Monday, August 23, 2010

Overtraining Syndrome: Knowing the Symptoms

Are you working hard, but instead of feeling that energetic spark that you’re supposed to get from exercise, you’re feeling tired and drained? Do you feel like you’ve hit a wall with your progress and you can’t seem to run any faster or do any better? In fact, do you feel like your athletic abilities are waning? Maybe it is time to consider the possibility that you are overtraining. This can happen to anyone when you are just working your body too hard. You may be very surprised that by taking an extra day of rest or scaling back on the intensity or duration of a few workouts each week your performance improves. Resting is an integral part of any training/exercise program that must be observed to achieve optimal performance and health benefits. Here are some signs to let you know if you are experiencing Overtraining Syndrome. This list is brought to you by ACSM’s Resource Manual For Guidelines For Exercise Testing and Prescription, 5th edition.

Functional Indicators:
1. Decline in physical performance and early onset of fatigue.
2. Decreased desire to train or decreased enjoyment from training or competition.
3. Loss of muscle strength, coordination, and maximal working capacity,
4. Increased submaximal heart rate. (This means that your heart rate is becoming higher at rest and during moderate exercise)
5. Prolonged recovery from typical training sessions or competitive events.
6. Presence of tenderness and soreness in muscles and joints.
7. Overuse injuries.

Metabolic and Psychologic Indicators:
1. Loss of appetite and body weight loss.
2. GI disturbances; occasional nausea.
3. Increased susceptibility to upper respiratory infections (altered immune function).
4. Emotional instability characterized by general fatigue, apathy, depression, and irritability.
5. Sleep disturbances.

Motivational Monday:
I exercise because it gives me more energy to get through the day!


  1. Good information. Sadly, I don't think I'm in danger of overtraining syndrome.

  2. Interesting post! I don't think I meet the criteria here, but I was curious about something. Every time I do a long run (7+ miles), I am wiped out unless I can get in a nap. Is that normal?

  3. statmom: Yes it is pretty normal when you are new to longer runs. Just make sure you are hydrating well and getting a nice snack after your run. That does help, but to some extent, you're just going to be tired. That should get better!