How much is too much?

Overtraining and the effects it has on your body.

“No Pain, no gain,” right? When it comes to weightlifting and training, this isn’t always the case. While the feel of soreness after a great workout makes us all feel accomplished, our bodies need as much rest as they do physical activity. When we disregard our bodies’ plea for rest, the dangerous effects of overtraining begin to set in.

Overtraining is common among athletes who have strenuous workouts and rigid schedules. However, it can happen to anyone. Too much exercise hurts your body just as much as too little. When you push your body past its limit, you stop making gains because your body lacks the rest and nutrition to maintain positive progress.

Although challenging our bodies is the only way to progress, there’s a limit to the amount of work your body can handle. When exercise becomes something you dread or you have stopped seeing changes in your body, something in your routine has gone wrong.

When you lift weights, you’re breaking down and tearing the muscle tissue. So if you don’t take days off, your muscles will never have time to recover and grow. If you wish to continue making physical progress, days of rest and recovery are important. Rest allows our muscles to rebuild and promotes growth. It also helps psychologically to prevent people from getting burned out.

Overtraining often occurs from working out for too long of a duration. While working out, our bodies produce hormones that play a role in fat loss and muscle growth.

These hormones begin to circulate and reach their peak within a short range of time. If you workout for too long, hormone levels start to decline and cause negative effects. Some of the common symptoms of overtraining are lethargy, increased heart rate, lack of appetite, weakened immunity and irritability. One way to avoid overtraining would be to split up your cardio and weight sessions – keeping each of them to one hour or less.

Weight training and cardiovascular exercise are very important but within certain limits. Overtraining can result in injuries and even fatal accidents. If you find that you’re experiencing the symptoms of overtraining, your body needs rest. Usually a break from the weight room will do the trick. You can also seek the advice of a professional who can offer you specific advice based on your needs. Most importantly, listen to your body. If you want your body to work for you, you have to work for it.

Billy Katz and Hudson Ellis are the co-owners of Simply Fit gyms,
located throughout the New Orleans area. Please e-mail your health and fitness questions to

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