8 Signs You Might Be Overtraining and You Need To Rest

Rest and recovery are vital to athletic training. It’s understandable to think that working out more is better, but in this case “more” can sabotage your workouts and your overall performance and progress.

Rest and recovery are vital to athletic training. It’s understandable to think that working out more is better, but in this case “more” can sabotage your workouts and your overall performance and progress. What is your body trying to tell you? Click through to find out if you might be overtraining. Pin it now, read it later. @jillconyers

You know the feeling, you’re running slower than usual and even short runs are a struggle mentally and physically. Or, your muscles are unusually tight and they’re not loosening up after a warm-up. Motivating yourself to go to the gym is a struggle. Your workouts just feel off. I’ve been there and done that. Sadly it took more than one injury, but I learned my lesson. Now I take precautions to avoid overtraining. I know my body and I, finally, listen to what it’s trying to tell me.

When it’s time to back off or totally take time off from training I do and without hesitation.

Overtraining is excessive frequency, volume or intensity of training, resulting in a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual’s exercise exceeds their recovery capacity.

The most common causes of over-training are a lack of recovery time and an increased intensity of training and both can quickly lead to being sidelined from training and injuries.

What do the statistics say about fitness injuries?

A study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has found that the number of injuries from weight training has increased. Results of the study show more than 970,000 weight training-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments between 1990 and 2007, increasing nearly 50 percent during the 18-year study period.

Sports Medicine Australia reports, Statistics from the Australian Sports Commission’s 2006 survey showed up to 70% of recreational and competitive runners sustain overuse injuries during any 12-month period.


1. You’re feeling run down and getting sick and injured a lot.

Chronically elevated levels of cortisol not only stall your fat loss, but also lower your immunity, making you more susceptible to illness. And, if you are never giving your body a chance to fully recover, you are setting yourself up for potential injury.

2. You’re sore all the time.

Being sore after your workout is normal, and it’s possible your delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) won’t peak for another 48 hours. However, being constantly sore is a clear sign that you need to back off and give your muscles an opportunity to fully recover.

3. You have you stopped seeing progress and results.

When you’re consistently stressing your body you are constantly triggering your body’s “fight or flight” response and elevates cortisol levels which, according to orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey J. Rocco, can lead to fat storage.

4. You feel fatigued and sluggish for the rest of the day after your workout.

You are able complete your workout, but then you are spent for the remainder of the day. A sweat session can be productive, but if it drains you of your energy even after you’ve eaten, it’s time to find out why and how training has become counterproductive.

5. You’re having, what feels like, uncontrollable cravings for comfort foods.

Efficient training should go hand-in-hand with a healthy refueling to optimize results. If you have an uncontrollable craving for caffeine and sweet or salty carbohydrates, it is possible your body is craving these to compensate for exhaustion. According to human performance expert, Dr. Phil Maffetone, overtraining often leads to “abnormal hunger or cravings for sweets.”

6. You’re not completing your normal training routine.

You’re showing up, but are giving up a little too soon or just going through the motions. It’s a struggle even to get through it, and all you can think about is being done.

7. You’re experiencing behavioral changes like insomnia, depression, irritability or mood swings.

When you’re overtraining, your body’s systems go into overload. Hormones like cortisol and serotonin get out of sync which affects everything you do. Physical and emotional changes in behavior are an indication you probably need to take a step back from your training schedule.

8. You’re putting fitness before everything else in your life.

Training is important, but if you are consistently choosing your workouts over social engagements or even much-needed sleep, it might be time to reassess your goals and priorities.

Listen to your body. Our built-in protective mechanisms are there for a reason and will tell us what our body needs.

RELATED CONTENT: 5 Easy Tips for Smart and Sustainable Fitness

If you’re overtraining, plan a rest period. Maybe a day or two of no workouts at all or a few days of easy workouts will be all that you need. You may need several weeks. Gradually return to your regular fitness routine working toward your regular workouts once flexibility, strength and endurance have returned.


