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Working out is great for improving your health, getting fitter, and losing weight. But doing too much can be detrimental. Find out how to avoid fitness fatigue.
To make real progress, whether you’re training to get fitter or stronger, build muscle mass, lose weight, your just feel better about yourself, you have to train hard. This means going to the gym regularly, performing a balanced mixed of resistance training and cardiovascular work, and putting effort and intensity into every session that you do.


First and foremost, have a rest. This means taking a complete rest from training for at least a week. Training, while extremely beneficial, is a huge stressor on your body, and if you’re not careful, this run down feeling can develop into full blown overtraining system, where your immune system begins to suffer, you develop flu-like symptoms, and which can take months to fully recover from.

Don’t fret about going backwards, or losing all your progress – you can get this back in time. For now, your number one priority is recovery, so for at least a week, skip the gym, put your running shoes in the cupboard, and stay away from anything that requires lots of energy. The most you should do is a few light walks, but at a maximum of a couple of miles at a very steady pace.

You also need to eat. Without sufficient nutrients, you won’t be able to recover. You want to make sure you get lots of protein, as this helps to re-build muscles and cells. Slow digesting carbs, like brown rice, sweet potatoes and beans and pulses will boost your energy levels, and healthy fats will reset your hormone levels, and regulate your metabolism. So meals based around meats or fish, like chicken, turkey, steak, salmon and mackerel, along with a moderate amount of healthy carbs, and a good dose of fats from olive oil, organic dairy products and nuts are ideal. Remember to include lots of fruits and vegetables too, to help out your immune system.

Finally, try to chill out. Stress from work and family can play a major role in burning out, so try to relax – have a massage, take a bath, or even try to get away for a weekend.


The methods of prevention are very similar to the fight tactics. The diet advice still stands, you just may not need to eat quite as much to prevent fatigue than you would when fighting it, as your body is in a healthier state. You should still include the same nutrient-dense foods, just in slightly smaller quantities.

The most important factor though, is to regulate your training intensity. If you’re feeling a bit run down and tired, then have a lighter workout. Or, work just as hard, but can your training time by 30 to 50 percent.

Injuries can also bring the onset of fitness fatigue, as they compromise your recovery ability. When you feel a strain, or an unusual pain, get it checked out by a Doctor, or even better – a sports physiotherapist. Go for regular deep tissue massages to maintain your mobility and strength, and stretch daily. Be sensible about your training too – train hard, but train within your limits, and never use bad form on any exercise.

It’s fairly easy to recover from fatigue or burn out, provided you notice it early. There’s no need to fear it too much, and you certainly shouldn’t use it as an excuse to make your training easy. Provided you eat a good diet, train sensibly, and aim to reduce stress, chances are, you’ll never experience it. Get to know the signs though, and familiarize yourself with what to do if it does strike.

  • “Prevent Overtraining and Poor Performance”.
  • by Charles Poliquin
  • February 17, 2012
  • Accessed on May 24, 2012 Retrieved from
  • Photo courtesy of samwebster on Flickr:
  • Photo courtesy of onthefly on Flickr: