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October 21, 2018: Overtraining

A question I get asked all the time is, “How many times a week do I need to work out?” Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all answer. The thing we need to watch out for is overtraining. While overtraining can occur in a variety of different ways, it typically results from a combination of hormonal, neuroendocrine, and nutritional imbalances that come from too much working out. This week, we’re talking about the dangers of overtraining and how you can keep from getting too much of a good thing with your exercise.

The signs of overtraining

Although it can produce positive outcomes, intense exercise done too frequently without sufficient rest can wreak havoc on your body and mind. More is not better. Seriously. Some of the signs and symptoms of overtraining can be:

  • Underperformance in your workouts

  • Extreme muscle soreness or stiffness during and in-between sessions

  • Unintentional weight loss (again, too much of what might be a good thing)

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Depression and/or anxiety

  • Sleep disturbances

What to do if you’ve overtrained

If you think you might have hit the gym too hard and are seeing symptoms of overtraining, a few simple changes can help promote recovery while minimizing stress. To assist in the recovery from overtraining, try the following:

  • Dietary modifications: Eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory Omega-3s and antioxidants can help with recovery. I always suggest that you add more fruit, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet, but it is especially important now to help manage inflammation from overtraining.

  • Rest: Some of you will LOVE this, others will hate it. I recommend five weeks of rest, which should include off and light training days, for sustainable recovery. Although you'll recover at your own rate depending on factors like your age, fitness level, lifestyle, and the severity at which you overtrained, steady and constant recovery should not be rushed.

I understand that we all have goals, and high-achievers like us are often willing to do most anything to reach those goals, but when we don’t listen to our bodies, that is when we can do real damage. Working out intensely 6 or 7 days in a row has been shown to do more harm than good - especially if it goes on for several weeks at a time. You will start to break down muscle, and with no recovery days, you’ll never give your body a chance to build and repair. So, slow your roll, Superwoman.

Next Sunday, we’ll talk about what shoes you should wear for different types of activity.

Do you have a friend who could stand to G(her)ST? Feel free to forward this!

I hope you have a wonderful week,


Kelly Morgan, Ph.D.

Tsirona -

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