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OTS Indicator Checklist

Overtraining Syndrome (OTS) Indicator Checklist

Personal trainers are encouraged to use this OTS Indicator Checklist to help identify or prevent OTS in clients. Although this list was developed from scientific research, there currently is no research consensus on how many of these factors must be present (and to what degree) to confirm OTS.


These may be symptoms of OTS:

  • consistent underperformance
  • chronic fatigue or symptoms of burnout
  • continual muscle soreness
  • insomnia or sleep disturbances
  • consistently (2 or more mornings) elevated resting heart rate (increase of ≥5 beats/minute measured 5–10 minutes after waking)


  • underperformance on certain submaximal or maximal performance factors
  • drifting above or below known baseline values (such as rating of perceived exertion and heart rate at certain exercise intensities) during exercise
  • with endurance training clients, training below normal anaerobic threshold or fixed pace of exercise


  • entering a high number of competitions
  • workouts becoming somewhat repetitive
    (or monotonous)
  • significant increases in exercise intensity
  • significant increases in exercise volume
  • exposure to environment stressors such
    as altitude, heat, humidity or cold


  • changes or disruptions in family, personal or social relations
  • new job-related demands
  • elevation of negative moods such as tension,
    depression, anger, confusion
  • decrease in positive mood or vigor during
    periods of intense training
  • change in body weight, particularly loss
    of lean body mass
  • changes in diet or appetite
  • change in hydration status

For more information about ways to prevent overtraining, plus a much wider discussion of the topic and a full reference list, please see “Heart Rate Variability & Overtraining” in the online IDEA Library or in the January 2015 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.

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