There's No Such Thing As Overtraining!

Create: 06/15/2007 - 07:22
A BAG poster reposts an article whose author argues that there's no such thing as overtraining.

I hate to break it to you, but there is no such thing as overtraining, there is only under-recovering. I dont think people appreciate the workload that the human body is capable of adapting to. To think that a person would stop at three sets of ten out of fear of overtraining is ridiculous and is probably a symptom of too much time spent reading muscle magazines and their stupid monthly work out suggestions and bad-advice columns. The only fear a person should have is the fear of under recovering, because THAT is the true culprit in lack of muscle gains, lack of strength gains and overall poor performance. If your calories are high enough to suit your training volume, and if you are getting enough rest, you can push your body farther than you probably could even imagine! I doubt that most people train their body anywhere even near their limit, mostly due to the fact that they dont have a good idea of what their nutritional needs REALLY are. So they are constantly half-assing training and half-assing recovery, and then posting threads lamenting their lack of progress. Lets look at me. Yes, I am on HRT, but my testosterone level is dead center normal. That means I have the testosterone level of a person who is NOT using AAS, but is in their mid twenties. So I am not receiving any hormonal boost in my training or recovery, i.e. I am basically training natural (which is to say that I, at 35, am hormanally the same as a natural guy 20-some years old...). I train monday, wednesday and friday, with back monday, chest/delts wednesday, and legs friday. All of those days I either lift really heavy (1, 3 or maybe 5 reps)for 4 or 5 sets of 3 to 5 exercises then auxilliary work, or I lift lighter (10-12 reps) for as many sets as I feel like, and then do heavy auxilliary work. On tuesdays and thursdays I usually drag a 150lb sled for an hour, and then do 100lb plate carries for a few sets of 20 yards (in 70 - 80 degree heat). There have been variations over the years, but it has always been a tremendous workload (i.e. training 6 days a week for 2 hour plus sessions). Do I overtrain? No. Why? I take in somewhere between 5000 and 8000 calories a day, try to get a gallon of water per day minimum and get a good nights rest. If I find a chance to take a nap during the day, I do so. I know my body well enough to listen to it when it tells me not to do another set, or to do a different movement because my rotator cuff or something is sore. I know what my body can take and I know how to recover. The fact of it is this: If you are taking in calories equal to or exceeding your work level and getting appropriate rest, you will recover. If you are taking in calories exceeding your work level and getting rest, you will grow. If you are taking in calories exceeding your work level and getting rest, you will get stronger. So ask yourself, are you under-recovering? If your recovery is fine and you dont feel overtrained, ask yourself this: Are you undertraining? If you have spent your life doing preprogrammed routines of 3 sets of 10, and whatever else the magazines try to sell you, consider that lack of progress may be due to the fact that you are not pushing your body hard enough to elicit a response. Improvement only occurs when you present your body with a greater set of challenges than it is accustomed to facing, and if youve been using the same handful of training schemes your entire training-life, you haven't been giving your body anything but the same old stimuli it is used to getting. If there is no new stimuli, there is nothing new to adapt to, so there is no reason for the body to change (i.e. get stronger, add more muscle, improve performance). So do yourself a favor, and stop searching the boards and magazines for new routines of sets and reps and magical new exercises. Get out there and do the basics and do them hard until you cant take any more. Then eat, drink and rest and let nature do the rest. People were growing muscle and getting strong WAY BEFORE fancy supplements, monthly magazine and internet forums were around, so spend less time looking and more time doing. I would say more, but Im off to get something to eat...


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
This is stupid. under-recovering and overtraining are the exact damn thing. When you do too much workload for what YOU can recover from... you overtain. Or, we can be cool and make a whole article bickering over semantics.

Submitted by Frank Caminita (not verified) on
This is like saying 6 or a half a dozen. I don't think increasing caloric intake will shorten recovery but it is at least possible if the calories are too low this will lengthen recovery (this is my opinion and it is based on no scientific research but just common sence). I do agree that most don't push the body to the true limit. The body does have an increadible ability to adapt. If a guy is training the same routine over and over the body goes into something called adaptation. Check out Louie's article on Adaptation.

Submitted by Old Schoool Lifter (not verified) on
In the real world the advice in that article only applies within a certain window before a person plateaus. The author has the mentality: "There's no such thing as over-training, just under-eating/ there's no such thing as over-eating just under-training." It's an entertaining thought which is simply not true. While our bodies can adapt to a lot, if a person isn't allowing themselves to recover they overtrain. We can eat so much food and are not 100% efficient at using it; if we were, we could eat all we want and never have to use the restroom. Even our most highly conditioned in the military and professional athletes can only recover so fast regardless of how much they eat.

Submitted by omm02 on
wow 70 to 80 degrees, you call that heat. Come out to Arizona to do sleds, tire flips and all that other stuff where its 110.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Sure- if you have a hardcore mentality and you are eating and resting enough, you can lift moderate weight for insane volume. However, heavy lifts fry your nerves and all the steak, whey and trenbolone in the universe will not allow you to keep putting up heavy lifts at a high volume.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
How much can you believe from a guy who admits that he's juicing and then claims that he's "basically training natural"? Give me a friggin' break.

Submitted by George Phipps (not verified) on
These guys who claim that there is no such thing as over training don't train, or they train like a bunch of 10 yrs girls. And when I say train I mean train, not just lifting some weights at a 24 hrs fitness three or four days a week. George

Submitted by D.J. (not verified) on
i agree- it wont happen like that, but if you start off slow and work your way up, your body is capable of handling much more workloads than the ones that most lazy ass powerlifters do...

