We know that for many of you, keeping up your fitness levels is a top priority. Even when you may be physically and mentally drained, you continue to push yourself to show up at the gym.
Yes, achieving your goals is important and staying consistent is a crucial part of that, but it is possible to over do it.
Fitness burnout can be different for everyone who experiences it, but no matter what, it should always be taken seriously.
The signs of exercise burnout are often hard to spot, so you may not even realise that you’re experiencing it. After all, when you workout a lot, it’s perfectly normal to feel tired and for your body to ache. However, when you’re not feeling great all of the time and you start to dread working out, you need to take a step back.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU OVER EXERCISE?
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common warning signs to look out for as a result of over exercising. Keep on reading to discover more.
1. PHYSICAL & MENTAL FATIGUE
Do you constantly feel drained even after a good night’s sleep? Physical and mental fatigue, such as extreme exhaustion and a lack of concentration, are telltale signs of exercise burnout.
While keeping active can sometimes be a great way to boost your energy levels, if you’re worn out, exercising can actually make things worse.
If you’re consistently overtraining, you could even start to experience CNS (central nervous system) fatigue. This disrupts the messages your brain sends to your spinal cord, restricting freedom of movement.
2. MOOD CHANGES & LOSS OF INTEREST
You text your bestie to tell them you can’t train with them because you left your headphones at home, when in reality, you just can’t face another workout. If you find that your fitness motivation or love for working out is seriously affected, it’s possible that you could be overdoing it.
The same goes for your mood too. Regular mood swings, anxiety and increased irritability are also signs of fitness burnout. Yes, exercise can give your mood a natural boost, but too much exercise can in fact have a reverse effect. When your body feels physically and emotionally overwhelmed, it releases stress hormones, which can lead to brain fog and feelings of depression.
3. TROUBLE SLEEPING
Struggling to get your beauty sleep? When you over exercise, your sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive, which can disrupt your sleep pattern. Because of this, you become restless and find it difficult to fall asleep.
Want to know how you can regulate your sleep pattern? Check out our blog here.
4. DECREASED PERFORMANCE
Despite training for weeks on end, the chances of hitting a new PB seem near impossible. A drop in your performance is often one of the earliest signs of fitness burnout.
If you fail to allow your body enough time to recover in between sessions, your muscles will be unable to grow and lift heavier amounts. You may also notice that you can’t keep up the pace and you’re a little slower than usual, as over exercising can affect your reaction time and running speed.
5. DIMINISHED APPETITE
A loss of appetite or digestive issues, such as constipation, can occur in the middle to later stages of overtraining and go hand in hand with feelings of fatigue and a lack of motivation.
It’s really important that you fuel your body with the calories and nutrition it requires to perform at its best - not just inside the gym, but outside of the gym too.
6. INCREASED RESTING HEART RATE
Now more than ever, it’s important to pay close attention to your resting heart rate. Often, when you over exercise and experience fitness burnout as a result, your body is put under so much stress that it has to work harder even when it's resting.
A normal resting heartbeat will vary for adults, but typically, it should be around 60 to 100 beats per minute. An increase in your normal resting heart rate could indicate you’re placing excessive stress on your body, in which case, we recommend that you consult your GP.
7. WEAKENED IMMUNE SYSTEM
Suffering from a cold that you can’t shake off or generally just feel run down most of the time? Another common sign of exercise burnout is regular illness.
Training too much can cause your body to be in a constant state of fatigue, which means it’s having to spend most of its time and energy trying to repair your muscles rather than supporting your immune system.
On top of this, irregular or complete absence of your menstrual cycle can also indicate you’re overdoing it in the gym.
READ MORE: Should You Workout On Your Period?
8. DELAYED RECOVERY TIMES
Are you still suffering after that leg day you did five days ago? Persistent muscle soreness (also known as overreaching) that lasts for hours or days after your workout is a definite sign you need more rest.
Take some time out and focus on allowing your body to recover, so that when you eventually hit the gym again, you’ll feel fully refreshed.
Don’t fret, girls, there are ways you can avoid exercise burnout. First things first, make sure you’re factoring in enough time to rest. Nobody can be at the gym 24 hours a day, nor should they be! Nurture your body with some well-deserved TLC.
When you do eventually return to the gym, make sure to train at your own pace and to take it easy, as you could risk overdoing it straight away. See our top tips for returning to the gym after a break here.
As well as that, ensure you’re eating well and drinking plenty of fluids. But above all, listen to your body! If you’re experiencing signs of exercise burnout, don’t ignore them, give your body what it needs: rest.