Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
February 23 2010

8 Signs You Are Overtraining

By Mark Sisson
148 Comments

Exercise FatigueWhen you spend some time among the ever-growing circle of evolutionary-based health writers, thinkers, bloggers, and doctors, you notice a curious thing happening. Conventional Wisdom is becoming turned on its head. Saturated fat is generally healthy and excessive endurance training is generally unhealthy become the presiding narratives. Grains are either unnecessary or have the tendency to attack the gut lining, even guts with “clinically undetectable levels of sensitivity.” You don’t need six square meals a day to keep your metabolism up and running, after all; one or two a day will do just fine.

Less is more – as far as exercise goes – is becoming another accepted truth, especially when you understand that 80% of your body composition is determined by how you eat.

If you dial the diet in (Primal Blueprint, of course), you just don’t need to “burn off” tons of excess calories with a lot of hard work. Yet many people are still tied to that assumption and ride that fine line between training enough to maximize strength and unnecessarily reaching too far. Overtraining is a very real danger for those engaged in physical culture. In fact, while the majority of this country (and of many others) suffers from a massive physical activity deficit, a sizeable portion of my readers faces the opposite danger. Understanding exactly how much to exercise can be tricky. No activity is worse than some, while too much may be worse than none at all. The ideal lies somewhere in between – though not necessarily in the middle, but rather smack dab in the “just enough” section. Can “just enough” be quantified? Perhaps it could be quantified using a battery of round-the-clock tests and measurements of anabolic and catabolic hormones, various serum concentrations, lactate build-up, cortisol:testosterone ratios, etc, but that would be expensive, unwieldy, and completely individualized. These types of objective measurements, ironically, would be more subjective than anything else; you couldn’t accurately extrapolate an overtraining threshold for the entire population from a single trainee’s results.

People are unique. Sure, nutritional requirements for human physiology adhere to a set of overarching principles, yet a single, universally specific macronutrient profile cannot be nailed down for all humans. In the end, each of us must craft his or her own identity, plan, regimen, and discover his or her own weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and sensitivities. In short, we must each become our own test subject (as well as astute observer) if we wish to optimize our health and our fitness. The concept of overtraining is similar. There’s a clinical definition – a state of chronic fatigue, depression, and underperformance that persists despite rest – and there’s a more general, working definition – a basic imbalance between work and recovery. Overtraining can also be highly personal and goal-dependent. Overtraining might describe anytime your training is working against you, and where adding more of it makes the problem worse. If you want to avoid overtraining, there are some grand, overarching principles to follow, but you’ll also want to pay attention to certain personal, entirely subjective cues.

What follows is my basic list of signs that indicate you may be overtraining. Some are objective measures, while others derive from my own personal experiences with overtraining. There are overlaps, and I’ve probably missed more than a few, but I’m confident what’s listed will be invaluable to anyone who trains, and trains hard.

1. You repeatedly fail to complete your normal workout.

I’m not talking about normal failure. Some people train to failure as a rule, and that’s fine. I’m talking failure to lift the weights you usually lift, run the hill sprints you usually run, and complete the hike you normally complete. Regression. If you’re actively getting weaker, slower, and your stamina is deteriorating despite regular exercise, you’re probably training too much. Note, though, that this isn’t the same as deloading. Pushing yourself to higher weights and failing at those is a normal part of progression, but if you’re unable to lift weights that you formerly handled with relative ease, you may be overtrained.

2. You’re losing leanness despite increased exercise.

If losing fat was as easy as burning calories by increasing work output, overtraining would never result in fat gain – but that isn’t the case. It’s about the hormones. Sometimes, working out too much can actually cause muscle wasting and fat deposition. You’re “burning calories,” probably more than ever before, but it’s predominantly glucose/glycogen and precious muscle tissue. Net effect: you’re getting less lean. The hormonal balance has been tipped. You’ve been overtraining, and the all-important testosterone:cortisol ratio is lopsided. Generally speaking, a positive T:C ratio means more muscle and less fat, while a negative ratio means you’re either training too much, sleeping too little, or some combination of the two. Either way, too much cortisol will increase insulin resistance and fat deposition, especially around the midsection. Have you been working out like a madman only to see your definition decrease? You’re probably overtraining.

3. You’re lifting/sprinting/HIITing hard every single day.

The odd genetic freak could conceivably lift heavy, sprint fast, and engage in metabolic conditioning nearly every day of the week and adequately recover, without suffering ill effects. Chances are, however, you are not a genetic freak with Wolverine’s healing factor. Most people who maintain such a hectic physical schedule will not recover (especially if they have a family and/or a job). Performance will suffer, health will deteriorate, and everything they’ve worked to achieve will be compromised. Many professional athletes can practice for hours a day every day and see incredible results (especially if they are using performance enhancing substances), but you’re not a professional, are you?

4. You’re primarily an anaerobic/power/explosive/strength athlete, and you feel restless, excitable, and unable to sleep in your down time.

When a sprinter or a power athlete overtrains, the sympathetic nervous system dominates. Symptoms include hyperexcitability, restlessness, and an inability to focus (especially on athletic performance), even while at rest or on your off day. Sleep is generally disturbed in sympathetic-dominant overtrained athletes, recovery slows, and the resting heart rate remains elevated. Simply put, the body is reacting to a chronically stressful situation by heightening the sympathetic stress system’s activity levels. Most PBers who overtrain will see their sympathetic nervous system afflicted, simply because they lean toward the high-intensity, power, strength side.

5. You’re primarily an endurance athlete, and you feel overly fatigued, sluggish, and useless.

Too much resistance training can cause sympathetic overtraining; too much endurance work can cause parasympathetic overtraining, which is characterized by decreased testosterone levels, increased cortisol levels, debilitating fatigue (both mental and physical), and a failure to lose body fat. While I tend to advise against any appreciable amount of endurance training, chronic fatigue remains an issue worthy of repeating. Being fit enough to run ten miles doesn’t mean that you now have to do it every day.

6. Your joints, bones, or limbs hurt.

I’m unaware of any clinical tests that can identify overuse injuries specifically caused by overtraining, but don’t you think that pain in your knee might be an indication that you should reassess how you exercise that knee? In the lifts, limb pain can either be DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) or it can indicate poor technique or improper form; DOMS is a natural response that should go away in a day or two, while poor form is more serious and can be linked to overuse or overtraining. With regard to endurance training, if you creak, you wince at every step, and you dread staircases, it may be that you’ve run too far or too hard for too long. The danger here is that your daily endorphin high has over-ridden your natural pain receptors. You should probably listen to them more acutely. I tuned them out for longer than I should have and it cost me my career as a marathoner (so I got that going for me, which is nice).

7. You’re suddenly falling ill a lot more often.

Many things can compromise your immune system. Dietary changes (especially increased sugar intake), lack of Vitamin D/sunlight, poor sleep habits, mental stress are all usual suspects, but what if those are all locked in and stable? What if you’re eating right, getting plenty of sun, and enjoying a regular eight hours of solid sleep each night, but you find yourself getting sick? Nothing too serious, mind you. A nagging cough here, a little sniffle or two there, some congestion and a headache, perhaps. These were fairly normal before you went Primal, but they’ve returned. Your immune system may be suffering from the added stress of your overtraining. It’s an easy trap to fall into, simply because it’s often the natural progression for many accomplished athletes or trainees looking to increase their work or improve their performance: work harder, work longer. If you’ve recently increased your exercise output, keep track of those early morning sore throats and sneezes. Any increases may indicate a poor immune system brought on by overtraining.

8. You feel like crap the hours and days after a big workout.

Once you get into the swing of things, one of the great benefits of exercise is the post-workout feeling of wellness. You’ve got the big, immediate, heady rush of endorphins during and right after a session, followed by that luxurious, warm glow that infuses your mind and body for hours (and even days). It’s the best feeling, isn’t it? We all love it. What if that glow never comes, though? What if instead of feeling energetic and enriched after a workout, you feel sketchy and uncomfortable? As I said before, post-workout DOMS is completely normal, but feeling like death (mentally and physically) is not. Exercise generally elevates mood; if it’s having a negative effect on your mood, it’s probably too much.

How about you, readers? Do you have any tried-and-true indicators that your body has had more than it can handle? Let me know, and check back next week for information on how to avoid, mitigate, and respond to overtraining.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

148 thoughts on “8 Signs You Are Overtraining”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    1. Dude, don’t do the “first” thing – this isn’t youtube, and you’re probably not 14 years old.

      1. Yes! Please delete stupid comments like these worker bees. Take Justin’s and mine down when it goes. They contribute nothing to this great site.

        1. Let me “third” that motion. Maybe a show of hands one time here and we can not have to keep dealing with wasting space.

    1. Ditto that. Losing my mental edge is the first symptom. Pausing at the bottom of a staircase, wishing I didn’t have to go up it because my legs are just too weary, is another.

  1. I had a bout with overtraining this past December. I was trying to do an 8-week Olympic Weightlifting cycle and CrossFit workouts all at once. I hit rock bottom after the 8-weeks was over. My performances went downhill towards the end of the cycle. I did not feel like training at all, was tired all the time, and my body just ached. This threw the red flag my way and I researched overtraining syndrome and that is exactly what was going on.

    Since then, I have cut my training in 1/2 and feel so much better. Less is more for me.

    1. Decreasing volume by 50% every 3-4 weeks for a week is a great way to avoid burn out.

      1. I don’t feel so guilty taking last week off, I needed the rest.

      2. Bang on the money Kishore! I train a few athletes & normally put them on 14-21 day training cycles followed by 7 days reduced volume. I also use non-linear training, spreading the various workout types out over the 14-21 days, rather than trying to cram everything into a 7 day cycle like most do.

        I find the experienced ones can handle 3 weeks before getting cooked, & newbies are generally good for 2 on 1 off.

