When you start working out, you might think you need an intense workout to get ideal results. In other areas of life, the more effort you put in, the bigger results you get. However, it doesn’t always work that way with exercise.
If you’re pursuing workouts based on intensity, you might be overworking yourself. Working yourself too hard can lead to many problems, including injuries and extreme fatigue.
If you’re not sure if your workouts are too aggressive, here are some points to consider.
1. You feel injured or abnormally sore after working out
Most workouts will leave you feeling a little bit sore. Some workouts will leave you feeling extremely sore, especially if you haven’t been working out much. Your muscles need time to adapt to a new routine, and the soreness can be intense. However, there is a difference between having sore muscles and being unable to get out of bed or use your body.
If you feel abnormally injured or sore after your workouts, your workout may be too aggressive. Only you can know your limits, but if you’re not adapting to the program and feeling less sore over time, you may want to tone it down a bit.
As for injuries, if your workout causes an injury that wasn’t just a fluke or an accident, your program is likely too intense for your body.
2. You feel depleted and can’t recover
Working out will make you feel slightly tired at times, but it should never make you feel so depleted that you can’t recover from the exhaustion.
If you’re heading to bed after every workout, sleeping for a full night, and not waking up rested, you could be overworking your nervous system. This is mostly a risk for people with chronic fatigue syndrome and other related conditions.
If you can’t do rigorous workouts, don’t worry about it. You don’t have to work out hard to get results. Slow and steady wins the race.
3. You’re sleeping more than usual
Another indication that your workouts might be too aggressive is if you’re sleeping more than usual. For example, if you normally sleep for seven hours a night, and you’re suddenly sleeping ten or twelve hours, your workouts might be causing you extreme fatigue.
If you’re struggling to get good, deep sleep, and you’re not sure what’s disrupting your sleep, talk to your doctor to see if you might have a medical condition. If you’re in the clear, try doing a less intense workout and see if your body can function on less sleep that way.
4. You don’t feel energized for the day
Working out can make you sore and sometimes physically spent in the evenings, but morning workouts are generally energizing. At the least, most of them should be energizing.
If you’re noticing a lack of energy during the day, your workouts might be the cause. It’s hard to pinpoint a workout as the only cause for fatigue, so just keep it in mind.
5. You dread doing your workout
Do you ever dread doing your workout? Do you try to find a reason to skip or postpone it? If you don’t want to do your workout, it might be a sign that your workout is too demanding. It might also be procrastination from not wanting to get up and move your body, but only you can know the cause.
If you don’t want to do your workout, think about why. Is it the exercises? The trainer? The skill level? Pinpoint the reason and if you’re doing a workout beyond your skill level, find one that’s a little less intense.
6. You can’t do most of the exercises
There will always be exercises some people can’t do. It’s normal to need to modify some of the exercises as well. However, it’s not normal to have to skip 70% or more of the exercises in a workout.
If you can’t do most of the exercises in your workout program, that’s probably a sign that it’s either too intense or above your skill level. That isn’t necessarily true for everyone, though. For instance, if you’re really out of shape, any workout might be too intense for you to handle. As time goes on, though, it will get easier.
The good news is that most workouts can be completed with modifications. Some people rely on modifications because of injury or a disability. However, if you struggle with modifications for no apparent reason, the workout is probably too aggressive for you.
7. You can’t keep up with the pace
Do you struggle to keep up with the pace of the workout? Are you using lighter weights to make the workouts easier? Do you cut your sets short by several reps or skip a set just to move to the next exercise with your trainer or group? If this is happening to you, the workout is probably not in alignment with your skill or endurance level.
If you can do the exercises, but can’t keep up with the pace, you could be overworking yourself by trying. Instead of trying to keep up, consider doing the workout at a slower pace. If you’re using an online workout program, just pause the video while you catch up to the group.
If you’re in a program with a live teacher or trainer, talk to them about the situation and see if they have any recommendations for a slower-paced class.
Need a good workout you can do at your own pace?
If you’ve been forcing yourself to do an intense workout, but it’s just not a fit, you’ll enjoy a workout you can do at your own pace. Preferably, inside your own home.
We offer home-based, personalized workout programs for people of all skill levels. Check out our strength coaching program and our fitness coaching program to see how easy it is to get a good workout from home.
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science.
Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.
To work with Nathan directly on your personal training goals, contact him today!