Advice on Over-​​Training

Advice on Over-Training

For years, I have written about and discussed the fine line between training for Special Ops type programs and over-​​training.  But until recently, I realized I forgot one very important piece of information:


Because, you will not notice it until it is too late (typically).  Even though, over-​​training is actually hard to do by just training — it is easy to see symptoms pop up occasionally when your recovery balance is off:  Not enough sleep, not eating or hydrating well, and too many crazy workouts in a week are just the things to push any training program into the over-​​reaching /​ over-​​training zone if not attended to.

For your family and friends who you are near often, let them know that you are working out as normal, but if you exhibit the following signs to let you know:

1 — Personality Changes (Grumpy, Irritable, Moody, Depressed, etc)

2 — Getting Sick /​ Injured More Often than Normal — (Decrease Immune Function)

3 — Lack of Motivation

4 — Loss of Muscle Mass

5 — Loss of Sexual Drive

6 — Muscle /​ Joint Soreness — Longer than 24 hour post workout soreness.  This is 48–72+ hour soreness.

There are many more symptoms and the signs to slow down before you are ACTUALLY over-​​training do appear from time to time.  This does not mean you need to take a week off and go on vacation.  But, it does mean, take a day off, go for an easy walk after a healthful dinner, stretch, and get a good night’s sleep.  Usually, this is all you need to get back on track.  In some cases, you may need more easy days, especially if you are getting sick /​ injured often.

Personally, for me, I know I am over-​​training when my hips tighten up and I can not do a deep squat as in the Functional Movement Screening (FMS) without pain, discomfort, and lack of balance.  This typically happens during higher mileage in runs /​ rucks season.  So I know to take a 1–2 day break from intense workouts, stretch more, eat better, sleep more, and hydrate.

Now — individually, these do not mean you are over-​​training, but if you have several of these symptoms for several days /​ weeks in a row, you MIGHT be over — training.   Often having someone who cares about you know that some of these symptoms are just because you need to take a break will also make it easier for them to digest especially if you are being grumpy to your spouse or other family members.

Some related posts on Over training /​ Over stressing the body:

Missing Link to Performance 

Stress — A Perfect Storm?

Recovery Tools of Training

PS — And yes, my wife gave me the idea for the article.



  1. SFC Bob Patterson says:

    This is great info to have NOW! From a 68-​​year old three tour Vietnam Army Ranger vet, nearly 100% disabled, who like so many of my era that “over-​​trained” because that was the norm of the day. Moreover, we carried that same training philosophy into civilian life (No Pain — No Gain!) where our service-​​connected ills and injuries were exacerbated! If we only knew then what seems to be common knowledge now then perhaps the VA wouldn’t be so overburdened with treatment and compensation claimants. There’s nary an MSD I don’t suffer from and I know scads of Army and USMC vets from my era in the same boat. I pray the current generation of young troops train just as hard as we did but take a much more medically and scientific approach. Hoorah!

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