        1. I think cycling volume and intensity phases is good. The research is clear on volume vs hypertrophy, you need some volume for muscle growth. Vince Gironda style 8*8 routines are great for that. An intensity phase will be more than welcome after such a high volume phase. You might have also noticed that the higher the training age, the better they respond to lower reps due to increased nueral efficiency.

    2. A great way to ensure you’re not overtraining, is to cycle your days, or weeks depending on preference. I do a Medium/High/Light cycle each week where I do medium weight/intensity, high weight/intensity, and low weight/intensity. This ensures you’re not overtraining, allows deloding and negates plateuing (spelling?). I do a daily workout of 1 hour at maximum, 5 days a week, resting on weekends. I am training for strongman competitions so the workouts do get real intense but yet no negative effects, only progress.

  2. Thanks for the info Mark! A few things I have learned from my personal experience.

    1. Your morning heart rate is a good indicator of overtraining
    2. For a guy, waking up in the morning with a ‘tent’ is a direct indicator of Testosterone levels and overtraining spoils that
    3. There is value to controlled overtraining: If you’re not making progress in the gym, smash yourself into the ground for two weeks — purposefully overtrain until you’re mentally depressed and your body is about to shutdown — then take five days off. When you come back into the gym, you’ll hit new personal bests.
    4. If you leave the gym refreshed and recharged, the intensity and volume was probably optimal.

    1. Hey,
      Thanks for that great advise “If you’re not making progress in the gym, smash yourself into the ground for two weeks — purposefully overtrain until you’re mentally depressed and your body is about to shutdown — then take five days off. When you come back into the gym, you’ll hit new personal bests.”

      I do jiu jitsu and in last 6 weeks I’ve gone gang busters. Two weeks straight I did 35hrs on the mat and then 2hrs/day. My fingers felt like they were about to fall off (I seriously think my pinky is broken). While my endurance has greatly improved and my physical skill and performance has improved, last five days I get very restless in my legs and arms to the point I can’t sleep. And (to my wife’s complaint) I usually i fall asleep in 5 seconds flat!

      So maybe I’ll try stopping for 4 or 5 days and see what happens. If i hit a personal best, I’ll be SO happy.

      Cheers,
      PM99

    2. #2 is how I know. If I suddenly stop getting morning wood (I’m only in my late 30’s) I know I’ve overdone it. Sure enough i’ll start dropping reps, achey joints, all the other stuff.

      It sucks cause it’s human nature to work HARDER to see better results, but there’s a limit. If you can’t recover from your workouts it’s pointless. In my experience once you cross the overtrained ‘threshold’ whatever that may be, you’re much better off taking a full week off – no cardio, no weights, just be lazy for a week, then you are trying to ease off a bit. Once you come off that week, you’ll be fine. 😉

  3. Great Article. May I add that when you are no longer motivated to train, then that is also a sign. I went through that after a few years of training for Olympic Distance Triathlon…I eventually quit altogether and moved on from endurance training to training for life. Feel much better and I am sick once a year compared to 3-5 times a year. I enjoy trail running, Olympic Lifting, short circuits, and the odd bike ride to work but don’t follow a schedule and now look and feel better than ever!

  4. I know I am over trained when I need to use the granny gear on my mountain bike and have to limp back to the truck after 20 minutes. It happens every June when the days are long and the riding is good. One day I’m fine and the next it feels like I am pulling a boat anchor and everyone is riding away from me.

    1. Yes exactly. Happens to me a lot and it is so mentally frustrating. Happened to me yesterday and although my training schedule does not call for it I’m taking the next 2 days off. When this happens to me it also includes a very high heart rate for very little effort. Yesterday I was in granny gear going up hill on a concrete path and had a hard time keeping my HR below 150.

    2. Ditto. I actually found this site when I Google’d “what are the symptoms of over-training,” which I did because of how terrible I felt on the Ladies weekly mountain bike ride I just did. I’ve been working really hard this spring, and the the day before the women’s ride, I’d been on a rather long (over 2 hours) fire road climb and then about 40 minutes of trails. The next day at the women’s ride, we were all going up a steep hill that I’d done 3 times that week, and EVERYONE was riding right by me while I struggled to make it. I just couldn’t get up the last steep section of the hill! I had to get off and walk. I was toasted. I ran right of gas less than 15 minutes into the ride. I got really bummed out and actually thought about riding home. I felt better once we got onto the trails, but I think my body was just telling me to knock it off already.

  5. Dreading my workout is definitely my first cue that something ain’t quite right in my primal world.

    Sometimes the culprit can be overtraining, but sometimes it’s a question of nutritional needs or something missing in another area.

    Thanks for the reminder that we need to always listen to our body!

  6. I know this is not directly over-training – but nonetheless; The PB is all about health and happiness…enjoying mental clarity and physical energy (I am sure it can be described more accurately and poetically than that). But in sports such as MMA, football, even golf which lacks the demanding physical component and most of all LIFE- there is the pursuit of meaning from going beyond the comfort zones. Suffering a little, whether its staying out and hitting golf shots an extra hour after an already long day, or running in desert heat for miles on end, builds a mental fortitude that the PB does not seem discuss much. I derive great peace on the occasions when I have pushed my body to the limit and my mind was taken to the breaking point. Sometimes people need to know what they are made of, that they are not getting soft. what is the PB take on mental toughness?

    1. I think that’s what he meant by “I’m not talking about normal failure. Some people train to failure as a rule, and that’s fine. I’m talking failure to lift the weights you usually lift, run the hill sprints you usually run, and complete the hike you normally complete. Regression.”

  7. I definitely notice overtraining with the sleeplessness and restlessness. Good post.

  8. i put the percentage of what you eat at 90 not 80 for the average gym-goer/home exerciser.

    the best thing i ever did for my bod was learn to rest when it says rest and give up my OCD “must be in gym 5 mornings a week at 5:30am” mania. now if i want to sleep in, i do. my body pays me back many times over for learning to respect it more than self-imposed routines.

  9. Mark,

    I would be interested to know your thoughts on P90X? I just started the program and I didn’t realize you were part of it until I watched the first DVD.

    I think P90X is way too much training (6 days per week for at least an hour each session), but I figure on 90-day test trial shouldn’t hurt me too bad.

    I also found it interesting in the video when you said that eating multiple small meals per day to keep your metabolism was the right way to go.

    When was that video done?

    1. The videos were shot over seven years ago. Though I’ve been preaching the Primal message for decades now my stance on certain health and fitness-related issues has certainly evolved over time. As such, on the whole I have radically changed my approaches to both diet and exercise long since those videos were shot. Heck, if you dig back far enough in the archives (circa 2006) here on MDA you might find some things that aren’t 100% Primal Blueprint. Such is the nature of learning and informing your positions with new research.

      1. I understand that positions change over time Mark. That is why I asked when those videos were taped.

        Anyway, what are your thoughts on P90X as a training routine?

      2. My primal primal gets really primal when I primal just before too much. I primal to primal but don’t primal too primal or I don’t primal much later at all. Primal is best understood primal-y, primal is primal, but not primal when said. Primal.

    2. I started P90X about 2 years ago, and basically did 5 rounds in a row. Since turning to a primal lifestyle, I still use the workouts, but I don’t use them in the same rotation. I certainly don’t workout every day. Activity every day, yes. P90X every day, no. I did have great results with it. I’d been using resistance equipment at the gym or a bow-flex in my basement for years, and NEVER saw the definition (or strength) in my back, shoulders, or arms that I got off of one round of P90X. The other 2 things I like about it…. 1. I can work out in my basement when it’s convenient for me. 2. Every move can be modified so I can tailor the workouts to my needs and abilities.

      Have fun with it!

  10. I also did P90x but wasn’t able to finish due to a bad back but the training is a little too intense at times. the good thing is it teaches muscle confusion but you must (I thought this was best) cut the training down to 3-4 times per week and concentrate more on diet then killing myself with every workout.

    1. What I liked about P90X was that it taught me the meaning of a hard workout. I thought I was working hard before I did P90X, but I was deluding myself. I don’t workout every day now, and when I do it is only for 30-40 minutes, but it is high intensity and serious.

      P90X has helped thousands of people go from couch potatoes to fit, but I see too many of its acolytes going too far. I now read about Insanity/P90X hybrid programs and I know the people doing that are overtraining and doing themselves more harm than good.

      I like the Primal Blueprint because we do this to live, not live to do this.

      1. I have been a regular gym member – weightlifter for 31 years. High intensity cardio lifting ( SWEAT don’t SIT ! ) – not rest and check my phone / gabbing with others. I finished P90x last year as my 50th birthday present to myself. Throughly enjoyed months one and two – became somewhat bored and strolled thru month 3. Haven’t touched it since. Highly recommended for a change of pace. Tony was a very entertaining DVD fitness coach. He clearly tells you to modify movements – no need to be a superhero when following the instructions.

        Having a second day in a row off today. Hate it but sometimes you need a break.

  11. Mark! thank you so much for this. It is just what I needed to hear today. 4 and 5 really hit home for me.

  12. You always know….

    If you’re asking the question, then you already have the answer.

    Whether or not you listen to your body is the determining factor of over training.

  13. Hey Mark! Great post. Thank you for giving me something new to think about every day. I have been on a quest to find the nutrition plan that works best for me. I found you through Zen Habits. I just purchased a copy of your book and believe it or not my husband is actually excited about reading it as well! We are both in our 40’s and hoping to have the luxury of semi-retiring in the next 4 years and we want to be fit and healthy to enjoy each other and the world! I’ll keep you posted on our progress. Thanks for the inspiration. I’m just getting ito blogging Commit2BFit on blogger. I have referenced some of your work in my blog. Hope you don’t mind 🙂

  14. I have a feeling that I have been training too hard for quite some time. Just got back from a 10 day vacation where I spent most of my time eating and sleeping, with walks as my only form of exercise. Expected to gain weight, but ended up losing 3 of the 5 pounds I’ve been trying to shift for over 18 months! Stress fat anyone?

