This Is Your Body on Overtraining


According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, overtraining is defined as “excessive frequency, volume, or intensity of training, resulting in fatigue, which is also caused by a lack of proper rest and recovery.” Some examples of this include frequently running long distances without proper rest periods, strength training the same body part over and over again with little to no variation, or any other activity that will continuously place stress on the body.

Everyone is different and what may lead to overtraining for one person could be a normal workout routine for another. For example, a more established runner may be able to run long distances in close proximity, where another may decide to run double digits back to back and wind up with a stress fracture.

While the factors that lead to overtraining are different from person to person and fitness level to fitness level, the symptoms are generally the same:

  • decreased performance
  • fatigue
  • altered hormonal states
  • poor sleeping patterns
  • decreased immunity
  • loss of appetite
  • mood disturbances
  • stress fractures
  • muscle strains
  • joint pain

Ways to avoid overtraining

In both cardio and resistance types of training, doing too much too fast can lead to problems down the road. Both types of exercise require building upon a base level in order to achieve success as you progress.

Stage Training

In terms of cardio training, staging is key. There are three different heart rate stages (I, II, and III) that increase in demand and perceived exertion. Progressing from one stage to the next allows for continual adaptation and lessens the chances of overtraining. A person must be able to perform successfully in stage one before moving to stage two and so on. Sample activities for each of the three stages are walking/jogging, group exercise and sprinting, respectively.


Periodization refers to the “division of a training program into smaller, progressive stages.” Similar to stage training for cardio, periodization breaks resistance training into stages that allow the body to acclimate and then adapt to the stresses being placed on it. It allows for a more balanced approach to training where the focus is not on one specific body part for a prolonged period of time.

Listen to (and respect!) your body

Your body is the most important indicator that you may be overtraining. Pay special attention to any aches, pains, or issues that may come up during your training. Investigate the source of any ailments and respect what your body is trying to tell you. Remember to take appropriate rest days and get enough sleep so that your body can rest and repair.

Endurance Move Recovery & Mobility

About Erin Bahadur

Erin is the founder of the blog Erin’s Inside Job and she uses it as a way of sharing her story and helping others learn about health, fitness, overcoming obstacles and having a powerful voice in the community. A recovering addict, Erin is also an accomplished athlete, has run multiple races and ran her first half marathon in September. From recipes to workouts, reviews and tips for healthy living, readers find inspiration and interesting stories every week. She recently moved to Chicago in November and is currently pursuing her personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and interning to coach at a local studio. She is enjoying the short time that she has been in the city and hopes to create long lasting connections with the great members of the health and fitness community in Chicago!