How Can You Tell If You Are Exercising Too Much?

According to NHS guidelines, adults aged 19-64 should try to be physically active every day and aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week and strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles.

Ideally, weekly exercise sessions should be a mix between moderate and vigorous levels, but it is advised that this is always complemented by activities which will strengthen our bodies main muscle groups, including legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.

Of course, those undertaking a training plan to achieve specific personal goals may exceed the above minimum recommendations. Chances are – especially if they are working under the supervision and support of a professional Personal Trainer – that they are doing so safely, with no risk to their health or well-being but how can you tell when you reach the point of over-exercising?

What exactly is over-exercising?

Over-exercising or overtraining occurs when you are pushing yourself too hard or too quickly - i.e. the intensity or the duration of your training is simply too high. Fitness programmes need to be built up gradually and failure to do this, and instead leap-frog to something which feels highly challenging (and therefore perhaps feels like it must be more effective), can be dangerous. 

‘Newbies’ who are at the beginning of their fitness journey are often at risk, moving too quickly from no exercise at all to a very aggressive schedule in an attempt to get fit or lose weight as quickly as possible, but again this desired outcome is almost never achieved and indeed the symptoms of over-exercising may put those individuals off forever!!

It’s not just about the level of exertion

Over- exercising also occurs when you are not incorporating enough rests in your workout or skipping the all-important rest days, or when you’re not getting enough nutrition or sleep to put your body in the best shape to succeed. Even those trying to lose weight still need to ensure that their bodies have the fuel they need for the level of activity and the importance of good quality sleep can never be over-estimated.

If you are following a programme constructed by a reputable and professional Personal Trainer, the length and intensity of your workouts will be designed specifically to take you safely from your starting point to a level which is suitable for your body, ensuring that you do no damage whilst still moving towards your ultimate fitness, weight and toning goals.

If you construct your own training plans, how do you know if you are exercising too much?

Here are some tell-tale signs: -

  • Muscle soreness for more than 3 days afterwards
  • Getting sick more often due to a reduced immune response
  • Experiencing injuries on a regular basis
  • Constantly feeling tired, low on energy or particularly irritable
  • Feeling tired or weak in the middle of your workout
  • Having an increased ‘at rest’ heart rate

Give yourself the best chance of success and avoid the pitfalls

If you start to suffer from any of the above signs of over-exercising I advise that you seek assistance from a Personal Trainer and strip things back to something which will allow you to achieve what you want without these serious, unhealthy side-effects. The ‘Personal’ part of the job title refers to the fact that you are receiving a programme designed specifically for you, based on your age, weight, size, fitness and ability levels. With me there are no guesses involved, just the application of experience and expertise gained over 15 years of working with clients from all walks of life.