3 Signs Your Workout Is Too Intense, According To Fitness Experts

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If you're someone who regularly incorporates a good sweat session into your routine, you could probably list quite a few of ways exercise has benefitted you — both internally an externally. That said, not everyone is a professional when it comes to fitness, so whether you're hitting the gym, jumping into your favorite group class, or squeezing in a quick flow at home, there are a few things that can go wrong, namely pushing yourself a little too hard. But thankfully, once you know to recognize the signs of a too-intense workout, advice from the true pros can get you back on track with a few simple tweaks.

One of the biggest fitness trends lately is the focus on recovery — whether that's using topical CBD products or sipping post-workout drinks meant to replenish lost minerals and keep your energy up. But ensuring that your workout is as safe and appropriate for your fitness level as possible can be your first line of defense against potential injury and strain, and top trainers can tell you just how to do that.

Enter Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott, the founders of fitness empire Tone It Up, which offers tips, workouts via an app, nutrition products and supplements, and even apparel and accessories. The two have turned their knowledge of and passion for fitness into their business, so certainly along the way they've learned a few things the hard way — including when and how to dial it back. Ahead, find out the telltale three signs you might be overdoing it during your HIIT, boxing, trampoline, or whatever workout, plus some things that might help you adjust accordingly if you are.

Your Form Isn't On Point

Sometimes your "go hard or go home" mantra at the gym gets the better of you by sacrificing your focus on form. "Quality over quantity should always be the goal," Dawn explains. "If you're doing a jump squat and you feel your knees caving in, or if you're doing a push-up and you feel your hips sagging, find a modification that allows you to continue moving pain-free and with good form. Think basic bodyweight squats or push-ups on your knees."

You're Majorly Struggling Mid-Set

According to Scott, it's important to know the fine line between a workout that keeps you on your toes, and one that's pushing you past healthy limits for your body. "When it comes to strength workouts, the last two or three reps should feel really challenging," she says. "If you're struggling to complete an exercise after only a couple reps, chances are you need to grab a lighter weight or opt for drop sets (starting heavy then dropping down in weight)."

Replenishing post-workout can also keep you in top shape, the fitness pro adds. "You'll also want to make sure you're adequately refueling your muscles with protein," she continues. "We love a smoothie with clean plant-based, gluten-free Tone It Up Protein within 30 minutes of a tough workout."

You're Hurting

The occasional post-workout soreness is one thing, but if your go-to routine is causing you pain, you're probably doing too much. "If a particular movement causes pain or something just feels 'off,' it's always best to dial it back to stay safe and avoid injury," explains Dawn, who advises tuning in and listening to your body to avoid injury. "Also, make sure your tough workouts are balanced out with active recovery days." Yoga, stretching, and foam rolling are a few of her recommendations for restorative activities.