Nutrition Recovery Science Sleep Uncategorized

How to know if you are over-trained?

Do you want to know what overtraining is? How can you know if you are overtraining and more....

Since bodybuilding is a physical sport, a lot of people run into some problems inevitably, if you want to know what are negative physiological indicators or over training symptoms. Keep reading.

So a lot of people explain to you that there is no such thing as over training, others say that you should deload every 4 week. So who is right and how can you know how to listen?



Even tho it has been shown that there is no real risk of muscle loss in 1 or 2 weeks of not training, specially if you keep your diet in check. There is also no need for a deload if it is not necessary. Let me explain this;

You are progressing, you feel great, your recovery is on point, you do not have symptoms of over training, but you deload because someone told you to deload every 4th week. That week of progress will be lost. In this case there was no real benefit on deloading.

In other case let’s suppose you have been training for 7 weeks and you are having a lot of labor stress, besides of that you are cutting and you haven’t been sleeping well, you experience headaches and joint pain as well as low libido. Then the right thing to do in that situation is optimize sleep, nutrition, and maybe even some relaxation for a week to let your body and mind recover from the added stress of your workouts.

These two examples are great for the day to day lifter, this means that after a period of time you will definitely be able to tell the difference for when you need to deload and when you don’t. I advise this because knowing your body will give you a lot of benefits when it comes to bodybuilding. Of course you don’t have to wait for a lot of over training symptoms to develop to deload, many people including myself will notice a few weeks before when something if “off” like becoming very irritated, feeling weak in workouts despite good nutrition, having unusual DOMS, and the list goes on.

Overtraining symptoms:

  • Imbalance of the endocrine system
  • Suppression of the immune system
  • Depressed Physical Profile
  • Joint and or physical Pain
  • Poor performance



photo of man touching his head

People often argue what is the best training frequency, volume and the best exercises. The simple truth is that there is not a one size fits all. Let me give you examples, if you don’t recover well from 5- training days with high volume you should reconsider your routine. If you have trouble recovering from 12-15 heavy sets per muscle group, you may want to reduce that training volume, if your buddy built a big chest with weighted dips but when you perform the exercise you simply don’t feel right and have elbow pain, maybe it’s time to ditch the weighted dips.

Pain, swelling, excessive soreness, low energy levels, low libido,  they are all negative physiological indicators, which mean that you likely need to change something on your training program that is causing the issue. That’s how you need when you need a deload and why, do you have more suggestions? Let me know in the comments.


If you happen to be over trained then you can take some steps to recover from your workouts. You first need to make sure that you optimize your training, nutrition and sleep.  Here is what you can do to improve your ability to recover from though workouts:


  • Eat more protein
  • Eat at maintenance or in a slight surplus
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables
  • Eat foods with fiber to improve digestion


  • Reduce your days in the gym
  • Do higher reps
  • Reduce your volume
  • Do not over do the cardio
  • Have at least one complete rest day in the week


  • Sleep 7-9 hours per day
  • Try to have a nap in the day of 30 min to 1 hour (if you can)
  • Sleep in a comfortable temperature
  • Do not drink water 2 hours before sleeping
  • Get a weighted blanket
  • Use night mode in your smartphone or computer
  • Do not train at night
  • No caffeine at night

Those are guidelines you can follow, check this articles out for more information about recovery and sleeping: How to sleep better

If you follow this advice, you will see an increase on your ability to recover from your workouts. Not only that but you will likely feel a lot better through the day and have more energy, not to mention that you will also become healthier as a side effect of taking care of yourself. Every point of this list is important and will contribute to a great recovery process. Remember that training is only good if you can recover from the stimulus you are providing to your body.


Sometimes you may think you are over trained, and the reality there may be another issue going on. I recommend that you check your hormones and that you make sure that you are eating and sleeping right. If everything is in check you may be catching a cold or something so make sure that everything is in order. Do not confuse over training with another potential issue. We all need a break from INTENSE training every once in a  while and there is no shame on admitting that, even Ronnie Coleman took 3 months off the gym after every Olympia competition.


Of course we do not want to be overtrained and you may be overtrained in some point of your life. But if you always do the right thing when it comes to nutrition, training, sleeping and even supplementation you will likely not be overtrained. Make sure that you are doing what is possible to optimize recovery and if you are feeling overtrained you can definitely take a week or two off the gym while you focus on recovering. You will even come back stronger!

Do you have any experiences with overtraining? Let me know in the comments!


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