Fatigue, Headache and Nausea | Symptoms to Monitor and How to Recover

During a boxing or strength training workout, many people experience symptoms like vomiting, headache and nausea. These exercise induced discomforts may or may not feel serious enough to disrupt your training. You need to know when to push through the discomfort and continue training and when to stop. Understanding the cause of these symptoms helps you overcome them easily and efficiently continue with your training.

Normal Post-Workout Symptoms: When to Push Through the Discomfort

Exercise may lead to aches and pains as you gain strength and stamina. Some discomfort has to be endured for the sake of the gain. Inadequate water intake, nutrition, poor form of execution or even the wrong choice of exercises can lead to nausea and headache problems.


Dehydration is one of the common causes of nausea and headache pain during a workout. Being dehydrated even by just 2% impairs performance your performance. So ensure you drink enough water before, during, and after workouts depending on the intensity and duration of your workout.


If you feel dizzy or a sudden rush of fatigue, it may be due to low blood sugar levels. Pre-workout nutrition with adequate protein and a moderate amount of carbohydrates can help regulate the blood sugar levels. Post-workout nutrition is equally important for managing blood sugar as well as for rebuilding muscle tissues that were damaged during the workout.

Poor Posture

A common cause of headaches during training is the head position. While performing lifts, particularly back squats and deadlifts, overextending your neck when leaning your head back and looking at the ceiling as you lift up the weight can lead to tension headaches.

Training isn't the only thing that will cause a chronic tension-type headache. Modern workplaces are a breeding ground for developing a stiff neck and head pain. Not only can strengthening those muscles help offset the occurrence of a chronic tension-type headache, but using foam rollers and lacrosse balls for self-myofacial release (SMFR) and ensuring adequate stretching before and after training can improve symptoms drastically.

Muscle Cramping

Muscle cramps and side stitches are other common discomforts experienced during workouts. Deep breathing and massaging the affected body parts can often provide relief. None of these are reasons to stop exercising or going to the gym; they are just a normal part of working out. You can offset the likelihood of cramping with adequate hydration, potassium intake, flexibility and mobility work.

Most of these symptoms are common ailments during workouts. However, some of these may be symptoms of over-training, and you may need to take a break from the gym to allow your body to recover and heal completely. With the current popularity of intense workouts like boxing, people are training more often and harder than ever before. There are people who push themselves to train every day of the week without allowing time for rest and regeneration.

Symptoms of Over-training

Over-training occurs when the body is pushed beyond its natural ability to recover. Headaches, nausea, and fatigue are also the common symptoms of over-training. You must know what symptoms to monitor and how to recover from them, to continue building up your endurance and strength. You may even need to seek medical advice to rule out possibilities of other underlying medical conditions. Long term neurological, hormonal, migraines, and muscular symptoms can arise if you don’t address the symptoms of over-training and make the necessary corrections.

Symptoms of over-training may not be easy to distinguish from the general fatigue and other after effects of exercising. Overreaching is a less severe variation of over-training and you can recover from it after a few days of rest. Severe over-training may require weeks or months of recovery before you can resume your workouts.

Here are the main symptoms to monitor so that you can give your body the time to recover and then come back and train better than ever.

Extreme Fatigue and Reduced Sex Drive

Over-training can lead to increased cortisol levels and reduced testosterone levels leading to fatigue as well as a reduced sex drive. This is more often seen in endurance athletes who train for long periods. Such endurance athletes and marathoners should not only focus on getting adequate nutrition, but also enough rest to allow their bodies to regenerate and recover from the over-training.

You don’t have to run 10 miles every day just because you can push yourself that far. Once you recover, shorter duration exercises with high-intensity interval training might be a better option than running long distances every day.

Extremely Sore for Days

You know how sore your body gets after an intense workout. Post-workout soreness in the form of delayed onset muscle fatigue (DOMS) is normal. But if it feels consistently sorer and the pain lingers for days, you have probably been over-training.

Over-training is more common with newbies. They tend to do too much too fast and then can’t move their arms or legs for days. While it's hard to override the motivation of a new program, it's important to give the body adequate time to rest and regenerate rather than turning to pain medication and pushing yourself harder. Active recovery between intense training sessions can be a powerful treatment for continued pain from over-training.

