The gym may be a place for self-improvement, however, it is possible for it to negatively impact your fitness journey if you don’t find the right balance. Whether you’re a gym junkie or just signed up with a gym, anyone can work their body too much and hurt themselves if they aren’t careful. Here are some general warning signs to watch out for.
LINGERING SORENESS AND JOINT PAIN
Exercise and muscle soreness go hand and hand, and if you’re new to working out, it’s normal to be sore for longer, however, if the soreness prolongs for three days or more, your body is telling you to take a chill pill, because it’s likely experiencing more than DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and could be a joint-related injury, according to Shape Magazine.
Take at least one or two rest days to let your body recover, especially if you’re just starting out in the gym. New gym-goers are more prone to joint injuries because they typically don’t have proper form. Remember not to rush during a workout, as this can cause permanent muscle or joint damage and focus on quality, not quantity while weightlifting. Learn more about muscle soreness here.
YOU’RE GETTING SICK
This includes both getting the common cold and feeling nauseous during a workout. If you’re someone who exercises regularly and you’re experiencing common cold symptoms like a sore throat and runny nose, it’s time to pump the breaks at the gym. If during a workout you begin to feel light headed, dizzy and nauseous, this is typically an indicator that you’re running on an empty stomach, you ate too much right before a workout, you’re dehydrated or you’re simply pushing yourself too hard.
Drink plenty of water during your workout and make sure to focus on your breathing. When it comes to food, it’s best to eat a small amount 30 minutes to an hour before a workout to ensure you have substance to fuel your body, but not too much that it makes you sick to your stomach.
Whether you’re in pain because you pulled a muscle, you’re low on energy or you feel weak lifting weights, you should consider parting ways with the gym for a little bit. Many people have the misconception that they need to put in maximum effort to see results, but it’s not always the smartest choice to push your limits because sometimes it’s not physically possible. Not only will your workouts suffer, but your results will too, according to Shape.
BOREDOM AND LACK OF MOTIVATION
This may not seem like an outcome of overdoing it at the gym, but if you’re constantly doing the same workout, you might want to either take a break or consider mixing up your routine because results will begin to plateau or move backwards. Although it’s normal for anyone not to be in the mood to hit the gym, you should never dread going, especially if you’re a regular. According to Shape, you might begin your workout unmotivated, but endorphins should kick in as you start to sweat. If after a little while this is not the case, that’s actually a hint to take a break.
CHANGE IN SLEEPING PATTERNS
Although exercise is supposed to help you sleep better, overdoing it at the gym can actually counteract your sleeping patterns. Men’s Journal says that pushing your body too much can cause insomnia or oversleeping. If you’re abnormally tired at the beginning of a workout, this is also an indicator that you should rest.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AND HIGH RESTING HEART RATE
You may not even know your resting heart rate or take your blood pressure, but both can be helpful in determining whether you need to chill out at the gym. According to 12 Minute Athlete, if you’re an avid exerciser and have high blood pressure but have no other risk factors for it, it’s most likely because you’re working out too much. People who are in shape have resting heart rates of 50 or 60 bpm and the average person’s resting heart rate is 72 bpm. If your heart rate is significantly higher than that and you’re in good shape, it’s time to rest.