7 Ways to Tell if You’re Pushing it Too Hard in Your Workouts.

Is there such a thing as exercising too hard?

With hardcore trainers telling you to “Push harder!” all…the…time, do you ever wonder how hard is too hard? Well, you should.

If you take it too far, too often or for too long, here’s what you might see:

  • Regression in performance and/or gains. That’s right, you can actually lose that lean muscle you’ve worked so hard to build, endurance you’ve been building, and even confidence in yourself.
  • You can get injured. Over-exhaustion leads to poor form which can lead to injuries. No fun.
  • Bigger issues like Rhabdomyolysis, where the muscle breaks down and releases nasty toxins in your body that can make you sick or even lead to death.

How can you tell if you’re pushing it too hard? Good question. Here are those 7 ways you can tell.

  1. Your Heart Rate Monitor tells you. For those using a wearable that tracks your heart rate, note that you should not be in the red (over 90%) on the regular for more than a few minutes.
  2. You vomit.
  3. It’s still hard to breathe when you stop the activity.
  4. You don’t have energy after the workout.
  5. Your form goes bad.
  6. You feel any sort of sharp pain, a.k.a. bad pain.
  7. You are sore instantly.

So, in the spirit of challenging your body to change your body, yes, push it! But be smart and avoid pushing so hard that you set yourself back. And you know who pushes you just the right amount? The trainers at Studio SWEAT and Studio SWEAT onDemand. Get your free 7 day trial now if you aren’t already a member with us!

~Cat Kom
Personal Trainer and CEO of Studio SWEAT | Studio SWEAT onDemand


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Here's what people said about “7 Ways to Tell if You’re Pushing it Too Hard in Your Workouts.”


Thanks for the vlog. It was very informative. Similar to what Linda mentioned, I was curious about too much of any exercise (cardio, weight training, etc) and burnout. I recently experienced this myself. I was typically an on again/off again exercise enthusiastic until I found SSoD. I have been working out consistently since Sept and LOVE the spin workouts. I think I overdid it though and didn’t throw in enough rest, yoga, strength training. I would appreciate your perspective on burnout and how to avoid it as I have been enjoying my new found fitness level! Thanks Cat and the SSoD. I can’t thank you enough!

I had never heard of Rhabdomyolysis until last week Wednesday when a friend of mine her son was taken to the emergency room with Rhabdomyolysis. He was at a dedication workout for a fallen Vet and fallen police officer. It was to raise money for the two families. He decided to do the workouts as he is a vet and he is a trainer and instructor and a director of a facility. He knows all about this type of stuff but you never know when it can or will happen to you. It was an extreme workout and he collapsed at the end and has been in the hospital now for 5 days. I have not heard a recent update. The last update was that his numbers are not where they need to be and it is a threat of kidney failure. We all have our fingers crossed and prayers going. This is something that can happen to anyone no matter how fit you are or think you are. Be vigilant in your workouts and diet. A little about what occurred is his muscles swelled up to the point that he could not bend his arms. He was in excruciating pain, they give you IV to keep the fluids going through your body they are trying to bring down your myoglobin (not sure what that is) but this is what I was told. The swelling has now gone down and he is able to move his arms but there is still pain. We are hoping for a speedy recovery.

Great info. Would love to hear your take on how much cardio is too much cardio. I’ve recently switched my routine and replaced a lot of my cardio with heavier weight training and yoga, and Im already seeing the difference. Im a big fan of the 20-30 min classes you offer cuz I can combine them to get what I need. Also love your longer combo classes. I don’t do the 60 min spins as often anymore, even tho I Iove them. You guys are awesome and I’m so glad I found you. WAYYYY better than going to the gym. Thanks for all you do!! 🙂

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Hi Linda. So glad you loved this vlog topic. We can do a vlog on “How Much Cardio is Too Much”, but that is not a black and white answer as you can imagine. What works for one doesn’t always work for another. We’re all so different. Obviously you already know this, but stength, cardio and stretch are all equally important pieces to a great well rounded routine. I love the combo classes too. Spin Sculpt is my favorite workout in the world. I also run, stretch, do core, HIIT, etc. What I love most is the variety. Now nothing soaks me in sweat like a straight up spin though and that’s my happy place. Ha. Somedays 20 min, others 120! Whatever works! Tell me how you’re seeing a difference with swtiching it up? Love to hear that! And I think switching it up daily, weekly, monthly, etc is great. I reserve Sundays and Fridays as my “pick your activiity of the day” day where I don’t decide what I’m gonna do til the night before or morning of. LOVE that. Well thanks for sharing and you keep it up!

Thanks so much for your response Cat. Agreed…everyone is different and what works for one may not work for another. To add to that, what worked years ago (for me) doesn’t work the same way as I age. Ive been struggling (post-menopause) to get my body back to normal, but I have to learn to accept a different normal. I sit behind a desk for 8=10 hrs a day 5 days/week, so I feel the need to move, and my favorite go-to has always been a 60 minute or more spin class. But I was having trouble reaching my goal to lean out a little more and build more upper body muscle. So the past few months, Ive been replacing my hour long spins with 20 min HIIT spins + 20-30 min of sculpting with heavier weights (15-30 lb dumbbells) + 20 min of yoga stretch & restore. I do this 3x/week, alternating between upper body and lower body for the weight training. On alternate days I do a 45-60 minute spin or spin/core, with 20 min stretch. And I force myself to take one day off. I usually walk and/or do Zac’s 45 min myofascial release class on my “off day.” I am already fit, but I wanted to tweak a few areas and just feel better. So far Ive lost an inch on my waist and an inch on my hips with this change. And Ive dropped 6 lbs. More importantly, I feel so much better. Better sleep, better digestion, better mood, better everything. I really love that you’ve been adding a lot of 20 minute classes and restorative classes to the library. I appreciate mixing it up every week. And I LOVE all the trainers. I feel like I get more individual attention from you guys than when I actually had a personal trainer! I could go on for 10 pages….. but Ive gotta go do my yoga. Seeing as how its my day off and all. 🙂 THANK U!!

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That’s awesome Linda. Sometimes just switching it up is the magic recipe. Keep it up sister!

Cat, I heard you address the “how much is too much” cardio question in your trainer talk with Mere W. and I thought that was a great way to think out it. You said as long as youre getting everything else in, you cant really do “too much” cardio. I typically work out for 60-75 min 6 days/wk and 90% of that was cardio. But now that Ive replaced a lot of that cardio with heavy weighted sculpting and yoga, Ive been seeing results. So that was too much cardio for me, given the amt of time Im working out each week. I wasn’t getting everything else in. Ive gone from approx. 7 hrs of cardio/week to 3 hrs of cardio/wk + 2-3 hrs sculpting and 2-3 hrs yoga/restore per week. Its been a much better mix for me. I just finished a 30 min ride with Mike, then a 20 min leg/glute/core sculpt, and finished it with Tatiana’s new yoga flow. Perfect 70 min workout! Thanks again!

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Hi Linda. I only have a few minutes, but wanted to reply real quickly. What I meant and I thought I explained, was that so long as you’re getting in the other things your body needs (plenty of strength training, strecthing and mindfulness, you can do as much cardio as you’d like. Remember how I talked about diet as part of it? Saying if you focus more on what to eat than wat not to eat you will be better off. Same concept, if you’re getting in the strength and stretch that your body responds well to, then do as much cardio on top of that as you’d like. Hope that helps. Happy Sunday!

Yes, I agree! Good point about nutrition too… to focus on what you CAN eat vs. what you can’t eat. Makes a huge difference. THANKS for all your advice!