If I work out every day (sometimes multiple times a day) am I doing myself any harm?

Answer:

It all depends on your workouts. If you’re intensely working the same body parts with resistance training and not resting the minimum of 24-48 hours before working the same muscles (the more intense and voluminous the workout, the longer the necessary recuperation time), you are definitely holding back your progress. If you are simply going to the gym to move around and add a little resistance to your movements (never going to failure) and only for short periods (less than an hour a session), you may be okay. Ultimately it depends upon what your goal is and what you are doing at each workout (and why!). Three times a day is a lot. If you are getting small amounts of exercise each time, then it is likely fine. However, if your frequency is out of desperation to make a change, then we suggest that some other aspect of your program is flawed (such as diet or rest/recovery) or you may need to talk to someone about your addiction to the gym.

Though your body will generally tell you when you are doing too much, some people may not know (or listen to) the signs of overtraining. Overtraining is difficult to measure, but here are a few signs to look for:

  • Mild leg soreness, general achiness
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy
  • Sudden drop in ability to run “normal” distance or times
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Inability to relax, twitchy, fidgety
  • Insatiable thirst, dehydration
  • Lowered resistance to common illnesses; colds, sore throat, etc.
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