Fitness seems all the craze at the moment, with more and more online influencers posting their ‘awesome’ workouts across their social channels. So, for people like us ‘normal’ folk wanting to look like them, we try to keep up with what they’re posting. For some one who’s been doing it for years, this might be OK but if you are just starting out, it can easily push you over the edge and actually do more harm than good. Overdoing things at the gym can lead to all sorts of complications including – pulling muscles, being exhausted both physically and mentally and ultimately, put you off wanting to go to the gym because you feel so out of it!

To help you recognise the signs you might be overdoing it, we’ve put together a few of our top things to look out for…

OH, and NO-ONE (other than maybe top athletes) needs to be at the gym for more than 2 hours at a time…even that’s pushing things!

This is a pretty obvious one – being sick during or after exercise is NOT what you want! If you’ve had to push yourself SO hard that you are sick afterwards, you may want to reassess your current fitness level. It might just be that you aren’t quite ready for that level of intense exercise yet…which is OK, we all have to start somewhere! Perhaps you’ve just started running and decided you’d do a 10k run which was what made you sick. This is a good sign you aren’t quite up to that distance yet, so maybe start with a 5k run or mix it up and do a half walk, half run to see how you go. Getting nauseous from your workout can also indicate that you might be dehydrated or be experiencing heat exhaustion – which can be treated with rest and fluids in a cool place. DO NOT ignore this, as it can lead to complications if left untreated.

Exercising while you have a fever is not advisable for many reasons, especially if you have fever. If your fever is over 100.5 degrees, DO NOT work out. Other than it being VERY dangerous for you, you also don’t want to give your illness to others in the gym, they will NOT appreciate this either.

Evidence suggests that exercising while feverish can actually prolong the illness, meaning you are then away from exercise and your fitness routine for even longer. It’s just not worth it. If you feel ill, rest and take a few days off to recover. This way you’ll come back stronger and feeling better than ever…and much more quickly too!

Muscle Soreness
If you have sore muscles during or directly after a workout, this is OK, normal in fact. However, beyond that, you may want to be more careful and perhaps lay off working that area until the soreness goes away. If, for example, the next morning you find you’re having joint pain that can be associated to your previous days workout, you’ve probably pushed yourself a bit too hard. Also, if the soreness is getting in the way of normal daily functioning, you should give it some rest. You will find if you’re just starting out, you’ll get muscle soreness more often, which is why it’s advised to start off slowly and make sure you give each body part time to recover. The more you do it, the more your body will adapt to the increased work loads and you’ll get less and less muscle soreness and fatigue.

Decrease in Performance
If you’re working out regularly and consistently, you should start to see your performance improve over time. You might be able to go for longer runs, or be able to lift heavier weights. However, if you feel unusually exhausted by, what is for you, a normal workout, it might be that you are overtraining. So, when you’re working out, try to focus on quality, not quantity. Those additional reps of the same form are not nearly as beneficial as you think…and NO, you do not need to be there for hours at a time. Get in, do what needs to be done and get out! Your body will not thank you for making it go all out for hours at a time. Instead of doing 20 reps on each exercise, up the weight and do 10 instead. This will half the time you spend not really getting anywhere and will also help you to lift heavier and heavier over time.

Mood Swings
If you are overdoing your workouts, your body will be so tired that you may end up becoming moody, grumpy and just feel tired and hungry all the time.

While physical activity can be linked to a decrease in depression and anxiety, overtraining can actually increase irritability and moodiness. Or it might even lead to you feeling overly hungry all the time, which isn’t going to make you feel any better, especially if you are trying to loose weight. That extra fast food meal will NOT help you feel better, even if it does curb your hunger for a few minutes. It’s not a long term solution. Cut bacon the exercise and focus on sleep, hydration and resting.

Sleep Patterns
Being active during the day can help us to burn off those extra calories and excess energy (if you are one of those luck ones) as well as giving us a good rest at night. However, if you are overtraining, the opposite may occur. You may start to feel restless at night and find it hard to switch off and get a good night sleep. If this is the case, maybe take a day or too off at the gym or your regular exercise and you should start to see your sleep pattern will return to normal and you will feel well rested again. There may also be other reasons why you aren’t sleeping well but give this a try and see if it makes any difference to your sleep. If it doesn’t, it might be worth speaking to your GP or doctor to see if there might be any other health related issues stopping you from getting a good sleep.

We hope you found this article interesting and informative. Do let us know if there is anything in particular you would like to know more about.

Fitness Focus Team.

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