What are the negative affects of OVER-training?

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

Kristin Carmody

The downside of working out TOO much

Are you working out everyday twice or even three times a day and not seeing the results you are hoping for? Or just flat out feel exhausted? Well it might be because your hours spent at the gym/ fitness studio each day is actually making you feel worse.

Ever hear that the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you are consuming? Well yes and no. Of course calorie deficit is key to losing weight, however not at the expense of losing sleep and the power of relaxation an recovery. Sleep and rest are key, especially when following a strict workout routine. Read below how over-exercise might be doing you a disservice.

Here are just 5 harmful side affects to over-training:

1. Fatigue

Being active on a daily basis is a positive and healthy thing for the body. But what is too much? Over-training can lead to exhaustion making you feel extremely fatigued.

Intolerable amounts of stress to the body can take a toll on your body mind and soul. When your psychological state cannot withstand the stress, it can lead to physical problems as well. This can leave you sore, tired and just flat out run down which is why rest is so important when having a working routine.


2. Difficulty Sleeping

When your body is fatigued mentally and physically, this might interrupt with your sleeping patterns. If you are going to the gym and putting your body through stress, the one thing it craves most is sleep and recovery. So when you deprive your body of that, you can do serious damage to your overall health.

One of the side affects to lack of sleep is actually weight gain, which might be another reason why people that are over-training cannot lose weight or see the results they are looking for. Lack of sleep can affect mental, physical, emotional and even our hormonal state. Which is why the proper amount of sleep is key for overall health.

However, when exercising just enough and not over-training, sleep tends to be something that improves. All in all, too much of anything is not good.


3. Decreased Performance

One of the things that - lack of sleep, fatigue and over-training can do- is create exhaustion. According to NASM (2018),"Exhaustion is the prolonged stress that is intolerable and will produce exhausted or distress to the system". When we put our body is stress overload is can lead to stress fractures, muscle strains, joint pain and even emotional fatigue. This in turn can actually decrease our performance in the gym or fitness routine. So, if you are trying to see an increase performance working out, sleep and recovery is crucial in order to get back in the gym feeling powerful and healthy!


4. Altered Hormones

Let's talk about cortisol. According to NASM (2018), "Cortisol is typically referred to as the catabolic hormone. Under times of stress, such as exercise, cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands and serves to maintain energy supply through the break-down of carbohydrates, fats and protein". So, to say the least cortisol plays a major role in our fitness routine within our bodies. However, here is the thing, high levels of cortisol aka (caused by OVER-TRAINING/ STRESS) can lead to a significant breakdown of muscle tissue, appetite enhancement, poor sleep and much more. Therefore, letting too much stress in our bodies, can affect so much more than our looks, but our mental and emotional state.


5. Compromised Immunity

We all know that working out and staying active is one of the key ingredients for a healthy immune system! But what if I were to tell you that working out TOO much could actually be compromising your immune health? As read above over-training can negatively affect your performance, stress levels, sleep patterns and hormones. Well one of the other ingredients to a healthy immune system is sleep, rest and recovery! Our body needs to recharge in order to stay energized. Remember, you cannot recharge someones battery if you are on low!


SO - if your wondering why you might be tired or not getting the results you are looking for, yet you are exercising hours a day- this might be why! Practice meditation, yoga and other gentle exercises within your routine to let your body rest and recover!


Follow me for health inspiration @thefitbizz


1. NASM (2018). NASM essentials of personal fitness training, 6th edition.

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