Does Working Out Ever Leave You Tired and Depressed? — The Woes of Overtraining

Working out and reaping wonderful rewards can be amazing.

But what happens when we have this incredible workout, but afterwards, weird things happen?  Unpleasant things.

What if hours or a day or two after our workouts we find ourselves….

  1. Exhausted.  Not wanting to move our bodies. Not even able to sit up straight.
  2. Unmotivated.  Not feeling like doing anything “productive”.  Everything is an effort.
  3. Enclosed.  Needing time alone to stare at walls.
  4. Depressed. Like really feeling depressed, especially because we can’t get anything done that we have planned.

Today I find myself “an innocent victim” all of these maladies.  What the hell happened?


Yesterday I overtrained.  I didn’t injure myself.  I didn’t even strain myself.  I just trained too much, too soon and for too long, exhausting my nervous system and my adrenals.

Did I get warning signs?  Sure did.  Halfway through my weight training, I experienced utter mental and physical exhaustion, telling me to stop, but I kept going.  At that moment, my need to feel the satisfaction that comes with completion reigned over all else.


So today I find myself in recovery that could have been prevented.  I suppose I needed to really learn that valuable lesson.  Being careful in training isn’t just about preventing pulls and more serious injuries to tissue.  It’s also about not overdoing it when it comes to our organs and ability to recover quickly.  Namely, recovery is also about managing our energy.

Smart training requires intensity, but also pacing.

Because I did not train smartly yesterday (despite my great satisfaction with what I accomplished), my body literally has me in a time-out.  Oi!

Next time I think I’ll try not to train like it’s my last workout on earth. 🙂



“Bobby’s Blog:  Recognizing and Avoiding Over Training” — a scientific approach to explaining overtraining.  Of particular interest to me is what Bobby has to say about the role of hormones.

“7 Signs You May Be Overtraining” — this post also expands on the subject.  The connection between overtraining and being fatty (due to increased release of cortisol) is really interesting.

“What OVERTRAINING Looks Like!” (YouTube video) — “… you have to stimulate and not annihilate.”  I like that a lot.  It’s very cool how he talks about balance in life in general, like with sun exposure and callouses versus blisters, and his using pieces of steak as visuals.  Have the patience to watch this video through to the end and take notes.  This guy knows what he’s talking about.  The only area where I would say to be careful is on the train to failure part.  Solid gains can be made without training to failure, but I imagine that optimal gains, given that connective tissue is strong, can be made when training to failure once you are already solidly conditioned.  I wouldn’t go with training to failure with a beginner or with someone becoming conditioned or coming back to fitness.  Also, medical conditions and age must be kept in mind regarding pacing someone’s training and progress, as well as when looking at recovery.   Please check out the next link to more fully process the idea of how long a workout should be…

“How Long Should My Workout Be?” (45 min rule BS) (YouTube video by Elliott Hulse) — watch it, that’s all.

“Are You Overtraining?  (Simple Test) (YouTube video by Elliott agin) — I’ve been watching Elliott for awhile now.  There’s nothing like the Elliott experience.  You don’t have to use the test that he offers.  You can come up with another one… and of course a weight that applies specifically to you.  I imagine this test can also work with hanging from a bar, given that you’ve already been doing bar/chinup/pullup work.


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