3 Ways to Avoid Overtraining

Three ways to progress in your workouts without hurting your results... or your health.

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1. Make a plan. At the beginning of each week, create a training plan that includes your workouts as well as your rest days. Make sure that you schedule at least a 48-hour rest period between training the same body part back-to-back, or 72 hours if you’re lifting to failure. Consider crosstraining to take the load off your muscles, as well as adding in active rest days where you perform a low-intensity activity, such as walking, lightly jogging or swimming.

2. Be flexible. Although your schedule is your guide, pay attention to your body for symptoms of overtraining or pushing yourself too far, such as hitting a wall in your workout progress or feeling tired, sluggish or irritable for no apparent reason. If symptoms of overtraining are present, scale back and see your doctor.

3. Check your fuel. Consuming too few calories means cheating your body out of the building blocks it needs to rebuild and repair muscle tissue, says William Kraemer, PhD, professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. This could put your body in a constant catabolic state in which you’re breaking down