  15. For a long time i believed, “If I want to be healthy, I have to suffer for it.” There was a point a couple years ago, that I trained way too often, ate far too little, and (surprise surprise!) ended up feeling exhausted all the time. Of course, I quickly ended up getting burned out, and stopped doing all exercise and started eating like crap.

    I wish that I had been more educated about over training (and eating right) because I wasted a lot of time regressing in my health. Thanks so much for posts like these that remind me how important it is to listen to my own body. These days I’m at 195 (down from 240, but still and always improving), and I feel better than i have in my entire life.

  16. What a timely article Mark. I was reading an article in the Nassau Guardian last night and was going to blog about its contents regarding overtraining. So many times, people equate exercise volume with more fat loss and better health; your post obviously shows how that line of thinking is flawed and can be dangerous.

  17. Since I have reduced my gym time from 5 days a week to 2-3 per week as recommended in the PB and have used the other days just to walk, do some functional stuff or just relax with the family.

    My workouts are better, I am more energized and my strength has increased. I only do one exercise per workout. Deadlifts, bench or squats and when I am at the gym, I lift heavy, stretch a little and leave. In and out in 45 minutes to an hour.

    I am in my 30 day challenge (finally) and after this I will be fully Primal in my lifestyle. The benefits of the PB really are total life changing.

    Again…great article Mark!

  18. This post could not have come at a better time. I realized late last week that I have fallen victim to overtraining recently. I started doing the 100 Pushups program and in my 5th week I felt weaker on my attempts. Come to find out I was also practing the 5 X 5 program and I was putting undue stress on my upper body and shoulders. It’s tough to change your attitudes towards training and bringing those days down from 6 to 5 or less. I’m still not there, but plan to adopt that method in the next month when my current goals are met.
    The best point in this post for me – when you live primal, you don’t HAVE TO work out 6-7 days/week. That was a great point and one I will take to heart moving forward.

    Grok On!

  19. I dealt with massive fatigue after months of mountain climbing, lifting, sprinting, cycling, and soccer… I started to develop fatigue that plagued my workout/play often and assumed I must have been over-training. I lowered my activity level for 6 weeks and had no luck with my energy levels. So after a couple trips to the doctor with no conclusive results, they finally measured my body fat somewhere around 4.5-5%. So I increased my calorie intake by 35%… Now I feel good all the time and recover quickly.

    SIDE NOTE: I know i do far too much cardio for the Primal Blueprint, but I just love climbing those mountains 😉

  20. Very timely. I would add another sign:

    You are struggling to fit in workouts in your daily life, despite making some reasonable changes.

    I was doing this, and ended up run ragged – stressed, not sleeping, craving sugar and permanently hungry.

    I have dropped my workouts from 3 hours a day + to about 2 hours (it’s not as rigorous as it sounds) and made it more part of my lifestyle: walking to work [parking a way away] more, dance classes etc. I’ve stopped getting worried if I have to miss a workout. I am much less stressed and eating a little less, and hope my body composition will soon reflect these changes.

    Thanks Mark!

  21. Wow, #2 and #8 describe me perfectly right now. I’m presently training for a sub 3:00 marathon and strength-training to build muscle simultaneously. The running part is progressing fine, but I am definitely losing mass. I think I should rest a little bit more. I currently rest 1 out of every 14 days. Is that too little?

    Regarding #8, I ran a hard 21-miles on Sunday and I have felt like crap ever since. I have been Googling this for the last 2 days with little success other than the fact that it’s somewhat common and cause may be dehydration. Any ideas?

    Finally, this is really random, but I commend your proper use of grammar throughout this post, especially with subject-verb agreement. Yes I am a grammar geek, so just thought I’d give you props for that one! Haha

    1. A hard 21-miles on Sunday and -still- feeling like crap?!!?

      Sunday was only 2 days ago! ; )

      I’ll feel like I’ve been run over by a truck 2-3days after a hard 20-minute Crossfit WOD.

      I would think running that type of distance at a hard pace would require a week of recovery (rest / active rest).

      wow.

      1. Yes I think I am realizing that now, as I still am not myself! Thanks for the insight, Brian.

  22. Hey Mark, I may be an overtraining candidate but I just do not feel like it so needed your advice. I am 41, female weight 125-128 depending on the day. I do crossfit 4-5 times a week, eat primal, take vitamins, sleep very well, and have 3 kids, not too much stress…:0)
    In May 2009 I did fat testing and was at 21%. weight 124 fat free mass at 97.3
    November 2009 fat test again had increased to 22% weight 126 fat free mass at 97.99
    Feb 2010 fat at 24% weight at 128 fat free mass at 97.96
    My RMR has gone from 1189 to 1198 to 1203 which is below sedentary on the charts????
    Workouts have increased weight and recovery is speedy. Feel awesome so why the jump in body fat? weight I understand is muscle. Still same size in clothing but noticed a few small issues with some areas. Should I be doing less? I absolutely love going to my crossfit gym!!!! Have your book too by the way….feel the best i have ever in my life.

    1. MaryLou I have had the same exact experience, went from 16% body fat in November 2011 to 20% in May 2012. I am 36, Now between 128 – 131 (in the fall it was more like 123 – 125) for weight and have three kids, do primal get enough sleep etc. The only thing that has changed for me in that time frame is I switched from a 3 times a week CrossFit schedule which I had been on for 6 months to 4 – 5 times a week. I am getting stronger and faster, but less lean. I recently cut back to three times a week at the gym and am trying to work in low level aerobic exercise (I used to run at a slow pace for 3 – 5 hours a week, now the gym has replaced that). I’ll let you know how it goes, but I really believe that if you don’t move frequently at a slower pace the leanness goes away.

  23. This is a very timely reminder to all the endurance athletes currently putting together their “race calendar” for 2010. I know several people who’ve already committed to marathons and triathlons in late summer or early fall – along with a few 1/2 marathons and century rides thrown in just to “stay in shape” prior to their big event.

    Having been down that route a number of times myself, I can tell you it’s not only exhausting, but it’s also quite miserable come July.

  24. Brian C touched on this, but for people fairly new to Primal (like me); one thing can look like (and feel like) overtraining that actually isn’t the traditional too much work problem. It’s too little calories!

    Switching to the Primal diet, I found that while I -thought- I was eating enough, I really wasn’t. I was down at the 1200 calories a day within my first week of switching. That wasn’t enough to fuel my runs. I didn’t work this out until I spent some quality time with Fitday. Now that I know that I was calorie deficient, adding more calories into the mix, I feel better overall, and my moderate (3x/week) running plan is pretty much back on track.

  25. I was just telling my husband the other day that i wish there was a blood test you could do at home that would tell you all those nifty hormonal/insulin/etc values so that you would know EXACTLY what your body needs. I don’t trust myself when it comes to “listening” to my body (cuz i KNOW it’s lying to me!!). This not-listening has led to over-training and under-eating and under-training and over-eating. Very confusing, but your will help!

  26. Wow. You have no idea how much I have pushed myself over the years following- TRUSTINGLY!!!!!!- the conventional wisdom workout way of thinking. I have walked away from my workouts, exhausted, dizzy, sore, and just altogether messed up. I have followed the primal blueprint diet/exercise for about seven weeks. The change is my diet has had a remarkable effect, but I still have to work on my attitude about working out- almost like a weird lingering kind of anxious pushing “or else.” Anyway, great post. I’m glad I’ve lived long enough for conventional wisdom about diet and exercise to be turned on its head.

  27. I was overtraining a couple of weeks ago and the way I could tell is that I gained 6 pounds in one week. I was doing spinning, running and weight lifting, so I toned it down and I started losing weight again.
    I don’t know how people on the Biggest Loser lose any weight after the first couple of weeks.

  28. In past overtraining was a common thing for me. It took some time till I understood that less is better.

    Now I listen more to my body. I don’t have a strict schedule for my workouts. If I feel great – I will work out, if not – I’ll wait till the next day.

  29. I am one of those people who do a P90X/Insanity hybrid program. But I Do P90X for 1/2 of the video (2 times a week) and usually about 25 minutes of an insanity workout (1-2) times per week. Although i do play tennis for 2 hours, four times a week. I don’t feel any signs of overtraining. Oh. I also play hockey 1 to 2 times a week as well!

  30. Hi Mark, what are your thoughts on the crossfit regime of 3 days on, 1 day off? It is all pretty high-intensity stuff. I usually do 4 crossfit workouts a week, plus a day of sprints. And then there is tennis and Yoga thrown into the mix as well.

    I have noticed that the soundness of my sleep is quite varied. Some weeks I have uninterrupted and dreamless sleep for 8 hours every night. Some weeks I just can’t sleep well at all. I would be tossing and turning night after night.
    This article indicates that these are symptoms of overtraining and that I should scale back a bit. I will experiment with that, though it will be hard 🙂

    And then there is the chronic DOMS, where depending on the workouts that comprise a given CF cycle, at least one part of me will be sore at any given point in time for weeks on end. Is this also a sign of overtraining?

    Great article as always,
    Thanks,
    Apurva

  31. Just as an aside…I have always practiced resting every 13th week. It seems to be well documented that you should “de-load” on a regular basis and this means to shut down everything except passive exercise such as walking, light cycling, light stretching, Tai Chi…Do something, but make sure it is very passive.

  32. Thank you for the article, Mark! I have already been aware of all the signs prior to you posting them but I am convinced that there cannot be enough articles about the dangers of overtraining.

    The two primary dangers of overtraining are the massive throwback in a competitive athlete’s schedule due to the strategic deconditioning you have to go through in order to compete properly again and even more the increased probability of injury with every step into overtraining. This is tightly correlated with the urge to do _even more_ once progress grinds to a halt – a downward spiral kicked off easily when you are in need of better performance.

