Have you ever felt like you dominated your fitness regimen, decided to advance to the next level and then found yourself feeling unmotivated? You probably wondered, "How did that happen?" Surprisingly, the situation could be a classic example of overtraining. When you typically love exercising and going to the gym but all the sudden can't stand the thought, you need a break. Here are five other instances where it might be worth taking a rest day:
- You're having trouble sleeping: Too much exercise can impact how much sleep you get at night and affect sleep quality. In one study, 13 cyclists competed at a higher level of intensity over two days. Researchers found that while the cyclists spent more time in bed, they reported that they were getting less sleep than before. Sleep is critical for tissue and muscle repair, too, so you're going to need plenty of it before you conquer your next challenging workout.
- You can't concentrate: Overtraining can affect your hormones , leading to mood swings and difficulty concentrating. When this happens, it' a good idea to stop going at your current rate and prevent yourself from overdoing it more. You may want to consider taking a few days off until you feel like you're back to normal.
- You're not seeing progress: You're working out six days a week and eating clean but notice you haven't made any progress. The solution isn't to bump up the six days a week to seven; it most likely will be to scale back and possibly include a few lower-impact exercises to let your body have time to recover. Try it and see if you recognize any changes.
- Your normal workout is harder than usual: Do you usually find running five miles and then weightlifting a few sets to be a breeze but now it seems nearly impossible to complete? Overtraining is probably the culprit. The best path forward is to allow yourself a few rest days.
- You're painfully (as in you can't move) sore: Ever added something new to your fitness routine and then found yourself unbearably sore? It' a sign that you need to take some time to rest and recover. It' always tough when you're trying out new workouts to know when you've hit the overtraining limit, but the best plan is always to err on the side of caution.