Short of not training at all, the quickest way to derail the gains you’re making in the gym is by blindly falling into the overtraining trap. I see this time and time again by beginning trainers as well as those that are more experienced and should know better.
No matter how many times you say it-and no matter how many studies prove it-when it comes to muscle growth, more training is definitely NOT better training. You need to remember that muscle growth actually takes place between workouts during the recovery phase, and you must allow adequate time for recuperation if you’re going to promote continual gains in lean mass.
In general, overtraining will occur when you train your body beyond its ability to recover through either frequency or duration.
In other words, if you train too often (every day) or too long (for over about 60 minutes) you’ll likely enter into a point of diminishing returns. Your body will not be able to fully recover from your workouts; adaptation and recuperation will not take place. In short, you simply won’t grow!
While everyone’s training thresholds are slightly different, there are a few tell-tale signs that you’re suffering from overtraining. The first and most simple sign of overtraining is that you’ve hit a plateau where gains are no longer being made.
Some of the more subtle signs of overtraining include an elevated resting pulse rate, frequent muscle spasms or twitches while resting, increased susceptibility to getting sick and more often and for longer periods of time (weakened immune system), fatigue and general lack of energy, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, and unwanted weight loss.
Prevent Muscle Breakdown
The way to beat overtraining is to simply cut back on your time in the gym. Train less frequently (say 3 times per week) for shorter durations (45-60 minutes at the most), perform fewer overall sets, get your rest, and you’ll very likely find yourself making good gains again. Remember, when it comes to training quality is always more important than quantity.