Coaching Tip: Top Signs of Overtraining

Becca Borawski Jenkins


Coaching, Strength and Conditioning, Martial Arts


Exercise is a good thing, right? Well, like all things, exercise is good in moderation. Too little exercise leaves us overweight and unhealthy, but too much exercise can stress out our systems and cause a whole different variety of health problems.


While, as the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research explains, some elite athletes are able to withstand high volumes of intense workouts, it is because of their ability to control the non-training factors in their lives. When surrounded by regular life, getting proper recovery is more difficult.

Simply put, over training happens any time we are not allowing enough recovery time to recuperate from our workouts. It can affect us mentally, physically and emotionally.



How do you know when you are doing too much?
  • Persistent fatigue – are you more tired than you should be?
  • Elevated resting heart rate – this may be especially evident first thing in the morning.
  • Frequent illness – does it seem like you catch every cold and virus going around?
  • Decreased strength and performance – are you getting weaker and slower despite your workouts?
  • Insomnia – are you tired all day, but have difficulty sleeping at night?
  • Chronic muscle soreness – are you muscles always sore and tender?
  • High cortisol levels – you may notice it’s hard to get rid of the weight around your mid-section.
  • Depression – loss of motivation and enthusiasm.


overtraining, elite athletes, crossfit, mind body


If you find yourself answering yes to these questions, what can you do about it? Take a break from your training. Maybe you need to take a break altogether, or maybe you can cut back in volume and intensity.
Have you been doing the same type of exercise at the same high-intensity level every day? Take a week long break and then go back to working out, but mix it up, both in the type of workout and how hard you go at it. Instead of running every day, try weight lifting or yoga. 


Most of all, just get back to the basics – schedule a massage, get regular sleep, have days where you don’t work out at all, and follow a good nutrition plan. Exercise is a great thing and endorphins make us feel wonderful, but too much can be more damaging than good.

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