You can’t get too much of a good thing, right? Well, according to a PT, you absolutely can. Gym-goers are risking their health by “over exercising”, which is not only keeping them up at night, lowering their mood and making them ill, but is actually weakening their bodies. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, 3% of gym members consider themselves “dependant” on exercise, so what are the signs to look out for when you get back from your workout? PT Jason Briggs at fitness brand Shoe Hero reveals the telltale signs you need to cut back on the gym.
1. Pint after pint of water…
Drinking plenty of fluids during and after your workout is great, but if you can’t shake that thirst, then you might need to have a break for a few days. “If you are training everyday, then your body is constantly breaking down muscle tissue,” says Jason. “This process naturally causes dehydration, therefore the body will crave large amounts of water. If you’re constantly thirsty, you may want to think about cutting down on your routine.”
2. When the post-gym buzz turns to blues
Regular exercise is a great way to release endorphins, which is why we often leave the gym feeling so good about ourselves. Because of this, you’d think the more workouts you cram into the week, the better your mood? Not exactly. Over exercising can actually create a hormone imbalance, which in turn will cause mood swings and irritability.
3. Counting sheep
A gym session is a great way to tire yourself out, but as you exercise more and more, your body tries to keep you going. If you don’t know when to quit, then neither will your brain. The nervous system can go into overdrive, constantly providing you energy in the middle of the night, keeping you up. So if you’re struggling to fall asleep at night, or can’t seem to focus at work, maybe take a look at how much exercise you’re doing.
4. Loss of appetite
One of the most important things to consider when you’re working out is keeping yourself fuelled up. This will become much harder if you find you don’t have an appetite. If you do a lot of exercise in the week but don’t have the stomach for your meals, then try cutting down the gym seshes until you’re back to your old self.
5. Can’t shake that cold?
You may think constant exercise will only make you stronger, but you might be doing some serious damage to your immune system. According to Jason Griggs, working your body too hard puts it in a constant state of recovery leaving it unable to fight off colds as it usually does. If you’re always finding yourself with a runny nose and sore throat, it might just be time to give your body a rest.
6. Fitness burn out
Pushing yourself that little bit further can be great, but doing so too much might cause your fitness to flatline or – at worst – decline. Sure, exercise is needed to make your body stronger, but only when it gets a chance to rest. As Jason puts it, “essentially, your body finds its own way to recover if you do not present it with one”. Between workouts, make sure you’re fully recovered before the next, or the results will just get worse.
7. Is it all becoming a chore?
Perhaps the most obvious sign: if you really cannot be bothered to go to the gym, that might be your bodies way of begging for some rest. Of course, if you’re only working out casually, then that voice saying “don’t go!” is only normal. But if you’re usually a workout-fanatic, then such a lack of motivation is probably a sign you need to reign it in a bit.
Still worried you’re doing something wrong in your workouts? Here’s our list of five fitness mistakes we’ve all made.