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Symptoms of Overtraining: And that's why Mom knows best!

Posted Mar 16 2010 6:30am


I can never forget what my mom said so long ago that taught me a lot about patience. All she said whenever I felt frustrated was, "Take your own sweet time – preferably, one day at a time. That's how the world works."

There's great truth in that statement, you know.

Folks who can't do this are in one way or another afflicted with the 'more haste, less speed' syndrome, leaving them to start all over again, especially because they haven't thought things through or make an attempt to understand that some things can't progress faster regardless of how much energy and time you use to get things moving.

Take for example, working out… the analogy that I would like to use even though it might seem a bit off the mark to some, is that of a banyan tree. It never becomes strong and towering in a day… now does it? And your body works on the same principle too, among the bigger things in life, and you won't get anywhere by overtraining. However, pushing yourself is a different story altogether.


Quite recently, a prominent actress in Bollywood made the same mistake which resulted in her having to stop training in order to get better before she could resume again. Although in Christian Bale's case, he really needed to put on weight in order to nail that role in 'Batman Begins' after his role in the movie "The Machinist".

And we hear these stories day in and day out where people wanting everything yesterday (for whatever reason) causes one to exercise again by increasing his routine in volume and intensity before the body has fully recovered from a prior session. And this is what is defined as 'Overtraining'.

What most folks don't realise or fail to recognize is that improvements in strength and fitness do not occur during the exercise routine but during the rest and recovery period that spans a 12 to 24 hours period.

If we choose to work out again during this period, the performance of the individual will reduce (if not drastically) to a point where one has to completely stop their work out routine for weeks if not months.

Generally speaking, most cases of overtraining occur in weight training but can also happen with athletes as well, who mostly focus on aerobic training methods.

Another theory says that some people are mindlessly obsessed with exercise due to the addiction to endorphins (yes, the feel-good hormone) that the body produces during exercise.

However, it can happen by accident due to other stressors that impact the body as well such as overwork, poor nutrition and ongoing illnesses that the person might be suffering from.

Since the best thing to do when one realises if he/ she is indeed overtraining, is to completely stop exercising for weeks and in some cases, months… it is important that everyone who follows an exercise routine recognizes its symptoms, preferably at an early stage.

Symptoms of Overtraining

Indicative of the principle of the mind-body connection, these symptoms affect one both psychologically and physically, so this list is divided into two sections.


1. Fatigued, tired, drained, lack of energy
2. Reduced ability to concentrate
3. Apathy or no motivation
4. Irritability
5. Anxiety
6. Depression
7. Headaches
8. Insomnia
9. Inability to relax
10. Twitchy, fidgety or jittery


1. Elevated resting pulse / heart rate
2. Minor infections crop up now and again
3. Increased susceptibility to colds and flu's
4. Increase in minor injuries
5. Chronic muscle soreness or joint pain
6. Exhaustion
7. Lethargy
8. Weight loss
9. Appetite loss
10. Insatiable thirst or dehydration
11. Intolerance to exercise
12. Decreased performance
13. Delayed recovery from exercise

In Closing

And that's why Dennis the Menace once said: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and you can fool all of the people some of the time… but you can’t fool Mom!”

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