5 Signs You Need to Take a Break

5 Signs You Need to Take a Break

by Pari Aryafar

You made this big fitness goal, and for the first time in a long time, you’re crushing it. You’re going to sessions consistently, killing it at the gym during your training, seeing results, and feeling like you’re on Cloud 9. You go, Glen Coco!

Then… after some time of ripping through weights or smashing your workouts, a wave of fatigue and soreness hits. Where did this come from? How did this happen? What does this mean for your training now?

The easiest way to explain overtraining isn’t so much “training too often” as much as it is “training a lot, without enough rest in-between”. Instead of thinking of it as “overtraining,” a better term might be “under-recovering.” At first, it seems like you can just ignore some of the symptoms (like soreness, feeling tired, or even being a little moody). However, when you aren’t giving your body the rest it needs for too long, eventually your performance, skills, technique, and well-being will suffer. 

Sometimes we feel like we just need to “power through it” to become stronger, but here are five easy ways to tell when you simply need a break.


1. You’re tired… a lot!

When you start to increase your workouts, whether in frequency or performance, it’s normal to be tired… and stay tired for a little while. But after about a week or so, your body should adjust, and you’ll find yourself becoming less fatigued and more capable to accomplish those same tasks. If you’re feeling like you’re consistently dragging through it every time: before, after, and during, you need to take a look at your schedule and see where you can also incorporate more rest.

2. You don't like what you're doing


Working out, while occasionally portrayed in the media as a “punishment” or saved for those crazy fitness enthusiasts, is meant to be fun! While there may be tough days, if you feel like you’re bored, disinterested, and just don’t want to do what you’re doing, it might be time to take a step back. Consider adding in an extra rest day, switching it up a few times a week, or taking some time away from the sport. If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, having a little break can help make you excited again or find something else you prefer to do more.



3. Performance is decreasing, not increasing


Getting better as an athlete, whether you’re a professional baseball player or someone who goes to the gym once a week, isn’t as linear as we like to think. You’re definitely going to have tough days, days where you see no improvement, days where you wonder why you’re doing this, and days where it seems like you’re the only one who isn’t good at this sport. However, if you are noticing that your performance is consistently decreasing over a few weeks, there might be some other things going on. Do you have an injury that you’re not letting rest or heal? Are you feeling wiped every time you show up to train? Listen to your body and how it’s feeling, so you can find solutions to those issues.

4. Everything hurts, all the time


If you’re in pain, you need to take a step back and analyze what’s important to you - giving your body some time to heal, relax, and rest, or powering through and possibly becoming worse. There are some instances where you might have a competition or a very specific goal with a deadline, but even then - you need to prioritize your recovery. As we always say at Catalyst “pain during exercise is never normal.” You can’t rob health to pay for fitness—if something hurts and isn’t getting better, get checked out!

5. You can’t sleep


If you’re training every day but finding it difficult to fall asleep (and stay asleep) at night, it could be because your body isn’t being given enough time to repair itself between your workouts. A lack of sleep affects everything - from your cognitive performance to your emotional well-being, and definitely the way you perform in the gym. Pull back a bit, and increase the intensity of your workouts over time. Sleep is so important for so many reasons, and you don’t want to disrupt your sleep cycle because you’re trying to get in some extra reps.


Just like the old proverb says, “Slow and steady wins the race.” It’s great to want to become better and to become as consistent as possible. However, if you push yourself too hard, too fast, and too often, you’ll be pushing yourself out of the race! Take your time to increase and improve, and you’ll see better, longer-lasting, and more obtainable results.


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