Moderation is key – even when you’re trying to blast that stubborn belly fat that seems to be a little too attached (literally) to your side. As tempting as it may be to spend every waking moment in the gym, it can actually be counterproductive to do high levels of strenuous exercise every single day.
Just like employees are required to have a break after working a certain number of hours, your body needs rest from time to time in order for it to always function its best.
Of course, that’s not to say you can’t go hard at the gym. By all means, go hard. Go really hard. You should always be looking for new ways to challenge your body that push it farther than the last time you worked out. But the important thing is to push yourself while making sure not to stretch your body’s range of capabilities too far. (There is a thin line between pushing yourself and hurting yourself.)
To make sure you’re exercising smart in addition to hard, pay attention to these signs that mean you may be putting too much pressure on your body.
Your workout intensity exceeds daily norms.
Commitment is key if you want to achieve your fitness goals – just don’t over do it. Engaging in high intensity exercises every day can do more harm than good. Extreme modes of exercise like HIIT, strength training, and crossfit shouldn’t be performed more than 3-4 times a week. Your body needs rest in between crazy-demanding workout sessions if you want your muscles to grow stronger. Without that time to recover, you might find your body retaliating in the form of fatigue or injury.
Your joints are in pain.
If you’ve never worked a muscle before or haven’t done it in a long time, you’ll expect to feel a little soreness in your joints after a workout. But if the soreness doesn’t go away no matter how much you stretch or soak your muscles, you may have another problem. The pain may actually be stemming from more serious injuries and not just the typical post-workout soreness. When you overextend yourself, you expose yourself to injuries, so be sure to push yourself, but without going too far overboard.
You’re more tired than usual.
You might feel tired while you’re in the middle of your run or your HIIT class, but once you’re done, your workout should leave you with an energy boost. But if you feel your energy waning after a workout, you may need to evaluate your workout strategy. Exercise trains the heart to work more efficiently but too much exercise can put more strain on your heart, instead, causing you to feel tired faster. You can strengthen your circulation and heart muscles by cutting back on the intensity of your exercises until you restore your energy.
Your immune system is getting weaker.
Regular, moderate exercise works wonders for your immune system. However, when you workout too hard and too often, you prevent the immune system from performing its basic function – protecting the body against threats to your health. The immune system is forced to work overtime to keep you well because your intense workout habits have reduced your immune defenses against viruses, bacteria, and infection.
This means that if you find yourself getting sick a little more often than usual, you may want to check the status of your immune system and slow down the workouts.
You’re not using proper form.
Fitness is like a marriage. You can’t cheat on your workouts and expect to get the results you desire. You have to give the proper attention to every move you perform or you’re wasting valuable time. If you notice you’re only half doing your push-ups and squats, readjust yourself, take a quick break, or perform an alternative move. A lot of times, in an effort to go harder in the gym, you might try to speed through intense moves that you may not necessarily be ready for, which could put your body at risk if you’re not really performing them correctly. Remember that the quality of your workout is more important than quantity. Don’t compromise your angle of movement, range of motion, or tension just to say you did something tough.