    Your article is all about the indicators of overtraining. One indicator I particularly missed was the overwhelming want to skip training. Once you enter a state where you are constantly driven to find ways around workouts just because there is some indefinable reason you don’t want to do them you probably have been doing too much – it is a bodily signal to stop for a few days and kick things off once you are hungry for a really intense workout again. Of course, this applies to athletes who normally enjoy working out only.

    To me, this has been the best indicator next to abnormal pain and prolonged regeneration time.

    However (and this is a HUGE however) – there are lots and lots of people out there who are pathologically overcautious about the symptoms of overtraining. They much rather tend to _under_train than to ever overtrain, because they stop far too soon on the intensity escalade. I feel that people have to be willing to push themselves beyond their limits at least once to really get a feeling of what overreaching and finally overtraining feels like. Without this state ever experienced they will be unable to gauge their state of bodily exhaustion correctly.

    It is therefore once again essential that one knows oneself – where one’s limits and boundaries lie and how far they can be stretched effectively.

    I am a strong proponent of introspection – even in this mundane discipline of physical training.

  33. Great post.

    Fortunately I don’t run into any of those problems anymore 🙂

    I used to… but I am a little smarter these days I guess you could say, yay!

  34. Yep, I was experiencing #1, 2, 6, and 8 and I thought I just had to try harder and do more. Turns out I had muscular dystrophy, at age 47, so I was breaking down muscle tissue but was unable to rebuild.

  35. If you start listening to country music,you might be overtraining:-)

    1. Why is there no CSI Nashville? The murder investigation of a red neck leads to all the DNA samples being the same and no dental records!

  36. Hey Mark, Great Post! I was also wondering about crossfit WODs and how many times a week to do them. 🙂

  37. I tried P90X for a bit there, but for some reason the way the program is set up doesn’t work for me. One hour every day was too much. However, I found that when I switched to lifting heavy, sprinting, and then following up with some low-intensity cardio, I worked out for just as long but felt better. Of course, I only work out four days a week instead of six.

    I’m definitely not showing signs of overtraining — I feel awesome when I’m done with my workout. But at least now I know what to look for!

    1. For an average person with a full-time job and other life stressors, 3-4 days of quality workouts is more than enough. Also, you might have more fast twitch fibres. Which means you respond to heavier weights, lower reps and plenty of sets. Simple test: take an exercise like squat. Let’s say you can do a maximum of 1 rep with 100lbs. See how many reps you can do with 85lbs. If you fall in the 3-8 reps range, you are more fast twitch dominant. If you can do 10+ reps, you’re more slow twitch.

  38. I found that once I got back into a fitness routine, even harder that finding time to exercise was learning when to not exercise. Interspersing rest/move slowly/play days between heavy lifting, sprinting or other hard workouts is a good start. The thing is that sometimes only one day of moving slowly in between classic “hard” workouts is not enough to allow for adequate recovery. The other thing to consider is that while some activities could in general be considered appropriate for an “easy” day, such as yoga, not all yoga practices qualify as “easy” (maybe none do!) but in my personal experience (tomorrow at noon) an intense Ashtanga workout would be equivalent to a tough body weight workout (since that’s basically what it is, really, with more stretching while performing the many strengthening exercises). Similarly, some “play” activities would rate on the harder end of the scale and would also warrant an extra day of rest before resuming more intense activities.

  39. Hi Mark,

    I suffered with overtraining over a year ago and am still feeling the consequences.

    I was training for my second half marathon, en route to my first marathon, and pushed way too hard. I now suffer with bad knee pain whenever I walk any medium-long distance. Despite many tests doctors cannot find the cause though have suggested a possible tear to the meniscus cartilage.

    I recently purchased a copy of your book and am excited about making the transition to primal living. I’m concerned though that I may not be able to commit fully due to my injuries. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Francesca

  40. Hi Mark, like the post a few above, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Crossfit in this context. I have a background like yours (IM, Marathon etc). I have more recently fallen in love with Crossfit and PB. However the potential for overtraining with Crossfit has crossed my mind. Basically if I sleep in, I take it as a sign that I need a rest and try not to stress about the missed workout, so in fact I end up with four to five WODs a week. I have read your thoughts elsewhere – where you acknowledge you wouldn’t be doing it six days a week, and I understand you are generally a fan of crossfit – but what are your thoughts for a reasonably fit and healthy forty year old? Is five sessions still too much a week, given your point 3 above? I use a scaled version of crossfit workouts, not the full load. Love your work, and would love to hear your thoughts on this

  41. Ick…

    Here I am wondering why my heartbeat feels funny, my legs are stiff (dreading staircases certainly hit home), and yesterday was a rest day! So was it the excess coffee or the workout that’s doing this to me? Anyways, I’ve been doing the fitness routine for only a few weeks now, and just finished week one of being mostly-primal (no refined sugars, no grains). Of course, this could just be the response to regular physical activity after about 2 months straight of video games and sugar binges.

    I work 2 overnights a week–that’s not very primal. But ARGH. I had a very restless sleep during the day yesterday.

    Perhaps tomorrow should be a rest-day too?

  42. Brilliant, thanks Mark, I’m really glad I asked.

    Appears there are lots of folk out there feeling like I do!

    Biggest take home message for me – LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! If I’d done that two months ago whilst pushing through yet more programmed chronic cardio workouts whilst under considerable stress outwith my sporting life I wouldn’t have had to take most of February off!

  43. This is a brilliant post.

    Here’s something to think about: professional athletes train to a peak for a season, or even for one event in a year. They have an off-season. They do not maintain their peak year round. Off-season, they cross-train, maintain their base, rest, recover.

    The reason it is so important to know when you have hit a peak in training is that just on the other side of that apex of peformance is overtraining, and eventually injury and illness.

    We regular people who have somehow managed to train to a peak often don’t understand that a fitness peak CANNOT BE MAINTAINED INDEFINITELY WITHOUT SOME PERIODICITY. Fitness gains are not infinitely linear with an ascending X-value. There is a point where Y descends, and that’s at the point just past peak, and into overtraining.

    In light of Grok’s paradigm, I often think back to my Crossfit days and wonder just how functional all that puking and collapsing on the floor was several times a week. Great position for a predator to jump upon you, no?

    Most hard-core fitness folks I know do not recover enough. Yeah, maybe you can keep going when you are twenty and thirty—at least you feel as if you can keep going forever—but you can’t. If you dance on the edge of overtraining for too long, it will come back to bite you on your rock-hard gluteuses. (Gluteii?)

    Once you reach a fitness peak, it’s time to do something different. Go on a long, leisurely hike. Spend a week at the beach, taking short little swims, and build some giant sand castles. Go tour a museum. Read a book—about something other than fitness—or take a class in digital photography. Learn to forage, or go on a mushroom hunt. Do something other train hard for a little while. When you get back to training, you will lift heavier, run faster, and feel better.

    Sooze

    1. Go tell my former coach that! LOL! I kept feeding back ‘that was hard’ ‘I’m getting tired’ ‘my legs are sore’ etc, etc. The programme just kept on coming and I felt the failure for not completing it, doh … more fool me for not seeing the light earlier.

      And when I did quit, the response was ‘you seem to have changed your goals in the last few months’. Hell, yes, I suddenly realised I wanted a life!

      Grok on folks 🙂

  44. It seems to me we have more endurance athletes here than I would have expected. Burnout and overtraining would be more common for us.Don’t forget, as you get older, you need more recovery time!
    There is a new book by Friel/Cordain out, how to combine a primal diet with endurance sports.I would be interested to see a review of it here.

  45. Mark,
    Great post. After 2 weeks of chronic cardio, I ended up with severe BP numbers late in the evening, soreness, increase in appetite and sleeplessness. I had no idea why this was the case. After digging into this subject you’ve mentioned here before, I backed off on my regimen of 6 days a week. Feeling more rested now and improving on my workouts. This article speaks directly to me.

    Cheers,
    dan

  46. It’s hard for me to fathem less is more. After reading tim ferriss four hour work week on how h became super human in one month is hard to believe. I did the body for life challenge working out 6 days a week and eating 6 meals a day. Very hard. But I did great. Cut body fat in half. Lost 24 pounds of fat and gained 7 of muscle. Not I needto drop a little more body fat but gain 10 or more pounds of muscle. Trying to decide on a new workout. 4 weeks beats 12 weeks

  47. I do have that ‘fear’… What if I lose it all? Do I need to work extra hard to keep it off? Should I do exactly what I’m doing now? Should I do less?
    What if I ‘calm it’ down and start gaining it all back, even if I am eating primal…?
    These are just some of the questions that plague my mind, and I haven’t even lost a pound 😛
    So I can imagine why some would overwork themselves into oblivion (is that analogy even possible? :D).

    Sometimes PB seems way to easy for our naturally overcomplicating minds to comprehend; we need it to be hard work 😛

  48. Incresed heart rate, blood pressure, joint and muscle aches, headaches, hand tremors, insomnia, and loss of appetite can also be signs of overtraining.

  49. I know am overtraining when I dread my afternoon workout *in the morning*!!!!! Also sleeplessness and moodiness (er, my boyfriend will stifle a laugh at that one) are usually signs as well.

    I’m currently finishing an entire week off from crossfit. I normally take off a cycle + bookended rest days (5 total) every 2 months. I know I was overtraining because only now am I beginning to miss it.

    Any thoughts on how long recovery from overtraining? Guess it depends on how long one was overtraining, huh?

    1. I ground to a halt during a turbo session (did one hour of three and simply got off the bike) the day after binning half a swim set following a tough 80 min run (I’m a triathlete).

      That was the end of a very hard 12 week programme of 10-15 hours a week, much in the chronic cardio range. I was coached. It’s only since finding Primal Blueprint I’ve realised just how mad what I was doing really was. Stepping back has really given me perspective again!

