Why Overtraining is a Really Bad Idea…and How to Prevent It

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It’s tempting to think that the more exercise you do, the more you will benefit. But if you push things too far, you make things worse instead of better.


The Flipside of Getting Fit

Training provides you with a number of physical and mental benefits. It helps you gain muscle and strength as well as helping you relieve stress and anxiety.

On the flip side, too much training will halt any gains in lean mass and strength and leave you feeling exhausted and stressed out. This article will explain why overtraining is a really bad idea and tell you how to prevent it.

What is Overtraining?

Overtraining occurs when you don’t allow your body to fully recover from exercise sessions. It could happen because you are training every day of the week. It could also happen if you constantly train with heavy weight.

Another reason that overtraining occurs is that you aren’t providing your body with proper amounts of protein, carbs and healthy fats.

The Symptoms of Overtraining

It’s really easy to recognize the symptoms of overtraining. Some common symptoms include:

  • An inability to complete your workouts
  • Training every day
  • Difficulty sleeping at night
  • Feeling fatigued all the time
  • Pain in your joints or bones
  • Getting sick more often than usual
  • Progress halts (not gaining muscle)
  • Motivation deadlines
  • Soreness after working out that doesn't go away

How to Prevent Overtraining

Now that you know the symptoms of overtraining, you can work towards preventing it. You can easily prevent overtraining by following a proper diet, getting the right amount of rest, training correctly, and allowing your body sufficient time to recover from your workouts.

How Diet Can Help

One of the most important ways to help your body heal itself from challenging workouts is by eating a proper diet. You should eat several meals a day and those meals should be comprised of lean protein, healthy carbohydrates and healthy fats.

Processed foods should be avoided because they provide little nutrition and will be stored in the body as fat. Eating a light meal before your workout that contains protein and carbs and having a protein shake after your workout will help your body get the nutrients it needs to keep you healthy.


Get Enough Sleep

In bodybuilding, there is a sacred triad. Train, eat and sleep. If you don’t train you won’t gain muscle at all. If you don’t eat properly you risk overtraining or not gaining muscle, and the same thing happens if you don’t get enough sleep at night.

Sleep is the time when your body repairs itself from everything you’ve done that day and that includes your workouts. The general recommendation is 8 hours of sleep every night, but everyone is different. Whether you need 6, 8 or 10 hours a sleep every night, get the amount that’s right for you.

Correct Training Methods

A famous bodybuilder named Lee Haney said, “stimulate, don’t annihilate.” The best form of training is when you work out enough to elicit a response from your muscles and then stop.

When performing exercises that work large muscle groups like the chest, legs or back, make sure you give your body enough time to recover from workouts. Listen to your body.

If you are training five days a week and feel tired, train for only four days or three days a week. You don’t need to train more often to gain muscle, you need to train smart.

Recover Correctly

Proper recovery can be done in a few different ways. One way is to just completely take a day or two off from any type of training. Another type of recovery is called active recovery and during these days you would do light exercises.

Maybe you would do cardio, lift weights that are 30% - 50% of your one rep max, or attend a yoga, class. Another way to recover is to get a massage or use a foam roller to relieve tense muscles. All of these forms of recovery will help you prevent overtraining.

Train Smart

Overtraining is a really bad idea because it will harm your health in the long run. You’ll lose sleep, feel tired all the time and get sick more often.

If you are going to train, you need to train smart. This means eating and training properly, getting enough sleep and giving your body enough time to fully recover from your workouts.


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About the author

Joe Bensam

I am an experienced bodybuilder and qualified personal trainer who specializes in strength training, conditioning and building muscle. I can help you become much bigger, stronger and leaner - faster! To discover my simple secret weapon, click here.