Overtraining isn't caused by exercising too much, though. The real problem happens when someone does too much too quickly. The trick is to gradually increase training duration and intensity over time. As we exercise more and more, our bodies adapt to recover faster. Well seasoned athletes with enough gradual improvement can workout multiple times per day.
Here are some of the symptoms of overtraining:
- muscle soreness that never really heals
- less than normal energy
- increased susceptibility to cold and flu
- loss of appetite
- trouble sleeping
- increased threat of injury
The only way to recover from overtraining is to remove as many of the physical and psychological stresses as possible to allow the body to heal. That means getting plenty of rest and maybe even taking a day away from work as well. The key is to give the body enough time to fully recover. Sometimes, even well trained athletes need to take a full week away from the gym. The important thing is to return to the regular exercise schedule once you have recovered.
If the added workload from week to week is kept to a manageable and healthy level, you can get all of the benefits of an exercise program without the frustration of overtraining that so many people put themselves through.