      That was the beginning of February, in the last few days I’ve felt like I wanted to train again. During the more than 3 weeks ‘off’ I’ve done little more than walk, 30 min easy sessions (run/swim) and some weights, as and when I felt like it.

      I noticed that when I did do a turbo session with a group last Saturday (50 mins) my heart rate was still more elevated than was normal. However, today I did a test set after lots more rest, working very hard for 30 mins to see where I’m at and I’ve recovered.

      From now on it’s slowly, cautiously back into a structure but nothing like what dug me into the hole in the first place!

      I actually feel enthused today, first time in months and months, and other than a sore calf from trying my Vibram 5 toes too enthusiastically on the treadmill (!), I feel great, the best in ages, and I’m sleeping again 🙂

  50. I experienced overtraining during April and May of ’09. One thing that
    needs to be emphasized is that you may also be overLIVING. In my case, I
    was in the middle of my first round of P90X, took a ski trip to Utah in
    March where I probably did way too many hike-to’s (I’ve since learned from
    “The Paleo Diet for Athletes” that acute exposure to training at altitude
    can be a contributing factor to overtraining), came back home and immediately resumed P90X. It may have been possible to handle this training volume alone, however, I was also in the middle of the most stressful project of my professional career by a large margin. Also, working for an auto supplier, in ’09 meant the constant threat of layoffs. I wasn’t primal at the time and generally wasn’t eating enough or properly. One important thing I didn’t understand at the time is that both the physical stress of training and the mental stress of work BOTH can contribute to overtraining.

    From my experience, overtraining is definitely something you want to avoid.
    I had all the warning signs, but ignored them because at the time I
    had never heard of overtraining. I ended up feeling like I had the flu for
    about two months. I went to the doctor during this and he was unable to find any active infection but did find that my gamma globulins (immunity markers) were quite low and ordered an ultrasound to check the state of my organs. The ultrasound showed an enlarged spleen. He then referred me to a hematologist who, after running more blood tests that showed low gamma
    globulins and white blood cell counts, ordered a CT scan to check for
    lymphoma. Thankfully the CT scan came back negative (waiting for the
    results was extremely stressful, however). That resulted in me having to go back every two months to check my immunity levels. I had taken two
    months off from working out and when the nightmare of a project I was
    involved with at work ended at the beginning of July ’09, I resumed
    P90X / Running / Mountain Biking throughout the rest of the summer and unsurprisingly, my numbers continued to stay low. I started reading more about training and came across the concept of overtraining and realized that this is what I had done to myself.

    Around October, my wife was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue. Her doctor gave her some fairly strict dietary guidelines that she was initially very confused about. I recognized the concepts he proposed as being basically Paleo/Primal based on some articles I had read in the past. In an effort to help her, I started reading The Paleo Diet for Athletes, The Primal Blueprint, and Nutrition and Physical Degeneration and realized that this is not only the way she should be eating to repair her adrenal fatigue, but it is how we should all be eating.

    We both immediately employed a hybrid of the Paleo/Primal plan and Weston A Price principles. For the past four months I have limited my workouts to the 70% Max HR range, have been eating Primally, and have been taking high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil. After my last blood test at the beginning of February the hematologist said that my white cell count is normal. I am now starting to get back into some more challenging workouts based on what I learned from P90X, but will not do the program exactly as prescribed – I do think it is probably excessive. Instead, I am going to make my training more Primal.

    1. Yes, I should have mentioned the stress in other areas of life … when I found myself fatiqued, demotivated and awake for night after night I spent a lot of time on the internet researching overtraining, and indeed emailed Mark to ask him to cover the topic (which he’s done brilliantly here).

      I found one article which described how stress in your life outside your sport can contribute to overtraining, and that’s the aspect that isn’t taken into account by people and by coaches.

      It actually makes sense when you think about it because it’s still the same fight or flight chemicals that are being released. When I set my training programme against the background of the stress I’ve been under, chronically for 4-5 years but more acutely in the last 7 months when my daughter disappeared from home without warning, it is clear to see why I had a problem. What may have appeared at face value to be a programme unlikely to cause overtraining (although with my new knowledge now I can see it was too much for good health) when combined with stressors outside of the training it was enough to cause a significant problem.

      What’s frustrating is my coach knew all about my stress levels but saw keeping me ‘at it’ as a way for me to maintain mental stability, unfortunately a more holistic approach (particularly for age groupers) just doesn’t seem to exist with some coaches.

      Apart from listening to your physical body, the early signs are definitely motivational I think, as soon as you are not looking forward to a session, or desperate for that ‘rest’ week to appear or glad to have ‘legitimate’ reasons not to train, you are already a long way down the road to oblivion!

  51. I always fall victim to overtraining. 3 weeks ago i changed my running from fat burning to high intensity interval training. i do this 3x per week, and i lift weights heavy 2 times a week. I am sick as a dog. My immune system is wrecked. I have to take 1-2 weeks off to recover. It’s hard for me to cut back on exercise since i’m one of those routine type of guys.

  52. Thank you very much for the tips. Resting is super important when dealing with the goals that you want to hit. I defintley learned this the hard way. Less is more.

  53. A year ago today I spent two months in Nepal doing a high altitude study (lost about a 1/2lb. a day but that’s another topic). Anyway, felt great, climbed steep and deep, slept on plywood, ate the processed junk food that they had available and was never sore! We called it the “sherpa shuffle” These people move and smile all day with giant loads of weight and hang out below their anaerobic threshold. So we did the same.
    This past February ’10 I did 3 intense days up Mt. Katahdin, ME; with a pretty heavy pack. Pushed to keep up with the boys, woke up more and more sore everyday plus the stress of being lost in a whiteout atop the peak. It took me over two weeks to flush the pain out of my body.
    Comparison, Nepal makes me happy and we moved slowly frequently, Maine is nice (Mark’s home state;P) But the workload was too intense to illicit the same enjoyment I had over such a longer period of time in the himalaya’s. We tried to shove way too much into 3 days of hard work and my body payed for it in the weeks to follow.
    I also was not primal during either of these experiences. But this is a good example of pure physiological stress and where the “mind is at” and the effects on the body. . .Intense!
    Great post, thanks Mark, and I can relate to you all. I just went primal and have been catchin up with the archives, got to be careful it doesn’t compromise my move slowly and frequently gig. LOL.

  54. You must definitely listen to your body. Craving extra sleep, not able to complete a workout, dreading training, and I really like to workout, are signs of over training. Take off enough time until your mind and body get the “gotta train itch”.

  55. I can remain in a constant state of soreness for many days, sometimes as much as a week or two. Also associated are cramping of the lower limbs, feet, calfs, quads.

    I drink lots of water, and make it a point in consume large amounts of antioxidant rich foods. But still.

    I’m currently trying to step up my protein intake via muscle milk shakes. Approx. 6 servings or 160g on top of my normal lean meat consumption.

  56. 49 yr.old male – Have been training intensely since 14-15 yrs old. I generally perform heavy weight workouts(squats, power cleans, bench press),weighted pull-ups and dips, plyometrics, jogging, biking,and both uphill runs using a weight vest and standard 100 yrd sprints. I try to incorporate all of these within a 2 week training period. I generally work out every week, and take only a day or two off per week.
    Based on my current condition of being highly iritable, depressed, stomach problems, headaches and feeling like crap almost constantly – I know this is severe overtraining. No more great feelings after workouts, no more skin splitting pumps. You got in right on all counts, more people need to be aware of this condition. Unless someone is using performance enhancers, you cannot continue to gain and grow at this age, Just need to accept it and maintian a good balance between health and fitness.

    Great article

  57. 47 yo male here. Have been pushing myself with heavy weights and extreme cardio 3 times/week for the last two years. I eat healthy and get good sleep. However, I’ve had the symptoms of OT the past year, which steadily got worse as time went on. The heavy workouts, coupled with some emotional issues (family death and such), plus some intense projects at home finally took it’s tool. I was getting muscle tense and nervousness a day or two after workouts and my digestive system went to pits (bloating, loose stools, some nausea). i thought it was anxiety, but that just didn’t fit the picture. Staying off the workouts for a few days made everything go away except the digestive problems. I hear that takes much longer to fix.

  58. I have been doing CF for 3 years. It is easy to overtrain because it is such a fun activity. After reading primal blueprint I backed off on my training and have been trying to manage stress better. Low and behold; after 4 days of fishing (still eating paleo of course exept for the beer and some Jack)I thought for sure I would gain pounds. Actually lost 1 pound. Great info. Thanks

  59. I have been limping through all of my workouts lately and it feels to my very similar to how I feel when I am anemic. I know I am not anemic now though. The main thing is the dramatic increase in running mileage for the past 3 months. I thought I could become some super “ultra” trail runner only to find that looking back, the majority of my workouts I was “over reaching” to get in the designated mileage. I am now paying the price. It takes all the energy I can muster to don my run shoes and head out the door. I know I need to stop and relax. Old habits are hard to break though. Ironically, when I had far less time I was kinda a CF junkie. And you know, back then, with so much less overall weekly training, I was absolutely ripped. Now, I am prob a pound or two more but still pretty leaned out. I think my body responds to shorter training sessions vs. these super long runs. I guess I am just not made for that kind of pummeling. But it has been nice to hit some awesome trails and get OUT of the gym. CF is great- but being outside is so much overall better for mental sanity (hence the ultra trail running focus). I guess its all just about balance- we all are made different and respond different and we need to make adjustments for our own individual responses to all external stimuli.

  60. the funny thing is that my prs in the mile are 4:50 2mile:10:51 and the 800:2:12 and the 3 mile:17:36 i feel like im overtrained my legs have been tightening up and my leaness is going away and after what i usually run im sooo tired and i dont feel like i run enough! soo after a season is over i suggest that everyone should be taking long period breaks like 2 weeks with no running and after the break start easily and gradually get back up to where you were.

