muscles enough time to recover and build back up bigger and stronger after workouts, you’ll actually do more harm than good. In fact, when overtraining, the muscle will begin to break down—which is pretty much the opposite of what your fitness goals are.
4. You’re more likely to get injured. Doing similar type movements day after day overly taxes the body and can result in repetitive or overuse injuries. Avoid this by taking recovery days and doing a couple of cross-training workouts a week that are different than your usual workouts. Good examples include biking, swimming, walking and dancing. Maybe it’s a good time to try one of our favorite workout DVDs!
5. Your performance will suffer. One of the biggest symptoms of overtraining is fatigue. When you’re working out too much you lose energy, focus and strength. Meaning that there’s no way you’re going to get faster, go longer or lift heavier. Trust us, more is not always better!
We recommend that you take one to two days off from working out each week so that your body and muscles have time to properly recover. With that said, that doesn’t mean that you should just sit on your duff on your days off. Start to view your recovery days as active ones where you go for an easy walk with a friend, do some light stretching or even take a few minutes to meditate. Do something healthy for you—just something that doesn’t involve a high heart rate or anything overly strenuous.
Just like we always say, all good things—including working out—in moderation! Have you ever worked out too much and felt the ill effects of overtraining? Tell us about it! —Jenn