Submitted by Carl on
No such thing as over-training is like saying no such thing as a hangover ! Toe(may)toe...Toe(mah)toe.

Submitted by lenny spero (not verified) on
i wouldnt say that there is no such thing as overtraining..i would however say that i know alot of people that play the "overtrained" card..when there too tired or dont have the heart to train hard, its very hard to overtrain IMO,,if you have a normal eating and sleeping schedule.

Submitted by Mike Bartos (not verified) on
I agree...a little bit. Everyone is different. I usually train 6-7 days a week very hard. Most days take 90 minutes, but even if the workout is 40 minutes it is a very hard forty minutes. Other people who I have trained with in the past have been injured and overtrained very quickly from the training I do. Everyones different. Find what works best for you and do it. If I start to feel overtrained (which happens from time to time) I back off a little on assistance maybe dropping a set or two each day. But overtraining is definately a reality even with great nutrition and rest.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
"HRT"? HELLO, he's USING JUICE. Not part of that caloric overeating or grape, he gets my blessing there... Thus the stupid notion he can train constantly, and eat a bazillion calories. Sooner or later the body slams into the wall. (let's see, westside barbell club, generally goes to the diner, eats a lot of calories, uses steroids and doesn't claim it at "HRT" trying to sound like they AREN't, and do 8-9 workouts in 7 days? What's NEW ABOUT THIS!) it's naive and well, moronic for this guy to assume the rest of us just do "3 sets of 10". go off the juice, buddy, and do my workouts. you won't be walking the next day lol. and quit trying to act like you're NOT juicing on "HRT". If it pops you on a drug screen AND IT WILL, you're JUICING. Overtraining is not a myth, it is NOT UNDEREATING. Idiot. What are you, 400 freakin lbs of FAT? Steroids gone to your brain mebbe? (spelling intentional here). you on viagra too, as "HRT"? you haven't invented a new wheel. you're merely describing normal roider eating/training lol....

Submitted by paul (not verified) on
Overtraining is real and so is OTS(over training syndrome) in all kind of athletes, there is such thing as increasing ones work capacity, but overtraing is possible.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
The jack@$$ bodybuilder type that wrote the idiotic commentary has never been and never will be overtrained. Why do I say that? His "training" speaks for itself. He speaks of sets and reps 3s and 5s etc. You just don't get the significant muscular and connective tissue damage from those "sets and reps". Try doing 10-15 SINGLE attempts at perfect technique box squats or competition perfect bench presses. Do a handfull of rackpulls at 1200lbs you won't be talking sets and reps you will describe technique and effort. You will discuss 'groove' and explosiveness. Max effort causes the breakdown and this joker and all other casual iron (bodybuilder)jokers will never get that. Max efforts cause central nervous system failures or shutdowns. THAT results in overtraining and NO AMOUNT of calories fixes that. Oh well, if these guys weren't around we wouldn't have anyone to tell us how wrong our 1000lb squat is compared to their... oh wait they don't squat either...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I have a job that is extremly physically demanding and involves alot of heavy lifting on a daily basis and you have to keep a rapid pace because of the rate. this is four days a week and you have to do this for ten hours a day with only getting two 20 minute brakes and a half hour lunch. I am here to tell you that it is like running a marathon while lifting weights. You would think that you would just get so overworked that you would just breakdown but your body adapts and you get better at the job. What I am tring to say is that the human body does not get overtrained. You just get lazy and dont want to continue the hard work and make yourself stronger and better at what you are doing. everything in life is a mindset. if you believe that you are overtraing and limit yourself then thats the results you will get. LIMITED!!!! So quit being lazy, get a success mindset and dont ever stray from that and you will achieve your goals.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Mind over matter. Look at what they do in the military...In the first couple weeks your body is completely broken down to adapt to the lifestyle.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
The better shape you are in the more a load you can handle,but there is a limit to the human body. There is a difference between a good swimmer or a elite sprinter and a powerlifter for example., even a good athlete has grace period time to time. You can run five miles for five days straight and recover in time if you are in shape, but go squat five days in a row like 70% percent of max everyday with many reps you can each time in squat. Your hemoglobin and glycogen levels might be low, but if you have a good diet you can recover in time from the run. If you go squat like this for five days in a row your central nervous system would start to brake down which makes your muscle less responsive and more weak. If you squat like this during the week day after day your tendons and ligaments start get inflammation and your cortisol levels,"dark hormone" levels will rise at high levels and your body be in catabolism all the time. Several studies shows this can happen with joint inflammation. Know matter how good of shape you are in, if you your body is in a state of catabolism, your never going to gain a ounce of muscle and if you keep workout hard you will start going backwards in your training. If a person lays off for awhile and eat properly you should have a positive nitrogen balance and be anabolic again and testosterone levels raise again, but sometimes it takes some time. There is a big difference (running which does taxes cns a little and joints somewhat after awhile if you run really hard, and (swimming,which hardly taxes your central nervous system and joints)to so a person can be in good aerobic shape, then high trauma heavy lifting for powerlifting! If you don't think you can be overtrained then go do some heavy squatting seven days a week! Just think, a person's body telling itself that it is going thru some serious trauma lifting heavy and the person's body is just responding to a stress and if that person's body just responding so that person doesn't do any serious damage to it self!