  61. Hey greg i think after 6 months of serious strength training and stuff like that maybe you should take some time off like i do maybe for 2 weeks since weights are bad for the joints

  62. Hi Mark. I’m a 50 year old male. I have been working on my total gym for several months and also begin working out every day on the ABS program which has you lift weights. Your Over Training article caught my attention because I recently developed shoulder R and L pain, and numbness in both hands especially my fingers. I was wondering if over training has caused my symptoms?

  63. Hi Mark. I’m a 50 year old male. I have been working on my total gym for several months and also begin working out every day on the ABS program which has you lift weights. Your Over Training article caught my attention because I recently developed shoulder R and L pain, and numbness in both hands especially my fingers. I was wondering if over training has caused my symptoms? I would greatly appreciate any suggestions and recommendations.

  64. Luckily I try not to do more than 3-4 times a week specially because I’m starting off and CrossFit is pretty kick ass but I really like this post. I am actually trying to work out at least half of the time while I’m on vacation and I know that time is of great value. If I feel rushed I usually don’t do it. But I think that one indication to me is limping, unfortunately I know I have a lot of issues with my lower extremities and limping means I need to focus on a stretch rather than a workout.

  65. I’m just in one of these periods, just two days ago I tested myself against the chrono with my bike. 18 km in 29 minutes sharp with a great average speed around 37km/h I was feeling very good.

    Here comes the second day feeling like an old truck, I will rest for a couple days more and hope to be back on track soon. The “I’m useless” feeling could not be more spot on.

  66. i train heavy everyday with both heavy cardio and weight training and I only feel poorly when I do not eat enough. If you are trying lose a noticeable portion of your gut after each workout of course you are not going to feel good if you are running on that much of a caloric deficit. I have not had a single day off in several months…I do not work the same muscles each day however but I do cardio each day…You condition yourself to be able to handle whatever workouts you do consistently. Cortisol levels do not get high in conditioned athletes as they do with novice trainers. My point is just that its all too easy to say that you are working too hard and you deserve extra off time when chances are you are not working hard enough and you are just making excuses. You can push yourself as hard as you think that you can…what about mind over matter or has everyone succumbed to being weak and are just grabbing at any excuses they can to do less and feel good about it.

  67. As a stubborn hardcore trainer I have recentely paid a price for my ignorant train till ya drop attitude. After not training for a couple of months I thought I would get back into the gym and pick up where I left off, meaning 7 day training 1-2hrs per day each body part twice per week and from eating whatever I liked to a full protein diet. My immune system was obviously affected as I developed shingles(dormant chicken pox) brought on by high stress levels and low immunity. Lesson lear’nt!!

  68. I know for a fact that I been being over trained for the past months..I play highschool football and I know my knowledge about working out and recovery, and what my coach is doing is horribly wrong.. he’s got us lifting running and hitting everyday mon-fri. the only rest days I have are the weekends. and on those days I feel horrible. before I started football I had much more cuts and muscle, looking at me now, football decreased my performance. I’m just happy there’s only two weeks left of it. I love the sport, but I just wish we had a smarter coach :/

  69. Wow, this is me this past summer and fall (BP – Before Primal). I was eating rice and beans for lunch every day, pushing grains; running a fast 5.5 miles while my little girl rode along on her bike, even though my left hip muscles were hurting;sleeping 6 hours a night… I came down with a monstrous respiratory infection that required 18 days of antibiotics, ending with Cipro. Right at that time, I’d started learning about the Carb-Craze lie I’d bought fully into via Wheat Belly, and then a link to your site about “Chronic Cardio”. I’m on lesson 6… and after 32 years as a runner, my little mind is being blown by how I’ve had it all wrong… I feel incredibly better and LOOK more fit with just 45 days of no grains and slowing the heck down.

  70. Trying to figure out currently if I am overtrained or my issues are due to the weird auto-immune issues i’ve developed

  71. I have been feeling extremely rundown and tired and not wanting to do anything – kinda hard when I have an 8 month old to take care of.
    I started Primal a few weeks ago, I do cardio on my exercise bike 5-6days a week 45-90mins a day depending on how I feel.I strength train 3x/wk and I have been feeling so sleepy lately – not wanting to get out of bed or wanting to clean and not looking forward to working out like I used to.Now I have to force myself to do it because I want to lose 80 pounds (more like 70 probably because I think I’ve gained muscle).
    The sad part is, I’m so tired&feel weak sometimes but this whole time I feel like I haven’t been doing enough, ya know? Like I could always do more or else I’ll seem lazy or useless

    Can anyone tell me what is wrong with me?? Am I training to hard or not enough or what? I’m so frustrated about it. I just want to lose weight and feel better but most of all I want and NEED more energy.

    Before you ask, I have like 6-10 servings of veggies a day (usually green beans because I’m really into them right now) and a hamburger or porkchop 3x/day plus a tbs of mayo 2x/day
    I snack on a handful of almonds (and I have little hands – I’m only 4’9″)

    I don’t eat very much because I’m usually not that hungry except lately I feel ravenous but I don’t know if it’s because of my exercise or if I’m PMSing

    I’m so sorry it’s such a long post but I have no idea who to ask anymore.Doctors never did anything to help, my holistic nutrition had me try adrenal supplements but they’re not doing anything anymore.

    So my basic schedule
    Every day – 3 beef patties or pork chops,6-10 servings of green beans,2 servings of almonds,
    Strength training days – above plus 1 serving egg protein powder+1 banana+1 serving almond milk just to get more protein in after strength training

    Mon,Wed,Fri – Strength Train can vary from gym weights (leg press,shoulder press,chest press, fly, pulldowns) to workouts I find on youtube or simple things like lunges,squats,pushups,crunches

    Mon-Sat at least 45 mins cardio

    Sun – rest day which doesn’t seem to come quick enough lately

    Every day I also clean and take care of&play with my 8 month old son who is a workout all by himself lol

    My husband thinks I work too much but I think I work too little since he’s the one who goes&earns money&stay at home

    Anyway, if anyone could help me, you would be everything I’ve ever asked for.

    -Rachel

  72. I also feel exhausted some days, like I’m getting sick, never feel rested and I feel like I need to eat less because we can’t afford much as far as meat goes which is a real bummer but I just need to deal with it

  73. I also feel exhausted some days, like I’m getting sick, never feel rested and I feel like I need to eat less because we can’t afford much as far as meat goes which is a real bummer but I just need to deal with it

    Oh and the beef patties I eat are like 1/2C of meat when it’s raw

  74. This is a very interesting read! About a year ago I was in very good shape, doing Krav-Maga (like kickboxing), crossfit, weights, and riding my bicycle with ease, etc. I did something different each day and never really felt “overtrained” or had issues like that. Then, (for lots of reasons), I stopped working out and lost all muscle definition (and strength) that I had worked for 2-3 years to gain!

    So I’ve started working out again, using primarily body weight with some resistance training 3-4x a week trying to build my strength back. I’ve also started some light running 2-3x a week and a good walk or work on the heavy bags on days I don’t run. Since I started working out, I have GAINED 6 lbs… of FAT! My pants hardly fit anymore! (and I already eat the primal way so that’s not my issue) I wonder if throwing myself into a workout routine has sent my body into stress-mode after being completely sedentary for so long? I didn’t need to lose any weight, just wanted to tone up. Now I need to lose weight AND tone up! 🙁 Maybe I will take a few days off and see what happens… ?

  75. Is sooo essencial this topic. I had cronicaly pain in my legs, becouse of overtraining. Last weeks I fill much more better, couse I give place also to a good rest. Thank you Mark !

  76. I’ve been training more than ever this last year and have made great gains. However, these last 3 months I’ve gotten sick twice – 3 times this year now after not being sick for over a decade. I have’t been sleeping well either and rarely get 7 hours. My last 3 workouts have been difficult, but I did just recover from a 2 week bad cold.

    I have a feeling I’m overtraining, I just don’t want to admit it to myself for some reason. It’s biceps/triceps/rowing day. I want to workout now, but I’m so tired. I think this also means I’m crazy. Huh, well I’ve learned something about myself here.

  77. Dad’s fat and it bothers me to hear him weeze and get tired fast with simple things like jogging or briefly lifting something heavy. I try to encourage him to eat better and work out. At least he is trying that herbalife stuff and he’s lost 15lbs+ so im happy in the food side of things but he still nags at the thought of even working out.

    So here’s the thing, his excuse is that he’s heard stories of people die because of over working which he did exagerate..
    and now the question? are exercises like the “INSANITY WORKOUTS” safe? I want to try it out because i don’t need equipment, just my body so this seems to justify the intensity. But more importantly what can my dad do for someone in his 40’s and still a bit overweight, cuz he wants greater endurance but seems petrified at the idea of things like running.

  78. Great article! Totally agree with every word and every point…except that little bit at the top about only needing one or two meals a day. Otherwise great article! THANK YOU!

    Doug

  79. I’m 38 years old now (How the #%@^ did that happen!!) and I’m amazed at how LITTLE it takes to overtrain now. I don’t FEEL or look old at all. I pass for 25 at the bar. But strength is there, but my recuperative abilitites just aren’t what they used to be.

    When I was 20 I would bench press every M-W-F and could make progress for months. I’ve got it down to M & F now and this past Friday hit the wall like you wouldn’t believe. Weaker in all my lifts, joint pain on every rep in my elbows and wrists. And I felt spent and out of it after the workout not amped up and satisfied. Sure enough I came down with an ear infection as well (sign of a taxed immune system). I would think training a lousy TWICE a week! wouldn’t be too much, but apparently it is.

