Overtraining: What is it and Why Should You Avoid It?

Are you someone that is obsessed with getting your regular workouts each week?  If so, it is great that you are so dedicated to your health and that you are willing to work so hard in order to stay healthy.  At the same time, it is important that you make certain you are not overtraining, as overtraining can possibly be as harmful to your health as not exercising on a regular basis.

Understanding Overtraining

Overtraining is a phenomenon that occurs when you exercise too much without allowing your body to have the time it needs to properly recover.  While this problem usually occurs more often with weight training programs, it is possible to overtrain with cardio exercises as well.  Although some people think that overtraining will help them reach their fitness goals faster, overtraining can actually slow down your progress.

The Negative Effects of Overtraining

There are many negative side effects associated with overtraining.  For example, a person that engages in overtraining may experience all of the following negative side effects:

· Fatigue
· Increased injury risk
· Insomnia
· Irritability
· Loss of appetite
· Loss of muscle tissue
· Muscle soreness

Obviously, these side effects are counterproductive and will not help you achieve your fitness goals. Therefore, it is in your best interest to take steps to help you avoid overtraining and causing these negative side effects to occur.

Avoiding Overtraining

The simplest way to avoid overtraining is to take breaks between workouts.  Rather than engaging in weight training every day, you should be sure to give your muscles a break a couple of days every week.  Or, if you want to engage in weight training every day, focus on different muscle groups each day so your muscles can have the recovery time they need.  You may also need to reduce the intensity of your workout in order to avoid overtraining.  One option is to push yourself really hard one day and then engage in an easier workout the following day. 

Many people choose to either workout every other day in order to avoid overtraining or they engage in weight training every other day and focus on cardio training on the off days.  This way, you can effectively build muscle mass while also working on your heart and your overall level of health.