Recognizing Overtraining

Ah, it pains me to write this post. Despite the title, I’m not actually overtrained – I think that has become a bit of an overused term – but I have definitely overworked myself these past two weeks, and am on the road to overtraining if I don’t start to be more careful.

The start of semester isn’t exactly a stressful time for most students, at least academic-wise. The first few weeks are generally “syllabus weeks” where kids skip class and party until 6am. But since I’m more of a curl up with coffee and a book kinda girl, sometimes I find myself with a bit too much free time during this period.

Too much free time? Just shut up already <– what a lot of you want to say right now. And that’s totally fine! I would have said the exact same thing in November. I don’t do well with a ton of time to myself, though. I definitely need a good amount, being fairly introverted, but if it goes beyond a certain point I tend to feel depressed, anxious, and apathetic about almost everything.


One of my favourite ways to spend time is exercising.

Over the month of December, I did not exercise much at all. I got in a couple 30 minute lifting workouts per week, and a handful of 3-mile treadmill runs scattered throughout the month. I honestly just did not have time for more. I was working, doing things with my family and friends and squeezed in some activity where I could.

Right now, though, I always have time to exercise. I never have to be anywhere before 10am, and even if I might be busy until 5/6pm, I have barely any homework. So I don’t have that built in “monitor” working for me, keeping my activity level in check. Not to mention that workouts are pretty much the only thing that keep me sane in college, and help me manage anxiety / sadness.

gym-unicornJust too perfect.

That can only go so far, though. The first few days that I got back I was killing it in the gym. I felt amazing, my workouts were amazing, and all was good. But lately, they haven’t felt good at all. The time drags by, my legs feel like lead and I think I am actually losing endorphins. Not to mention the fact that my sleep has been horrible this week, I’ve been relying on 3 cups of coffee per day and feeling just generally sad / blah.

I need a break! Which is why I pretty much sat on my butt all day today. I did walk a fair amount, but that was honestly me leaving lying on my bed to go sit at a cafe, lie on my bed again, sit at the library and then back to the good ol’ bed.

(when I’m at school, my bed is a kitchen, library, office, couch, yoga studio, and oh yeah, a bed. we’re good friends.)

It definitely wasn’t easy. I’m actually sitting at the library right now with my running shoes in my bag, just in case I decide to go for an “easy workout”.

shoesThese babies are never too far away.

But what would the point of that be? I would either:

a) Do said “easy workout” by cycling on the bike for half an hour, stretching and leaving. Maybe mildly beneficial, but not as much as my brain would benefit from total rest.

b) Push myself through exercise, therefore making my exhaustion / other symptoms even worse

Nope! Not worth it. Here are some of the signs that you might be overtraining. Experiencing one or two may be okay, but several of them in combination generally spells a problem:

  • Poor sleep. You are tired all day, but once your head hits the pillow you just can’t rest. Or, alternatively, you fall asleep instantly but toss and turn all night.
  • Incurable exhausting. Maybe you sleep all night, but you still can’t beat that feeling of being just. so. tired.
  • Decreased performance. Your usual run pace slows, weights you usually use are too heavy, etc.
  • Decreased motivation. Normally, us fitness buffs workout because we love it! It makes us feel energized and good about ourselves. But maybe you have been dreading every single workout these days, and simply drag yourself around the gym, going through the motions.
  • Hormone malfunction. This can come about in a bajillion ways: mood swings, acne, female TOM, hunger cues, energy levels, the list goes on. The best way that I can describe this is you just feel wrong. 

How are your workouts feeling this week? 

Have you ever experienced something similar? 


One thought on “Recognizing Overtraining

  1. I actually know exactly the feeling you’re trying to describe. Whenever I find myself feeling uninspired, lethargic, overtrained/bored with my workouts, I try to take them outside and do a fun activity. For example, I kinda rebooted myself by going on the most gorgeous beach walk with Kyle a few weeks back, and ever since then I’ve just been so excited to move. I signed up for an hour and a half yoga class with Kyle and his friends Ryan and Raamis on Monday nights, which is such a fun change-of-pace for me. I went on a suuuper slow, but fun and chatty 3 mile run with one of my best friends, Tiana, and am gonna go hiking with her again soon. I think you should revamp your ideas of what exercise constitutes and do something that gets ya sweaty, but you have fun doing!

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