    My plan is to take a full week off, then split my workout in half and instead of doing the whole thing twice a week, do half monday and half friday. Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-diculous! :-/

  80. I lift hard n’ heavy 4 days per week + 1-3 sessions of cardio on top of that. I know i’m overtrained when i don’t want to get up from the bed, my BP is lower than normal, i get vertigo and random aches and pains. That’s when i have to keep myself away from the gym and try to do something else…

  81. I think this is me Im training for an iron man as well as crossfit .. im trianing 6 days a week sometimes 2 x a day morning and night .. doing a combo of strength metcon and run/swim cycle, as well as being a military trainer .. Im not sleeping suddenly 40kg feels like 90kg frustration has set in im agitated and as coach put it not got my spark.. my usual cardio is dropping and my hr is elevated.. REST time I think x

  82. I work in retail and basically took November and december off. Now when I train, which has basically become one day a week i feel absolutely wasted all day after an hour of trx training. Am I possibly suffering from over training? Or am I a lazy slob who needs to put more time in?

  83. THANKS for all the “comparison comments”.

    I’m a 60 year old, white male. 5′ 8.5″. 158 lbm.

    I have a place to inline skate during the winter, and have been doing that about 6 hours per week.

    We’ve had enough snow and I’ve been doing 3 to 5 hours of Xcountry skiing.

    I tell myself I don’t push that hard, but by looking at the other people’s levels, and when they start complaining, I’ve realized I’m having a bit of “over training” syndrome at this point.

    It helps me to justify taking one and two days OFF during the week.

    THANKS TO EVERYONE for your “history”. There are no darned textbooks or references we can get on these matters. Your time and comments are invaluable.

  84. Lol @ all you overtraining hippies, nothing more than lazy people finding excuses for laziness. I train 7days a week, when I actually took days off in the past; it did nothing but hinder my progression.

  85. What is the best way to compensate for all of this? Some exercising I do doesn’t have an easily counted set of calories, so I can’t necessarily match them to my calorie intake. Is the best way to eat as much as I want whenever I want, but simply make sure it is healthy? What about different exercising routines (cardio v. power)? I rock climb, and the constant report I hear about myself and others is about maintaining power while minimizing weight, so how do we lose weight while maintaining fitness/strength?

  86. This is an old article but I’m glad I found it. I had heard about overtraining, but I think I finally hit it for the first time in my life. Other times I stopped working out were due to laziness and other issues – this is different.

    I’m 31 years old, 5’6″. I was fat and lazy for most of my 20’s (I was in pretty good muscular shape in college), but got very active 3 years ago and haven’t looked back since. I started eating better, started road cycling, progressed from Power 90 (yes, that’s Power 90, the predeccesor to P90x), to P90 Master Series, to 2 rounds of P90x, a round of Insanity, and an unstructured “hybrid” of the 2 programs after that.

    In that time I dropped from 195lbs to as low as 146lbs. (I’m now at 152lbs) and began following a Paleo nutrition lifestyle a year ago. 2 years ago I took up mountain biking, then stopped when I started Crossfit 1 year ago.

    Since then, I incorporated traditional strength training (heavy back squats, deadlifts, bench press, strict press) in addition to Crossfit.

    I never had issues with overtraining and could generally work out 3-5x week with little to no problems. However, I think the last 2-3 months have done me in. I began doing doubles (lifting heavy in the gym for an hour +, then a full Crossfit session at night). A week ago I rekindled my love for cycling and went on my first bike ride in 8 months… then proceeded to mountain bike 5 days of the week in addition to that while I was on vacation. I hadn’t mountain biked in a year.

    This past Monday, I went back to my normal double routine – heavy back squats, bench press, with a Crossfit WOD that night. My back squats were tremendously weaker. I follow a 5×2, followed by an AMRep set, scheme; I could only churn out 5 reps at a weight that I had hammered 14 reps about 3 weeks ago! No problem, I thought; my quads are probably worn out from mountain biking.

    That night I did heavy deadlifts at the Crossfit gym and a modified, shorter version of a “Hero” WOD (Crossfitters know that Hero WODs are usually absurdly long or difficult metabolic conditioning workouts). During the course of that WOD I did 150 air squats, which felt “ok” at the time.

    The aftermath: I have literally had to walk with a limp the last 3 days and absolutely *dreaded* going down a staircase. My legs would occassionally buckle during my normal gait. I’ve had a general feeling of body aches and tiredness that I could not shake despite resting the past 3 days. It’s kind of like that body tired feeling you get when you’re truly sick (like flu sick), except that I’m not ill!

    What really made me realize that I overtrained is when I returned to the gym and lifted today (Friday). All of my upper body lifts were *weaker*; in fact, the bench press weight I hit on Monday (which felt pretty good) and churned out a decent number of AMReps felt like a ton of bricks today that I could barely lift. I again had a tired feeling that I just couldn’t shake throughout my workout… I know this is a problem because I generally *love* working out.

    Sorry for the long post. Like others have said, I’m gonna have to learn to dial it back for a bit. A few posters have criticized “overtrainers” as lazy, excuse-filled people. Perhaps some are, but I can tell you that this phenomenon is real and I think you missed the point of this article; there’s a fine line between “pushing it”/working out until it hurts and overtraining. Sometimes, it’s ok to dial it back and it’s better for you in the long run.

  87. Help!! I am training for an olympic duathlon in June and a few sprint triathlons in the summer months. I have had a suspicion that I have been overtraining for a few months now. I simply cannot function after my more intense workouts. I have increased the volume over the past few months and am doing two disciplines a day. I have two rest days in the week though and thought that would be enough. I am definately not sleeping well and know this to be a major factor. I have had this feeling before and thought that I was fighting something and just couldn’t seem to get it out of my system.( last summer)

    My question is….. what now…. I don’t feel like 5 days off is going to cut it…. I am a definite goal oriented person and would hate to have to cancel all my events. I am a month away from my first one and feel like crap.

    Any suggestions….

    Monique

  88. Less of this:

    “Man, I’m not in the best shape, but — you know, I don’t want to risk OVERTRAINING.”

    And more of:

    Endurance athletes — with extremely heavy volume — knowing the symptoms in advance.

  89. Is it possible to avoid overtraining without sacrificing a workout? i mean when I’m off school days what i do is i ran about 1 hour and 30 minutes straight as a warm up then 2 hours HIIT at the gym. after that my tummy bloats. and yeah #2 im noticing that my mid section is getting bigger so as my weight but my arms are still muscular and small, :l

  90. I recently joined a gym with all kinds of classes. And I did yoga, and then 3 days after bodysculpt which gave me some sore glutes so I waited until the pain was away. So 5 days after we did bodypump put damn… I think I overtrained. I usually don’t do much exercise unless riding my bike. And during the bodypump class I felt weak in my muscles, they started to shake. And afterwards they felt very weak as if I could collapse through my legs. It was weird.
    So the day after and now even 2 days after I have muscle pain a lot in my legs. And I slept longer than usual and still feel very tired and look tired in my face.
    Bodypump is strenght exercise mostly, and I am not used to that at all.

    So now I am resting a lot for my body to recover…

  91. Fantastic, timely post Mark. I have been doing 6-7 crossfit workouts per week plus yoga and Pilates. Plus very active job as well. Found my soreness was not going away and I would still persist in doing another WOD and push through the soreness and fatigue. Now focussing on my Primal eating, makings sleep a super priority and cutting back workouts to see what changes happen to BF levels and Cortisol levels. This will be a challenge after 40 years of body bashing:)

  92. Thank you for this article. I am on day OMG realisation day, and about to start 5 full days of rest. I have lost 25 kilos (55 pounds) over the last 18 months (with about 10 kilos to go to hit my goal) and have recently (6 months or so) really lifted my game, interval running EVERY day and weight training as well daily, with 2x RPM cycling classes a week thrown in to boost my overtraining to max levels.
    I changed my diet about then too, to include more protein, a lot less fat, no sugar and have started suppliments of Magnesium, calcium, vitiman D and fish oil.
    Although feel good about pushing myself hard and far, (having always been fat and lazy and having my first heart attack at age 43), i have been experiencing ALL of the signs mentioned in your article above!!! But being the stubborn woman that I am I would not accept that I was overtraining. “How can losing weight and going to the gym be bad for me”?
    I have been super depressed at the thought of having to back off !!!!
    Thank you all for taking the guilt out of this and making me see that I am not alone in this struggle.
    I am now looking forward to going back next week, stronger and well rested!!!!
    Good luck to each of you in your own journeys!!!!!!!!!

  93. It is our point of reference in out conduct most often changes our viewpoint. Sometimes good and sometimes this alteration is bad but it is our paradigm that controls how we feel.

  94. I’m 40, now. I’ve always been very fit and train ‘hard’ (not necessarily smart) as a non-professional athlete. Over the past 4-5 years, I’ve noticed that I develop flu-like symptoms within 24 hours a intense workouts. It usually takes a week or two to get over the symptoms. It happens often. I’ve had blood work done, but all came back negative. I always thought it was just me. I’ve recently found quite a bit of literature on overtraining syndrome. I think this may be the culprit.

    Does anyone else fall victim to the flu-like symptoms? (swollen glands, fatigue, ‘heavy’ chest, etc.)

  95. Hey Mark, thank you for letting me know more about the topic. Long, slow workouts can lead to overtraining stress, and even food cravings; but exercise done right is brief, intense, playful, bendy, and includes plenty of rest. Best of all, it changes your biochemistry so you burn fat all day long.

  96. I have met a lot of people that think they are over training. A quick look at their diet revealed they where in fact, not getting enough nutrition or the right kinds of nutrients. I wouldn’t be so quick to say over training. No matter how hard or often I lift, I have never been able to over train. But then again, I eat a hell of a lot

  97. My best ever workout occurred after a long day moving furniture around, when I had to literally drag my legs up the stairs at night to my martial arts gym. Once I started punching and kicking things kicked in and stayed in the zone. When I finished I felt terrific, and stayed that way the next morning.

