4 Warning Signs You’re Overtraining - insidefitnessmag.com

And How to Fix Them

Written by Tim Rigby, M.A., NSCA-CPT and Brought to you by PVL Supplements

To make the most out of your training and maximize your gains, you must hit that proverbial “sweet spot” of training in such a way that’s not too little, and not too much. Unfortunately, once many of us observe the gains we’ve achieved from our early stages of training, we often ramp up the volume substantially, thinking there’s a direct correlation to results. It’s only human nature to expect this to happen, but in reality, it’s very easy to fall into the habit of overtraining. This is actually something you need to take quite seriously, because regular overtraining will not only blunt your gains, but also affect your health and take a psychological toll which can negatively affect your family life, work and personal relationships. So, let’s take a look at 4 of the most common overtraining warning signs and see just how you can fix them – or avoid them altogether:


After you’ve made initial gains and built up a solid foundation, the right volume of training should allow you to make progressive increases in performance consistently. Gains do not move in a perfectly straight line, but generally over time you should keep getting stronger and more muscular. The rate at which you develop will be highest at the beginning, since you’re essentially going from ground zero. However, if you’ve built yourself up to the level where you can, say, bench 200 pounds or squat 300 pounds, but notice you haven’t advanced your strength for two or three weeks, you’re likely overtraining.

Quick Fix: Monitor your training volume. Overdoing it can come in the form of either using too much resistance (weight), performing too many reps per set, performing too many sets, or training too often. Look back on what gave you success in the first place and leverage that knowledge to adopt a more conservative approach to these four elements.


Feeling moderately sore the day after workout comes with the territory. It’s not something to be shunned, nor avoided altogether, but if you notice what seems to be excessive soreness – or even pain – then something is amiss. Yes, lifting progressively heavier weights can cause a natural, expected increase in soreness, but as your body builds muscle and adapts to heavier resistances, you shouldn’t be so sore that it becomes a bother (or affects your next training session). Pain from an injury has the potential to set you back for a considerable length of time, so it’s vital to recognize this type of overtraining.

Quick Fix: Focus on technique more than anything, even if you have to lower the amount of weight used. As we grow more confident in our weightlifting ability over time, we expect not to fail when we perform a set. This often leads to cheating and the compromising of sound form. Although we may complete an artificial “rep”, we expose ourselves to injury and strains. Be patient, check your ego at the door, and keep training – but in a safer way.


Even if your training volume and intensity remain the same, a lack of sleep or proper rest will absolutely erode your gains. There’s just no way that merely “managing to get by” will allow you to grow and recover. We often make the mistake of prioritizing the training effort first, without due consideration for the sleep necessary to recover. When you’re planning your training program, it’s actually a good idea to figure out how much sleep you’re going to get, given all of your life’s responsibilities and obligations. From there, you can plan your training volume and intensity. Just remember – although you get an immediate pump in your muscles when training, it’s during sleep where you actually build solid muscle.

Quick Fix: In addition to the aforementioned strategy, you should also pay attention to whether you have difficulty either falling asleep or staying asleep. Also, monitor your resting heart rate – if it’s higher than normal, that’s a giveaway you’re training too much, so reduce the level accordingly


Supplements are available to you – and they work – so if you’re not using them (or merely using them inadequately or infrequently), you’re really blunting your capacity for gains. In conjunction with the right amount of training, solid nutrition, high water intake and sleep, supplements can make an enormous difference to your success. This applies to all fitness goals including muscle building, strength increases and getting cut and lean. Not using them will make it more likely you fall into a state of overtraining, but there’s a really simple fix.

Quick Fix: Take your supplements. Read the label and follow the recommended dosages, which are often predicated by your body weight. Protein, BCAAs, glutamine and creatine all go a long way to improving recovery. An excellent post-workout supplement to help you avoid overtraining is TOTAL RELOAD from PVL. It’s packed with BCAAs, electrolytes, lactic acid buffers, vitamins and minerals. These are all to your training advantage, so use them!
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