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Fitness Goals: Are you working out or are you overworked?

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A perfect Instagram-friendly body is the dream and everyone is determined to achieve it. Lifting heavy weights, high interval intensity training, long gym hours, and rigorous workouts; people are stopping at nothing. Pushing yourself is an amazing thing to do, but where do you stop and draw the line?

To achieve good results from your time in the gym, you must find the balance and consistency; work out but don’t allow yourself to get carried away. Overworking in the gym has no specific signs; you can only know you are overdoing it if specific symptoms manifest. Next, we look at key signs that show you are overdoing it in the gym.

•Prolonged Muscle Soreness
It’s normal to have muscle cramps after training, but if the pain persists for more than 3 days, then you are probably overtraining. Also, if you find you are often too tired than usual and dreading your next trip to the gym, back off from your intense workouts.
Your body needs recovery periods after intense training sessions, and if you are in constant, relentless pain, then that’s a sign your body isn’t having enough recovery periods.

•You are Low on Energy
You may not be sick but you are constantly battling fatigue for days on end. This is a clear indication that your body may be finding it difficult to cope because you are exercising too much. Insomnia, extreme fatigue, and relentlessness all points to the fact that you are working too much and not giving your body enough recovery time.

Ideally, discuss with your fitness expert and see if you can swap intense workouts with light, fun activities such as; nature hikes, swimming, yoga, Zumba, tennis, frisbee, or basketball.

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•You Hit a Plateau
Isn’t it strange that you may be working so hard at the gym, but your athletic performance, speed, or strength never improves? This is a fitness plateau and it is one of the main indicators of overtraining.
Instead of pushing harder, stop and give your body a break.

Everybody is unique and there is no single one-size-fits-all strategy for measuring how much training is excessive. However, you can use the following tips to find a balance when working out.

#1. Get Enough Rest and Make Recovery Your Priority
Many people deprive themselves of sleep with the desire to accomplish more within a limited time, totally oblivious of the fact that they are depriving their bodies of the much-needed rest.

When you get enough hours of sleep, you give your body enough recovery period to maintain daytime productivity. Seven to eight hours of sleep and a regular catnap when necessary is enough prime to fully rest.
Use methods that actually work to treat sore muscles and stretch on a regular basis.

#2. Consistency is Crucial
Modern workout routines focus on physique-forward, strength, and speed techniques. However, exercise is not about a toned body, weights lifted, or miles covered. The most important part of any workout routine is consistency.
Listen to your body and understand its needs and limits. Exercise should be something you enjoy and not about pushing yourself beyond reasonable limits. The sense of achievement you get from intense workout is great, but it should not cost you your health.
Fitness gurus argue that consistency has more long-term benefits compared to all other fitness goals.

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#3. Set Reasonable Limits
After an hour of intense training, your body starts to experience stress as levels of cortisol begin to rise. High levels of cortisol in the blood can result in unwanted weight gain which is the complete opposite of your fitness goal.
Engaging in a 3-hour, high-intensity workout is a set up for overtraining.
One-hour sessions are more likely to yield the best results.

#4. Be Open to Change
Be open-minded to new workouts that can bring growth opportunities. You can introduce new routines and rep range into your sessions from time to time. When you keep your workouts fresh, you will not suffer from boredom because your body will be forced to adapt to new beneficial stimuli.

#5. Eat Clean
In a study published by the Journal of Sports Sciences, experts recommend that prevention is the best remedy for overtraining. Clean eating and sufficient nutritional intake reduce the chances of overtraining.
You need nutrients for energy as well as muscle and tissue recovery. Without proper nutrition, your body may be forced to use muscle mass for energy and this has negative effects on your health.

#6. Get Regular Massage
A good massage can help reduce muscle tightness, increase blood flow and minimize the accumulation of toxins and lactic acid in the bloodstream after an intense workout.
Regular massage will also improve your body’s general functionality.

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#7. Stay Hydrated
Water is important for all body functions including training. Dehydration can cause tissue injury because the body lacks enough fluids for nutrient transportation. When you drink enough water, your tissues accumulate fewer toxins and become more flexible.
Drink water and stay clear of artificially sweetened beverages or soft drinks with strange chemicals and ingredients you can barely pronounce.

#8. Supplement Intake
Experts recommend healthy supplement intake during periods of high-intensity training. Supplements can prevent injury and fasten the healing process.

#9. Create a Training Diary
With a training diary, you will be able to track your physical and emotional state before, during, and after a workout session. You can also monitor your heart rate and keep track of all the important variables to identify patterns.
You will understand the combinations that work best and make you feel great and those that affect you negatively. Eliminate negative variables and focus on the positive ones.

Apps and software programs can also help you keep track of your training.
Modify your training as soon as you experience signs of overtraining. Measure your exercise routine and make necessary adjustments before you sustain any injury, become overtrained, or fall sick. Seeking advice from experienced professionals, physical therapists or qualified physicians is also another option.

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