    I did recently over train, even working out at midnight on the walkway for the third time that day. My theory was that overdoing things might be good, since it would model an emergency situation where one doesn’t have the chance to take scheduled rest periods. And show how able I was to meet excessive demands. Result: performance suffered at times, a major drop off in technique and effect, and an increase in aches and pains from old injuries that resurfaced..

    Now I’am resting, and found the above article good advice.

  98. Glad I found this article! I’ve finally been beaten up to the point where I had to really dial back. I’ve been sliding down the overtraining slope for almost a year, but stupidly listened to my trainer instead of my body. I hit on all the symptoms listed; always tired, sore joints, weight gain, depression, you name it, I have it.

    I guess when you’re close to 60, working out 6-7 days a week (chronic cardio, running, strength training, and martial arts) is a little excessive, especially with added personal stress.

    Now I have parasympathetic overtraining and have backed off everything except martial arts (because I LOVE it!) Now just walking and gentle swimming. I’m starting to feel like a human being again. It will take me months to recover, according to my care team, because it took many months to get here. Oh and that trainer? He is now my FORMER trainer!

    My martial arts instructor is keeping close tabs on me and my health. He has been pushing me towards a more Primal diet and lifestyle. so this site is a great help towards that goal. Thanks for the great site!

  99. I know I’m a few years late to the party, but a great article. I am waiting on blood tests for blood count and thyroid function as my doc thinks I may be anaemic / have poor thyroid function but now I wonder if I’m overtraining. I do strength & conditioning 5 days per week and due to my hectic weekend schedule (I work full time and also I’m a part time PT student) that is sometimes 5 days in a row.
    I think I’ll have a look at cutting down to 4 days a week and see if that helps….

    thanks again!

  100. What a relevant post no matter how old it is!! I’m late to the conversation, but would love to add my recent story here as it may be helpful to anyone in a similar position.

    It is incredible how quickly your body can change when it comes to overtraining.

    I started a new job last month. Initially, I was pumped because it would allow me to commute safely by bike. Travel time would be about 45 minutes, with a 10 minute subway ride in between each leg of the commute acting as a break. I also committed to continue my three days of lifting each week (cutting it back from four).

    Up until the new job, I was eating a paleo diet for going on six months (with the occasional flexibility to have a drink with friends on the weekend). Physically, I felt I was in the best shape of my life. Reading posts here and doing my own research into health and fitness has really changed my life. I can credit my change to a paleo lifestyle with my massive gains — six months ago, I’d never dream of doing one pull up, let alone six consecutive. I looked and felt great.

    I chose not to change my diet substantially once I started riding, besides adding in a post-bike ride banana and feeding myself based off what my body was asking for. As the weeks went on, I felt I needed to add additional protein, which usually came as an extra egg in the AM or a can of sardines in the evening (compensating for the lost calories on the bike).

    Now for the aftermath: after just a month, I am vowing to commute by bus. My emotions, my motivation, my attitude, my sleep, my diet, and my body have all suffered significantly from the commute. In just one month, my body began packing on abdominal fat. I do not measure my body fat, but the effects of the bike riding are evident — at least a 5-10% gain in a little over a month. I am lethargic, and at least three days a week, I’m nodding off around 3PM at work despite 7-8 hours of sleep the night before. Additionally, my quality of sleep has decreased. Until last month, I slept like a rock. But recently, my body has occasionally awoken at 4AM (a signal I believe is related to stress and cortisol being off).

    In hindsight, I feel I have not been getting enough calories/nutrition to compensate for the demands of the bike ride. Because it’s a commute and not a leisurely ride, I am often moving fast with probably too much sprinting. After a month of riding five days a week, to and from work, it is obvious that my body believes I’m in great danger, and has resorted to packing on the pounds, dumping the muscle, and trying to force extra sleep, throwing off my normal hormonal rhythms.

    Next week I start my new commute by bus. I’ll bookmark this post and cycle back in about a month with a status update.

  101. Man, I have wrestled with OT or adrenal fatigue so many times in my life its not worth even counting. I think the reason that I never qualified this as OT is because I was not necessarily training too much but really sleeping too little or having other too many stressors in my life that made the normal training I was always doing now appear as “too much”. I also kept thinking for a LONG TIME that it was anemia since I dabble in vegan/vegetarian type diets.

    This latest round of OT was definitely due to a week of less sleep. Probably had about five hours less overall sleep by the weekend and so by Saturday instead of a long trail run of four hours, I drove to trailhead and then turned back home and napped for FOUR HOURS. Not kidding. (Who, if not sick, naps for FOUR HOURS?) So, now I am just taking it easy for a few days. See how I feel. If I feel like running I will, if not I will either skip the run or run shorter. Another thing is to hit the gym and get my testo and growth hormones back flowing. Too much long hours on the trail I think have put my nervous system out of whack.

    All I can say is that how many times must I wind up inadvertently keep doing this to myself?

    Prob should eat more after I run although 50% of the time I do eat a banana right afterwards.

  102. Well, I am almost in the too cautious category now because thus far I have not been able to NOT fall into the sticky mud of OT. Its happened repeatedly throughout the years and for me, it feels like falling off a cliff. (Bam, here I am again: OT’d, run down and totally miserable) But as Simon says, the desire to NOT train is a great signal. Because we should *want* to head out not come up with reasons to decrease volume, mileage, etc.

    Thanks to this website and others I have stopped my weekend LSD’s and now do CF sessions both weekend days instead (in a big box gym) while I run on weekday mornings.

    Until I feel like doing long trail runs again on the weekends I plan to continue with the weekend CF game plan and continue to do longer dog walks do get my nature-silence-peaceful fix. Again, listening in is key.

    But I will also ad, the target changes as we grow older. It’s a moving target… this thing called workout/life balance. I am 43 and I cannot put in super long training hours each Sat/Sun like when I was younger, single, not a home-owner/dog-owner where I could pummel myself into oblivion and rest the day away afterward. Yet that intense, monk like lifestyle probably was not healthy nor sustainable for the long-term. Again, balance. And since I am now married, who wants my husband to have to deal with a grumpy tired wife all weekend long who tends to pilfer his food when he is not looking; not good for a loving marriage!

    So now when I will embark on my long weekend runs I plan to do only ONE long training day in the hills and hit the gym on the other weekend day b/c I don’t want to fry my adrenals with too much parasympathetic training anymore. Plus, I need the strength and power that good CF sessions can supply. I am just curious how this will impact my performance come race day; we shall see!

  103. Hey Mark, I really enjoyed this article! Very in depth with lots of useful information – the way it should be. I also wanted to ask if you could read my article, I’m just looking for feedback from people who really know what they’re doing. You can find it here: http://www.quickeasyfit.com/am-i-overtraining-signs-of-overtraining-and-how-to-recover/ Ps. I read your little piece about spam comments – I’m not trying to spam! I’m just looking for some feedback. It’s up to you whether or not you approve this as a comment.

    Thanks
    Kim

  104. I seem to fit in this category of over training, yet I follow the Primal Fitness . I do the body weight exercises twice a week , yet I am now getting weaker on my pulls ups and push ups. My legs are fine I am now doing pistol squats and getting stronger. my shoulder presses are going good , wont be long until I ca do hand stands. BUT! My pushups have went from 50 to 40 and sometimes 35. My pull ups are down to 4 sometimes 5.
    Any suggestions please getting rather anxious at my lack of progress.

    Many thanks

  105. Not a comment, but a question. I am 70 yrs. old and train regularly for senior track meets (50m, 100m and 200m are my events). About 2 months ago I began weight training to prepare my sprinting muscles for the Florida Senior Games State Championship track meet coming up on Dec. 13. Yesterday I experienced a frightening ‘episode’ at the end of my Leg Press (3 sets of 20 reps with 270 lbs) As I got to rep 17 of the last set, I should have quit, but I didn’t listen to my body. I pushed on and reached 20 reps. Suddenly I became ‘strangely’ and intensely dizzy, unlike any dizziness I normally feel while training. It wasn’t a spinning vertigo feeling, but more of a brain numbness. I terminated my workout immediately, went home and rested for the rest of the day. Today I was feeling much better, but still feel a slight sense of that numbness in my brain behind and just below my left ear, which was the same area that felt the most numbness yesterday. I am now afraid to go out and do the sprint training that I usually do between weight room days. ANY COMMENTS???

  106. I guess anyone can guess why I’m reading this article! Lol. My sleep gets really jacked up. I am returning to weightlifting after several years of health issues unrelated to physical activity. Before those few years, I was really doing great and feeling good. It’s like my brain overrides rationale. I feel great while I’m working out. Making gains but reality is my body has atrophied. I have a knee that has now been overused and possibly injured (I don’t think it’s serious but dropping into see an Ortho for clearance) so my cardio is compromised. Over that span of a few years, I had several surgeries and mobility was compromised. I still get excited about exercising and going to the gym but I’m trying to find where I need to draw the lines because I’m mentally and physically crashing regularly. It’s like muscle memory kicks in at the gym and thinks my body is able to return at the same capacity and I have quickly made huge strides but I’m becoming depleted. I’m working with a trainer who is really good and I’m going to ask him to help me find that happy medium. Issues are starting to increase. I don’t leave the gym pumped up. Right now, I feel absolutely no guilt over taking the time off til I feel adequately recovered and I also don’t regret the carb loading I did today.lol..no comment..it was all fruit…well mostly..pineapple cake is a fruit right? Lol Must be needing a serotonin booster. I believe after a short recovery, I will see even better gains and definitely will listen to reason and find that right tempo. Thank you! I was getting discouraged and more depressed. However, I still stay in motion so I don’t lose momentum. I simply have lightened the load, regular rest, watch my diet, do stretching and some core work. I fell on this information at just the right time, before I have suffered a severe injury or major depression and simply threw in the towel. I can breathe more deeply now.