While getting to the gym day in and day out may be one of your fondest pastimes, going balls to the wall for too long — tons of weight, a lot of sets, intensity techniques galore — could actually end up bringing an abrupt halt to your progress. A decade ago they called it wussing out. Today they call it overtraining.
"Overtraining is a very real condition experienced by bodybuilders characterized by an increased resting heart rate, unusually long recovery times after exercise, sleeping troubles, increased sweating, irritability, digestion problems, fatigue, depression and drops in strength and endurance," says M&F Senior Science Editor Jim Stoppani, PhD.
Despite the clarity of symptoms, overtraining can still sometimes be difficult to diagnose. "What appears to be a plateau in progress caused by lack of proper diet or intensity can be mistaken for the syndrome of overtraining itself," says m&f Fitness Director Jimmy Peña, MS, CSCS. "That can often fuel the pattern of overtraining in affected individuals who aren't conscious of the condition or refuse to acknowledge the symptoms."