If your thoughts in the morning are automatically pulled apart by the question – “to workout or to not workout?”, then maybe you should consider taking the day off. If your normal workout routine is demanding, exercise caution not to overwork yourself by pushing your body to limits it can’t recover from. Instead of building up your strength as intended, refusing to take rest days just might yank your progress a few steps back.
Even the toughest of the tough need time to unwind, here are the most common signs you’re nearing the edge of a physical burn out:
1. Your heart rate isn’t normal
There’s only a few things that make your heart race, like competition or new gear to play with. If your heartbeat is thumping outside of these things, your heart rate may be elevated. An elevated heart rate is typically 10 beats per minute above normal.
Take your pulse rate in the morning and find out how your heart normally paces. If your heart is beating faster than it normally does, this can be from stress brought on by overtraining. Monitor your heart rates through handy fitness watches or through a fitness phone app.
2. You feel exhausted
You slept early last night but when you woke up, you were groggy as heck. What gives? If you feel exhausted, sore, or fatigued, this is a big sign that your central nervous system is too preoccupied trying to heal your muscles from an intense workout. The real body transformation happens when you’re sleeping, if you really want that muscle gain, give your body ample time to rest.
3. Your muscles are still sore after 2-3 days
Sore muscles are inevitable when you workout, but persistent soreness is a different story. Studies say that muscles need 24-72 hours to mend. If you’re sore for more than 3 days, that means you have delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. Your muscles are overworked and need more time than usual to recover. Overtraining or a poor workout routine can be the culprit if you groan everytime you move a specific limb. To avoid both from happening again, designate rest days for the week and find exercises that work best for your body.
4. You’re moody
Exercising regularly is known to boost a person’s mood, but if your workouts are doing the opposite, there’s something wrong. Mental fatigue is another symptom of overtraining. Your serotonin and cortisol levels become imbalanced when you’re physically burnt out. This induces anxiety and even puts you at risk of developing depression because of the constant pressure of fulfilling workouts. Take the mood swings as warning signs and add extra rest days so you can do your planks without getting weirdly irritated.
5. You’re getting sick
Too much of anything is always bad. Obviously, if your body is tired and overworked, it will drag down your immune system with it. Overtraining slows your recovery time from illnesses, i.e. colds and fevers. To effectively get rid of that clogged nose, stay in and give your body the chance to rest.
6. You have trouble sleeping
Tossing and turning all night? Overtraining can increase the level of stress hormones in your body, affecting the quality of your sleep. To fix your sleeping schedule, you have to fix your rest days too. If you want to feel energized on your next workout, don’t extend your troubles to your sleep, and allow your body to recover.
7. Your pee is dark yellow
There’s no such thing as “TMI” when it comes to your health. Most often, people forget to keep themselves hydrated while exercising, some even start their workouts already dehydrated. Your urine can be a good indicator that your body needs to bounce back from a recent dehydration. The darker the color of your urine, the more fluids you should drink. You need enough H2O to pass around, pair that with a rest day to keep your body in tip top shape.
8. Easy workouts become difficult
Suddenly, your normal weights feel too heavy or your body feels sluggish. If your usual workouts are harder to execute, that’s a solid indicator of overtraining. A good tip: if you’re still struggling after your warm up, best not to push through the whole workout and call it a day.
Don’t feel guilty for pulling the stops on your scheduled workouts. You can still be active during your rest days through low-impact workouts, like yoga, swimming, biking, and even dancing! Novice and seasoned athletes alike should have allotted rest days. No one is exempted from that, so do yourself a favor and know when to take it easy.