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How To Know If You Are Overtraining And How Can You Recover?

Are you hitting the gym and not seeing results? Do you feel tired, demotivated to workout, and joint pain? Then you might be suffering from overtraining.

What is overtraining?

You may have seen those workouts in bodybuilding magazines where you are told to spend hours in the gym performing intense workouts.

Let me tell you that those workouts will only work for people on steroids and not for natural lifters like us.

The only thing such intense workouts will do is lead to overtraining where not only will our workouts suffer but we will also feel tired, lethargic, and increase our chances of injury.

This is what it means to be overtraining where you keep spending time at the gym not realizing that your body is breaking down and needs rest and recover.

This has an impact on your life both in and out of the gym.

How can you know whether you are overtraining?

Overtraining can be tricky and we often don’t realize that we are doing it.

It is only that our body keeps breaking down slowly until we reach a point where it starts affecting our performance and progress to such an extent that we need to forcefully take a break.

Let’s have a look at some of the symptoms of overtraining that can help us know that we are actually suffering from it and then do something about it.

You are feeling a sharp pain in your joints, tendons, and muscles

Probably the most visible sign of overtraining is when you start to feel a lot of pain, especially in your joints.

Of course, when you perform intense workouts, you will feel soreness in your muscles especially when you are a beginner and it is the first few weeks of lifting weights.

However, soreness is different from pain that you might suffer in your joints, bones, tendons, and muscles.

This is a sign that you are pushing your body too much above its limits and it is time for some rest and recovery before you get a serious injury that can put you out of the gym for weeks or months.

You are unable to finish your workouts

When you are suffering from overtraining, you will find that you are not able to finish your workouts.

What this means is that as you are performing your sets, you will start to fatigue after a certain number of sets and start to think whether you will be able to complete the rest of your sets.

You might be able to complete your sets with persistence and effort but doing this repeatedly with every workout means that something is wrong.

This will impact your performance in the gym as well as lower your chances of getting the results that you are after.

You are not able to sleep properly

When you are unable to sleep one night occasionally that is fine. You will be able to get sleep the next night.

But if you are unable to sleep every night and keep tossing and turning in bed then chances are that you are suffering from overtraining.

The reason is that your central nervous system is getting too much stress and is in overdrive.

This means that it is trying to work all the time and causing you some sleepless nights.

You may be falling sick too often

Another common symptom of overtraining is that you may fall sick quite often.

If you fall sick once in a while that is fine and normal.

But if you were not falling sick before your workouts and now suddenly start falling sick often then it is possibly due to overtraining.

The reason for this is that as your body comes under a lot of stress, it goes into a catabolic state. This affects the immune system and increases your chances of falling sick.

You feel tired and lethargic during the day

When you are lifting weights with a high intensity it causes tremendous stress on your central nervous system and all your organs.

When you overtrain, this stress causes the testosterone levels to drop and the cortisol levels to rise in your body.

What this results in is a general feeling of tiredness and lethargy all the time.

You will start getting injured often

When you are lifting weights, a very important component is the rest and recovery that your body undergoes so that it grows stronger to handle the stress.

When you are overtraining, what happens is that your body is not able to recover sufficiently.

This means that you are training your body while it is not in the optimal state.

This increases the chances of getting injured while trying to lift heavy weights.

It gets difficult to make progress in the gym

You have been working out with intensity at the gym every day but someone the progress seems to have slowed down or stopped completely.

You check your diet, workout, macronutrients, etc. but seem to be doing everything right. Yet, the progress you expected is not there.

This is one of the most common symptoms of overtraining where it starts getting difficult to make progress.

The reason is that as your body begins to breakdown, your testosterone levels start to decrease. This affects your muscles and they start to break down.

Also, your insulin levels start to rise and this can mean that you will start to put on more fat.

You may suffer from depression due to overtraining

As you may know, consistent workouts will help you overcome or avoid depression.

However, overtraining can do the opposite and make you suffer from depression.

This can be due to the other symptoms such as not making progress in the gym, feeling tired all the time, getting joint, tendon, and muscle pain, and not being able to sleep.

You start to dislike working out

One of the best things about working out regularly is that it is quite enjoyable not just during the workout but also after the workout.

This is because working out releases endorphins that are the chemicals that bring about good mood and a feeling of relaxation.

When you start overtraining, you will find that your workouts become less and less enjoyable and you even may start to dislike them.

How can you recover from overtraining?

The most important thing is that you need to become aware that you are actually overtraining.

The above symptoms should help you do that.

Once you know that you are suffering due to overtraining, you can make use of a  deload week where you lower the intensity of your workouts.

This could be by lowering the number of sets you are performing or lowering the weights you lift of a combination of both.

You can also consider taking an entire week off from the gym and your workouts so that you can allow your body sufficient rest and recovery.

You can also consider reevaluating your workouts to see if you are doing too much.

If you are working out for 2 hours every day 7 days a week then it is too much for most natural lifters.

Try to take at least 1-2 days off each week to allow your body to rest and recover correctly.

Usually, an hour at the gym is more than sufficient to get the best results and training beyond that risks overtraining for a lot of people.

Check out some good beginner workout programs that can help you be in and out of the gym fast and also help you avoid overtraining.


I hope this post has helped you know all about overtraining and how you can recover from it.

To summarize, overtraining means that your body is overworked due to the intense workouts you are performing and needs some rest and recovery before it can get back to its optimal state.

The symptoms of overtraining can be tiredness, joint pain, lack of sleep, no progress in the gym, etc.

The best way to recover from overtraining is to allow your body sufficient rest and recovery. This could be done by taking an entire week off from training or making use of a deload week.

If you have any questions about overtraining, please leave a comment below.

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