Too Much of a Good Thing

Featured Image

By Randy Leopando
A little exercise is good for you, so more must be better, right? Well, sometimes. And sometimes more is just that — more. There comes a point of diminishing returns or, worse, a point where your body says “Enough!”
Everyone reaches this point at different times. Triathletes, for example, are able to withstand the rigors of three-sport training — running, cycling and swimming — at levels unthinkable to most. For others, an extra step class or hitting the weights too hard can put them over the top. In the quest for better health and fitness, it is sometimes difficult to quell one’s enthusiasm and take a break from exercise. But if exercise is leaving you more exhausted than energized, you could be suffering from an acute case of overtraining.
Know the Signs
It’s important to be able to recognize the signs of overtraining before they become chronic. Physical signs of overtraining include:

  • decreased performance
  • loss of coordination
  • prolonged recovery
  • elevated morning heart rate
  • elevated resting blood pressure
  • headaches
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle soreness/tenderness
  • gastrointestinal disturbances
  • decreased ability to ward off infection
  • increased incidence of musculoskeltal injuries
  • disturbed sleep patterns

Keep in mind that not all of the signs of overtraining are physical. Much like regular exercise has a positive effect on mood and stress levels, too much exercise can do just the opposite, leaving the exerciser irritable and depressed, particularly as the quality of the workouts declines. Psychological and emotional signs of overtraining include depression, apathy, difficulty concentrating, emotional sensitivity and reduced self-esteem.
Understand the Cause
Once you recognize the symptoms of overtraining, it’s important to understand and honestly confront the cause. For some, overtraining occurs as a result of an upcoming competition. Increased training prior to an event is understandable, but if it’s interfering with your health and wellbeing, you have to question its worth. The solution may be as easy as reducing the rate at which you increase your training intensity. The body needs sufficient time to adjust to your increased demands. Triathletes don’t start out running 10 miles, cycling 100 miles and swimming 1,000 meters all at once. They gradually increase their training to allow their bodies to adapt.
For others, the basis for overtraining may have more to do with emotional or psychological reasons than physical ones. Much like eating disorders, exercise addiction is now recognized as a legitimate problem. Exercising beyond the point of exhaustion, while injured, or to the exclusion of all other aspects of one’s life — these are some of the signs of exercise addiction. It’s a difficult problem to recognize, particularly in a culture where discipline and control are lauded.
Individuals who exercise excessively are risking more than poor performance: They’re risking their health. Overuse syndrome, which may lead to more serious injuries, is common. And the emotional cost of isolating oneself in order to exercise can be devastating. If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or in a friend, it is essential that you seek professional help.
The ‘M’ Word
The key, it seems, to staying healthy is to do everything in moderation, which is best viewed as something relative to one’s own fitness level and goals. Don’t expect to exercise an hour every day simply because your very fit friend does. The body needs time to adjust, adapt and, yes, even recuperate. Exercising to the point of overtraining is simply taking one step forward, two steps back — not exactly good training tactics.

You might also enjoy

NF_HorizontalLogo- Nutriformance, St. Louis, MO

FREE 7-Day Trial Membership!

Call 314-432-6103 or fill out the form to get started.

St. louis' best gym & Personal Trainers

Don’t take our word for it, check out what our members have to say!

Brock Telfer
Brock Telfer
May 10, 2021.
Verified
This is my new favorite gym, it’s exactly what I was looking for! I would highly recommend Los to anyone, the atmosphere is so motivating!
Weldon Bush
Weldon Bush
April 9, 2021.
Verified
I have been at Strongside for close to two months. I have never been in a workout environment that feels so supportive and encouraging. I highly recommend Nutriformance for everyone who is looking for a place to belong.
Vickie Sabin
Vickie Sabin
March 18, 2021.
Verified
This is the best lifters gym I've ever been to. There is an almost overwhelming amount of equipment on the upper level.
Warren Hogsett
Warren Hogsett
September 18, 2020.
Verified
I like the variety of exercises and intensities, but my favorite part is the technology that allows me to hold myself accountable for my effort and performance.
Joseph Acevedo
Joseph Acevedo
August 17, 2020.
Verified
Great local gym. Lots of weights and machines, friendly staff, and not too crowded.
Kate Gebken
Kate Gebken
August 14, 2020.
Verified
I am so happy I know this place is here now! I booked a massage with Alexis, I had been in need of one desperately from working at home in the wrong chair for the past few months. She was so kind and intuitive and really knew the exact areas to address. I feel like a new person now, one of the best massages I have ever had! I didn't know they offer pilates here as well and the studio is gorgeous. The atmosphere was great and very clean. I will definitely be back soon!
Mackenzie Hendrickson
Mackenzie Hendrickson
July 24, 2020.
Verified
I couldn’t recommend Alexis (massage therapist) enough. She is kind, professional and knowledgeable every time I see her. She makes me feel comfortable and is mindful of aches and spots on my body that might need more or less attention. I feel so relaxed every time I leave and never want the massages to end. She’s great and I highly recommend her!
brian jones
brian jones
July 16, 2020.
Verified
The reopening protocols that Nutriformance have implemented are identical to those we are currently using in the professional sports world and my confidence is such that I am completely comfortable bringing my 8- year old son in on a weekly basis to continue his training. The awareness of the staff and their sensitivity to our current health situation are of the utmost priority, based on my observations over the last couple of weeks. If you are an athlete looking to gain a competitive edge over your opponents, a young athlete trying to refine your basic athletic qualities or an adult just looking to stay healthy - I would make Nutriformance my first call. Brian Jones Goalkeeping Coach Saint Louis FC USL Championship
lisa bernstein
lisa bernstein
July 15, 2020.
Verified
Clean and professional. Could not ask for better trainers, Pilates instructors, and staff. Great massages !