It depends on the person. If you’re a seasoned athlete who is used to working out a lot, your body would probably be used to the stresses that regular workouts can do to the body. If you’re a regular at the gym, it might be harder for your body to deal with the stress if you are not following a proper program.

While it is a good habit to be a regular at the gym, how do you know if you’re overdoing it? Well, if you have trouble sustaining a steady sleep at night even though you’re feeling tired all of the time, that is one indicator. Another is not being able to go as hard in your workouts as you are used to. Generally, irritable behaviour or a lack of interest in your workouts themselves could also be signs that you are working out too often. It's also important to take note of your body’s response and if you are suffering from chronic soreness.

These symptoms of over training may have a negative effect on your weight-loss or strengthening goals and may also cause an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. Two of the most prevalent side-effects of these symptoms are a reduced efficiency in your metabolism and fluctuations in your mood.

There are multiple ways to prevent working out too much. It starts with an understanding of what is the best and most effective way to train your body for your goals. It is critical that you design your workout plan using a proper periodization model. No matter your fitness goal, periodization is one of the most important parts of a fitness program’s ultimate success.

Periodization is the practice of splitting a program into distinct time periods, with each period building on the former period’s progress. This model will challenge you while providing cumulative results that mitigate some of the risk factors of overtraining outlined above. With proper periodization you will see steady increases in output without compromising form and technique which can lead to injury, chronic soreness and loss of desire to workout. Proper programming will also include rest days or deload weeks designed to allow your body time to recover and replenish needed energy stores to keep you mentally and physically focused.

Keep in mind, rest days are just as important as your days training at the gym. Without rest days, it is impossible to achieve optimal results from your training. While it may be hard to get your mind around taking a day off from the gym being beneficial to your ultimate goals, your muscles, body and mind need time to fix themselves and build for the next workout. While you do not have to lay around all day, light activity such as walking, yoga or mobility will assist in recovery. This is often referred to as active recovery.

In summary, don’t just look at your weekly fitness routine, plan a proper periodization program suited to your goals with days of active recovery to avoid workout burnout and more importantly, see measured improvement in the gym every day.