by Martyn Ford April 27, 2018

NEWSFLASH……. we are ALL human!  I am very sorry to break this news to you.  While many will claim over training is not a real issue, it very much is! Not only that, but I can personally vouch for this on more than one occasion. The most likely people to be affected by this vicious cycle are the:

  • Focused
  • Dedicated
  • Obsessed
  • Hungry

individuals of this world, who very much believe that they are never good enough, never doing enough and can always do more. Unfortunately, there comes a point when you actually can’t do any more. Physically, your body won’t allow you, therefore, it’s key that you really listen to your body and read all the signals.

Overtraining is basically when we put more stress on the system than it can cope with. The body cannot recover in time before the next session. We then end up getting weaker, not stronger. As the body is breaking down, it is crumbling, which is a bad place to be. This leaves you vulnerable to all sorts of injuries and illness even.  When the body is run down, we are weak and open ourselves up to:

  • Joint injury
  • Muscle strains and tears
  • Breakdown of bone density
  • Degenerative bone and joint disorders
  • Common colds
  • Flu like symptoms

A weak immune system will leave you feeling tired, miserable and demotivated. Some will try and convince you it’s just laziness when it really isn’t. If you are dedicated, work hard and are focused, your performance may be faltering along with your passion.  You are most likely burnt out, and a few rest days alongside a more structured routine, are needed. 

How It Happens

You will see this so often; we start training 3 or 4 times a week, take on a good diet, a good fitness plan and achieve steady results. When results are hit, we want more. Therefore, we add an extra day, then an extra hour. We go for 45 minutes, 4 times a week to an hour of fasted cardio, an hour of resistance training followed by post training cardio. Before you know it, you have become sucked in to the old adage that more is better. IT IS NOT! We need rest to get stronger, recover and grow. The target should be to work harder in the sessions, not necessary longer. 

Clear symptoms of over training are:

  • Persistent muscle soreness
  • Elevated resting heart rate
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Increased incidence of injuries
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Loss of motivation
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss

Rest is KEY.  If your workload far exceeds your rest, you are unable to recover, and by not recovering, you are creating a real problem. To see improvements in fitness and strength, you need to pull back and allow for that magic rest period following the intense training, to take place. Remember, although losing weight may seem good to some, if you’re losing weight due to overtraining and stress, it is most likely muscle and water weight...not fat. 


If you are anything like me, taking a break is almost impossible. However, you must try to step back and see the bigger picture. Take into consideration that we have a long-term plan. 

I find that since I have been tracking my performance, having a break and then seeing progression really allows me to relax and understand a break is not being lazy; it is simply part of the process. I would suggest a minimum of 2 days rest per week and even consider a full week of rest every 8-10 weeks of training. Be active, just avoid the gym. 

We are all different. Some will recover faster than others. This is why recording sessions and results are so useful. We can really gauge then what is working.

Martyn Ford
Martyn Ford

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