Overtraining and Workout Fatigue: 6 Signs to Look Out For To Prevent Issues

overtraining and workout fatigue signs

Too much of a good thing can have negative consequences, and that certainly holds true when it comes to your training.

Striking the right balance between the amount of training you need to make gains, and not pushing yourself into prolonged fatigue, can be a challenge.

This is especially so if you’re still in the early stages of working out a high quality training program; however, overtraining can afflict absolutely anyone and sometimes it can be the most experienced amongst us who start to feel invincible and immune to the effects of overtraining – but nothing could be further from the truth.

If you feel that you’ve trained so hard over time that you are becoming weaker rather than stronger, slower rather than faster, more tired instead of more energetic: you are probably overtraining!

So what are symptoms of overtraining and workout fatigue?

Here are the most common tell-tale signs that you’ve pushed yourself too far.

Picking up on these clues early allows you to stop, evaluate, and take action to avoid worsening the outcome. Ultimately this then helps you to get back on track into a training schedule that is beneficial, rather than damaging.

6 Symptoms of Workout Fatigue and Overtraining:

1. Sore Muscles

While we know it’s normal to have sore muscles in the days after working out hard, but when the pain doesn’t subside for many days afterwards it’s a sign that something isn’t going right with your recovery.

Another sure fire sign of potential overtraining syndrome is that muscular soreness is affecting muscles that you haven’t even trained recently. When this happens, a break in training needs to be seriously considered.

2. Performance Decline

You know what you’re capable of, so if you’ve started to feel that you’re struggling to keep up with your regular routine and to reach your goals, or notice that you’re having too many off days where things aren’t going right in the gym, it’s time to stand up and take notice.

3. Increased Resting Heart Rate

Whether you regularly keep track of your resting heart rate or not, you’re likely to have a good idea of what feels normal. When you’ve overtrained and your body is fatigued due to lack of proper recovery, your resting heart rate can be elevated compared to its normal resting level.

The increased resting heart rate is a sure fire sign that your body is stressed and in fact, when the body is trying to fight off an illness the heart rate can also increase similarly – in other words, your body knows something is wrong and the heart is trying to compensate. Take this as a sign that you need to slow down.

4. Difficulty Sleeping

You might think that being completely exhausted would make it easier to get quality sleep, but insomnia is another sign of overtraining and excessive fatigue.

Feeling tired is one thing, but if you’re struggling to fall asleep then it could be because of your hormones and nervous system, as well as that increased heart rate, playing havoc with your resting patterns. and ability to relax to the point where you can fall asleep.

5. Lack of Motivation

Changes to your psychology, mental energy and overall mood and motivation are another critical sign of overtraining and workout fatigue.

Have you felt yourself having a shorter fuse? Feeling your self esteem drop? Lacking motivation to participate in your regular social life, or even your job? Depression setting in?

These are all signs of mental exhaustion, which goes along with the hormonal changes that are occurring as a result of overtraining. Again, resting up and re-evaluating your training and diet is required to halt and reverse these life-altering issues.

6. Sickness

You might notice yourself being more susceptible to catching the common cold or other infections. Because your body is fatigued from overtraining and lack of rest, your immune system is compromised.

A downward spiral can begin when you become ill and have an increasingly difficult time in fighting it off. Nipping any infections in the bud early on is vital, so you can then focus on recovery and boosting your immune system back to where it naturally should be.


Identifying the difference between that normal tired feeling after a workout, and suffering from overtraining is possible by considering the above symptoms and the period of time they affect you for.

Avoid these serious problems by knowing your body’s requirements for adequate recovery, and allowing that recovery to take its course – otherwise the cycle of overtraining syndrome will continue and can have some drastic long term consequences.