Is There Such Thing As Overtraining?

Thu, 16 Jan 2020

Yes, we get it. Many of you take your workouts seriously. However, have you been feeling sluggish and heavy, which your workout performance seemed to be diminishing as time went on? Hence, these are just some of the signs of 'overtraining'.

Rest assured: If you're clocking in around 5 hours a week on your hardcore gym workouts, you're probably aren't at any risk of overtraining your body. However, if you're clocking beyond that or hitting a drastic 20hrs worth of training time a week, you may be in the risk in causing possible borderline harm to your body. Yes, you can overtrain your body to the point that it may actually get weaker. 

You might be asking 'what are the other signs of overtraining' and 'what exactly is overtraining?' Fitlion has compiled a list of bite information which can aid you in preventing yourself from overtraining.

Let's begin!

What is 'Overtraining'?

According to, overtraining is a common problem in weight training, but runners and other athletes can also experience it. Hence, it occurs when the volume and intensity of the exercises exceed an individual's recovery capacity. Overtraining can eventually put your progress, and even strength or fitness to a screeching halt if you excessively over exhaust yourself.

Who suffers from 'Overtraining'?

Various sports scientists and coaches have indicated that 'Time-Crunched Athletes' who lead busy lifestyles, high-stress jobs, and poor nutrition can also hinder your body's recovery and further show signs of overtraining.

Hence, living in Singapore, where 92% of working adults are stressed, it is undeniable that Singaporeans are putting themselves at a higher risk of overtraining when it comes to working towards their fitness goals with their busy schedules.

Yes, this also means that overtraining is not just a problem for highly-trained athletes or competitive sports individuals who trained excessively. The imbalance between stress and recovery can happen to everyone at any fitness or training level.

Scientific studies have indicated that if you are less adaptive to a new sport or exercise (either you are less physically fit or new to a form of exercises), your threshold to reaching an overtrained state would be much lower. Thus, your body may have less capacity to absorb the physical demands from the 'new' or excessive workouts. The rapid increase in training intensity or workload may also have a higher chance of occurring when the individual is a novice or starting with minimal fitness level. 

In contrast, athletes who are accustomed to higher training intensity and workload tends to have a higher threshold before suffering from the overall effects of overtraining. However, overtraining is never a feat for any athletes or individuals to be gratified towards to.

Signs of 'Overtraining'

Overtraining does not have a single cause, but rather, results from a constellation of factors. It also does not happen overnight. You don't go from being fine to be overtrained in a week. It requires a prolonged period of imbalance. And, here are some of the signs to look out for!

Diminishing Performance

It's not just a background feeling of being tired and unable to recover. 

You would be able to observe the shortfall in your workouts and your body calling for a botch during your exercises. Other signs of diminishing performance could be 'not hitting your targets for intervals', and 'quitting intervals early'. Hence, you may feel sluggish and heavy, and it takes longer to recover hard efforts.

Stalled Performance

The relationship between workload and recovery is dysfunctional, and your acute workout performance is diminished. In result, the conditions for positive training adaptations would no longer exist. 

The overall signs of overtraining may make you feel like you're stuck in quicksand. You're working hard, but the longer you continue to struggle, the deeper you sink.

Emotional Volatility

Some people cry more than usual, others snap at their spouses and coworkers, but increased emotional volatility can be a sign of overtraining. It's a matter of amplitude, not the specific emotion. Your emotional responses are disproportionate for the situation, particularly compared to how you normally respond.

Lethargy and Low Motivation

You may be overtrained when you get to the point where every day it's a struggle to get out the door for your exercises. With you having a higher tendency to find more excuses to delay or skip your workout circuits, indicating that you're bored with your training, and you just don't want to do it anymore. Again, this can happen every once in a while during normal training. However, the prolonged feelings of lethargy and low motivation are certainly indications of a much bigger problem.


While you would think that a big mismatch between workload and rest would make it easy to sleep, the opposite is often true. Overtraining can lead to insomnia, disrupted sleep, or just less restful sleep.

Prone to Illness & Injuries

Your immune system and your body are taking too much of a beating and not getting enough time or support to recover. An athlete who is overtrained may experience frequent illnesses and illnesses that take longer than normal to go away. You may also be more susceptible to both overuse and acute injuries and are more likely to start getting a series of nagging injuries.

Hence, at Fitlion, we would like to suggest to anyone who has signs of overtraining to reassess their goals, plan up a healthier and conducive training regime to reach their ideal fitness level.

We hope that you will be able to pace yourself, take good care of your physical and mental health while trying to achieve your ideal fitness level.

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