Imagine coming home after a long gym workout and actually feeling worse then you started! Everybody knows after working out you are normally tired but it feels good but what happens when you start to feel sick and it's too much? Maybe you find yourself in this situation: "The other day when I got home, I got really sick and threw up. Now my body feels very worn out! Am I overtraining? I want to take 2 days off from the gym to rest my body...would this help?" - [name withheld] Let me make a prediction... you are about to approach overtraining burnout! If you don't take some time off to let your body rest and recover, you'll end up quitting the gym entirely or actually making backward progress. I'd like to explain the concept of less is more but first, let's take a look at some of the other common signs of overtraining. What is the Overtraining Syndrome? Training beyond the body's ability to repair itself. This can be caused by training the same body parts too frequently so that the body does not have time to recover before the next workout; workouts that are consistently harder than the body is able to recover from fully; or impairment of the body's normal recovery ability due to nutritional deficiencies, illness, or stress. Besides impairing athletic performance, overtraining can increase the risk of injury or disease. Some Signs of Overtraining: Fatigue Blood sugar imbalances Menstrual or other hormone imbalances Anxiety Slight dizziness Elevated heart rates (especially upon waking) Depression Insomnia I'd even venture to guess nausea and longer then normal recovery time should be on that list, two of symptoms of overtraining you also described. Just the other day, I saw a post on a popular bodybuilding message board by another person who wanted to know if working out the same muscle group twice in one day was recommended since they had the time. Now, before I go on... I want you to understand that you grow and change outside of the gym. Many people believe that when they are at the gym they are making progress but in fact that's entirely not true. Training at the gym is a way of stimulating change, you grow and get better when you are outside of the gym! What you do after you shower off and leave the gym will determine your progress in the long run. Doing longer workouts, more reps and sets and devastating your body without letting it recover will actually set you back. Remember, recovery is an all important step that is often overlooked. And that leads into... 1 - Training frequency. My recommendation is train 2 days on, 1 day off. Training more then 2 days in a row is very difficult if not impossible for the natural person to recover from. When you simply break up your routine, you are allowing for more recovery time and thus allowing for your body to get stronger and better. 2 - Taking a training break. A concept I've talked about in previous articles but the theory is, completely stop training every 8-10 weeks for 1 week and just allow your body to recover and your joints to heal. Many people can't do this. They just want to keep on going and going like the Energizer bunny but in fact, taking a break is a good thing and will allow you to come back stronger and better then before. Try it. You'll be surprised. 3 - High Intensity Interval Training (cardio) Rather then do 45 minutes of low to moderate cardio, how about using your heart rate zones and training in intervals to get more done in less time with cardio? You'll burn more fat and more calories but you won't have to do the routine as long. You'll use intervals to make the workout harder and more fun but in a lot less time. Many times people will do cardio with weights but they do it before or after and for too long. Here's a few tips. a) HIIT style cardio b) Train in heart rate zones and perceived exertion (how you feel at the time you are asked) c) Do your cardio AFTER your weight training session. Use your quick fuel for the weights and your longer term fuel (fat) for cardio The secret to getting more from your workouts is training more efficiently and training less. There's many ways to do more in less time including but not limited to: - drop sets - super sets - repetition speeds - tempo variations - rest periods - ascending/descending sets If you do a quick search on the Internet for "Nine Simple Ways to Increase the Intensity of Any Workout" you will find many ways to get more done in less time and avoid the common overtraining symptoms. Stated a little differently... less is more.