A week ago, followed by 4-5 months of high intensive training I decided to take a break from the gym. I felt very disappointed and discouraged as I was training very hard and there were no gains, unfortunately just the opposite.

These are the following indicators I believe implied that I was overtraining, but I ignored them:

  1. Small gains in muscles, sometimes just the opposite – losing muscle and feeling weak.
  2. Generally fatigue (all the day).
  3. Difficult to sleep.
  4. Difficult to wake up in the morning.
  5. I had red spots between the biceps and the forearm – the part which is opposite of the elbow, I don't know how it is called.

I am also pretty sure I'm experiencing overtraining because the following:

  1. Each workout I trained in very high intensity for 2 hours.
  2. I trained almost every day.
  3. Each workout from the beginning till last week ( 4-5 months ) I trained to failure.

Although it is very hard for me to take a pause from the gym, I did it.

I have been learning so much about bodybuilding these days. In this forum and in the internet. I bought books related to bodybuilding and strength training for the first time in my life. I decided to stop going to the gym with no preparation and 0% knowledge.

Actually I'm pretty angry at myself that I never tried to study the theoretical part and just trained as hard as I can. I always believed this is enough. I spent so much time in the gym, If I do a simple calculation It would be 6 days a week * 2 hours of training = 12 hours per week.

I'm 26 years old, I work as a software developer and I'm an undergraduate student which puts a lot of pressure on me, but my will to success always pushed me so strong although there were no gains. You may understand me, when you are so busy in your life and you have no time to go out with your friends, speak in the phone and etc. – you also don't find the right time to sit down and ask yourself if you can fix the issue.

The only reason I decided to stop is due to Passover. I'm on vacation now(PTO) and I have time to think more deeply about my life. Luckily I didn't hurt my study, It goes well BUT I did hurt some aspects in my life – It might be the reason why I don't have a girlfriend, why I'm little depressed being occupied all the time by work/study and gym.

So I shared with you as much as I can to ask you about my return. Assuming I'm expireinceing overtraining and asssuming It did hurt me mentally (as you can see above) how much time do you believe I need to rest until my CNS will regenerate? When do you believe I can come back to the gym?

Two days ago I believed I can come back after a week while all I'm doing this week is studying (for school purpose) and also reading a lot of bodybuilding/strength articles all over the internet.

I just found an article at bodybuilding.com which specifics that if someone has been overtraining for 3-5 days, a one week rest is enough but for someone who has been overtraining much more than that, weeks to months are required to fully recover. Is it correct, what is the best indicator to come back to the gym? Can I do other stuff until the recovery is done (swimming, running, abs) ?

Thank you very much,


  • Sounds nearly identical to my situation, except I probably have a bit more free time since I've finished by Bachelor's Degree. I also workout/lift 6 days a week, as well as MMA training 3-4 days a week. I think if you re-design your workout routine (to be sustainable for 6 days a week), you can get back on track once you've "recovered". I would try more relaxing exercises until then, like swimming and yoga.
    – Taylor K.
    Mar 27, 2013 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


In general, the best indicator that you can return to practice is that you feel more positive about it. However, since you have been "addicted", you should be suspicious of your feelings and have some measurable "toll gate" indicators, e.g. social life, less fatigue and less sleep problems, before you go back to the gym.

Also, I would get a system in place that stops you from training too hard, e.g. register training in Firstbeat software and follow its recommendation on training effect for workouts. This could limit you from doing too much high intensity training.

Until you have the green light from the toll gate indicators in place and a measurement system in place, I would do something different, e.g a team sport.

  • 1
    First of all, thank you. Secondly, what about flexability? Can I do stretches every day ? Mar 27, 2013 at 14:27
  • 3
    Yes, stretching should not tax your systems. However, static stretching for flexibility should only be done after the muscles are warm and loose, otherwise you increase the risk of injury and the stretches are less effective.
    – JohnP
    Mar 27, 2013 at 14:39

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