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I'm currently working out 5-6 days a week, typically 3 days of weights and 2-3 of HIIT/Tabata. My focus is on strength and endurance training (not size). When I feel tired I take a day off...some days I work out twice. My questions is: What signs of over training should I be on the look out for? So far, I'm happy with my progress and overall health.

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    For me, its mental sluggishness, tiredness and general lack of energy. When it hits, you'll know about it trust me. But if you feel good with your current programme, there's no need to take more rest. – Nobody Apr 14 '11 at 11:56
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    Pains that aren't symmetrical across your body. For example, having a pain on your left knee but not your right. – Brent Labasan Apr 14 '11 at 19:20
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    @Ivo the link you provided has hardly anything to do with the question, you ARE aware of that? – K.L. Oct 29 '12 at 12:35
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Common warning signs of overtraining include:

  • Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy
  • Mild leg soreness, general aches and pains
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Sudden drop in performance
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Decreased immunity (increased number of colds, and sore throats)
  • Decrease in training capacity / intensity
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Depression
  • Loss of enthusiasm for the sport
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased incidence of injuries.
  • A compulsive need to exercise
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As long as your progress is still good, you should be fine. When it starts to slow, stop, or reverse then you want to consider the possibility that it's because of overtraining.

Another thing to look for is pain that doesn't seem "quite right". It sounds like you've been working out enough to know the difference between normal muscle soreness and something like a muscle pull or other kind of strain. When in doubt, my suggestion is to err on the side of rest if it's a concern about pain.

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  • @Ardvark-just a quick question on your post - I stopped training (competitive swimmming) for two months due to overtraining. I've been back training now for about three months and have had to stop again due to overtraining (again). Do you think the overtraining never really left in the first place? I am definitely erring on the side of caution, more this time than the last time. Do you think this will be a continuous occurance? Thanks! – Bee Jul 12 '12 at 11:58
  • This is pretty bad advice. When you have over trained to the point that it affects your ability to train/advance your body is way stressed and you will need significant time (up to several months) to fully recover and get back to a point where you can progress as you did before. Generally, it is advised to take an easy week every 4th to 5th week to avoid burnout. Note that easy doesn't mean you have to stop working out all together, just reduce both volume and resistance by about 50% or so. – Tehninjo0 Mar 11 '19 at 0:44
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I would have to agree with RMX that high-intensity weight training can cause mental sluggishness.

For me, over-training might mean edgy mood and thoughts racing through my head. This sometimes causes reduced appetite and inability to fall asleep. There are general signs of mental stress. I see these signs in athletes of competitive sports, such as ping-pong or fencing.

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  • inability to fall asleep and anxiety in general? – hhh Nov 15 '14 at 21:01
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    I would not go as far as linking over-training and anxiety. I would say though that past a certain breaking point, tiredness can cause difficulty with falling asleep. – GregC Nov 17 '14 at 2:41

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