To reduce the likelihood of lasting discomfort, be sure to ease into a new program. A Gloveworx coach can help you progress at a healthy rate.

Poor Performance

It’s easier to spot poor performance if you have been tracking and documenting your workouts. If your strength and stamina are going down for two or three workout days at a stretch, then it’s time to reassess the situation. Is your body asking for a break or do you need to change your workout plan?

One way to check this out is to test your grip strength using grippers like Captains of Crush. If you are unable to close the gripper as easily as before, it’s a clear warning that you are over-training and your body is losing its strength.


Over-training can send the sympathetic nervous system into overdrive, causing restlessness and hyper-excitability. Though a good exercise session can help you sleep better, over-training can lead to insomnia.

Of course, if you have a severe headache from dehydration or a stiff neck from inadequate mobility work, your lack of sleep could be directly related to these physical symptoms. Adequate sleep is important for reaching goals, both in and out of the ring.

Elevated Resting Heart Rate

A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute. A well-trained athlete might have a normal resting heart rate closer to 40 beats a minute. In the early stages of fighting an illness or during periods of over-training, the resting heart rate tends to be 10-15 beats per minute higher than usual. This is a clear indication that your body needs some rest to recover.

For those who regularly have high blood pressure, it's important to identify this issue with a coach and monitor the intensity of the workout. Physical fitness puts stress on the body. Even though it's good stress, it can still have a negative impact and result in temporary high blood pressure.

Those on high blood pressure medication should discuss their training program with their medical doctor before engaging. If you experience the sudden onset of a severe headache or nausea and vomiting, cease training immediately and seek medical assistance.

Emotional Changes

Over-training can wreak havoc on your hormones, leading to lack of motivation, lowered self-esteem, and even depression. A lack of motivation is something that we all face occasionally. There are days you just don’t feel like going to the studio. But when this lack of motivation extends for days or weeks, maybe it’s time to stop pushing yourself so hard, to listen to your body and give it some rest.

A Weak Immune system

If you find yourself more sick than normal, even if it’s catching frequent colds, your immune system may be suffering from the effects of over-training. Insomnia, stress and lack of adequate nutrition can all lead to a weakened immune system. It is important that you listen to your body and allow adequate time to rest and recover before hitting the gym again.

If you start to see fluctuations in your blood pressure or start getting a runny nose and sore throat when no one else around you is getting sick, do a self-assessment and see if your immune system is acting up as a result of over-training. While pushing through a runny nose to get a workout in, at some point you may need to scale it back. If you're feeling under the weather and start to experience dizziness or blurred vision, cease training immediately. If you have the stomach flu or are experiencing persistent nausea and vomiting before training, do everyone a favor and stay home.

How to Recover from Over-training

Sleep right: Training is a combination of workout and recovery. Adequate regeneration periods and sleep are very important.

Eat right: Eat a high protein diet with adequate amounts of fat and carbohydrates. Take vitamin and mineral supplements as required. Eggs are a great source of protein and fat. While choosing healthy carbs, avoid processed foods like bread and pasta and focus on high fiber whole grains, legumes, and oats.

Train right: The workout plan must be made taking into consideration your current health, strength, and endurance. The right type of exercises, amount of reps and adequate rest periods are important. Recovery periods between sets, as well as regeneration between workout sessions, are necessary for success.

Listen to Your Body

Being physically active is a powerful way to offset tension headaches and feelings of pain, acting as a holistic alternative to medicinal pain relievers for many. However, there can be too much of a good thing.

Fatigue, a headache and nausea may be due to an easily resolvable issue like dehydration or inadequate nutrition. Or they may be indications of over-training. Learning about the various symptoms to monitor and how to recover from them can help you prevent over-training. At the same time, this knowledge also helps you avoid set-backs and push through the normal discomforts associated with training.

Always talk to a medical professional before starting a training regimen, and to rule out underlying causes of pain, like connective tissue disorders or chronic migraine triggers.

A Gloveworx coach can guide you to a sensible training program to maximize your workout gains without over-training. Book a One-on-One Session to customize a plan that will help you Become Unstoppable