  • Take time to progress into your goals. By avoiding extremes you will workout stronger, run farther, make more progress and significantly reduce the risk of injury.
  • Adding balance to your training decreases burnout and you’ll find yourself feeling more motivated and enjoying your training.
  • Know your limits and avoid prolonged exertion.

8 SIGNS MIGHT BE OVERTRAINING AND YOU NEED TO REST | Rest and recovery are vital to athletic training. It’s understandable to think that working out more is better, but in this case “more” can sabotage your workouts and your overall performance and progress. What is your body trying to tell you? Click through to find out if you might be overtraining. Pin it now, read it later. @jillconyers

I am a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor providing information for educational purposes only. This web site is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice and supervision of your personal physician. Consult with your physician if you have any concerns regarding your health.

I would love to chat:

Have you experienced overtraining? Did you answer yes to any of these questions? Do you regularly include rest in your training plan?

be the best version of YOU

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  1. great post! I do schedule rest days into my training plan! I know it is easy to want to do it all but resting is an important part too 🙂

  2. Hi Jill <3 This is such an important post, thanks for sharing. I have been guilty of over training too many times and have the scar tissue and injuries to prove it. Thanks for sharing <3

  3. This is a fantastic post. I trained for two marathons back to back last summer and saw the signs of over training syndrome coming. I was able to tell my husband that I thought that was what was causing my feeling of melancholy and then back off a bit. I ended up far too over trained for my second race and poor weather made it worse, but I learned a lot about my body and limitations.

  4. LOVE this! I went through a period of time last year when I was over training. I was seriously sick every month, my body ached, I was gaining weight, lost my period…I was a mess. It’s so important to listen to your body 🙂

  5. Sometimes we might not notice the signs of fatigue and exhaustion right away and sometimes we choose to ignore them. It can be hard to step back from training, but sometimes necessary!

  6. This is such a great post. Sometimes resting and recovering is a harder mental workout than a physical one would be. I love that you mentioned it may be time to recover if you’re not seeing results anymore – I know some will push even harder when they hit that wall even if they’re feeling run down and getting sick. Such a great message to be able to share.

  7. I completely overtrained when I trained for my first marathon. I ignored all the signs and wound up hurting my hip. Oh the wisdom I gained there, lol.

  8. What a great post! I have friends that tend to have a hard time balancing how much time they devote to exercising. Their personality type tends to obsess about it. This is very encouraging!

  9. This topic is always on my mind. I carefully monitor this for myself and add in extra recovery days when I can see it happening. For me, the signs are typically the fatigue and the insomnia. I just recently added an extra recovery day in my tri training for that reason.

  10. Recovery is so important. Thanks for this info and the reminders! Recovery is when your body builds and actually gets stronger. We NEED to recover.

  11. I know this feeling! I felt like I was overtraining for a while and finally I’m resting and feeling better!

  12. Very informative article. Sometimes we think soreness is the signs of an effective workout, but don’t realize it could be more serious!

  13. I’ve felt like I’ve overtrained to hard in the past and now make it essential to put in rest days and be more aware of my bodies needs!!! I think it’s crucial to take time to recover, not only to help build muscle but to allow your body to rest for your next workout. Awesome article thanks for sharing!!

  14. I’ve definitely been a victim of this. Looking back it’s so silly and I shouldn’t have pushed myself but I did. Thankfully it hasn’t resulted in injuries! The biggest giveaway to me is not wanting to workout, but having such a feeling I should. And my workouts being so hard no matter what. I try to take two full weeks off each year.

  15. Yes! This is exactly why I schedule in walking or swim days so that I’m doing something active but not too hard after a strenuous workout.

  16. So many of these signs could easily be mistaken for something else! Or might make we want to simply push harder because I think it’s my fault for feeling that way. I remember a blogger who noticed that she could complete her running schedule more often and with fewer injuries when she made time for yoga several times a week. The payoff of resting and stretching isn’t immediate though, so it’s the first to go.

  17. Yes I have experienced overtraining and yes I take the time off when necessary! If I am feeling antsy to workout on my rest days, I find that a nice long walk with the pup always help. It is a great way to clean out that lactic acid and just get some fresh air, when I feel the need to move my body in a relaxing way. Great post Jill! XOXO

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