Chances are if you’ve just started the 8 Week Challenge you have increased the amount of time you have spent exercising outside of the challenge. While for most people this is a good thing, for others you might over doing it.
Over exercising is a thing and sometimes less IS more.
Symptoms of Over Training
Firstly, you should finish exercising feeling energised, not exhausted. While you should feel like you have left everything on the treadmill or the weights now feel a billion times heavier than when you started, you should still have that euphoric feeling that the release of endorphin’s gives you. If you are not feeling this, maybe you need to slow down, rest and recover.
Are you feeling moody or irritable? This could be caused by over exercising and not fuelling your body right. Carbs are not always the enemy! Without enough, the glycogen levels in your brain drop and you can be vague or cranky. Carbs are brain food, so make sure you haven’t cut them out too much that your body is using them all for physical energy and there is none left for brain power!
You’re sleeping too much or you’re able to get enough sleep. the body can see exercise, especially over exercise as a stressor and release stress hormones such as cortisol which makes getting a good nights sleep really difficult. Other times the body will just have difficulty staying awake. If your sleep patterns change, maybe its over exercise?!
Heavy legs. If your legs feel like a dead weight you are just not giving them enough time to repair and recover. While you would all know by now I train really hard and heavy weights and I suffer a lot from DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and may walk a little funny after a heavy or high volume leg day, my legs themselves, never feel heavy.
Are you getting sick more frequently or taking longer to recover from illness? This seems like a no brainer to me. You need to rest to let your body recover and fight the illness. Taking one day off training is better then training at half intensity for the next month cause you just cant shake the bug you caught.
If you are feeling sad or blue, and exercise doesn’t leave you feeling happier, then maybe its over exercising making you feel terrible in the first place. As I mentioned before, exercise is supposed to make your brain release endorphin’s which make you feel happy. If your brain isn’t producing these hormones then you need to reassess.
Do you feel sore for days on end? When you change the load you are putting on your body, it will take some time to adjust. But it should adjust. Our bodies are made to adapt and if you are continuing to over do it and not allowing it to recover it will never improve. Body builders train to grow their muscles and take at least 24-48 hours between training the same muscle group twice. they know to let the muscle rest and repair is essential in growing bigger muscles. Whilst most (all?) of you are not training to be body builders the same principles do apply here. To build more muscle (even a little more) will increase your metabolic rate, help you burn fat and lose the excess weight you want to lose. If these muscles don’t repair, they can’t grow and you will find it much more difficult to lose weight.
Take your rest days as seriously as your training and you’ll see a dramatic improvement over time!