Have You Really Overtrained?

Create: 12/09/2005 - 08:30
A Power and Bulk thread questions today's frequent rally cry of overtraining.

I think when the question of overtraining comes up, instead ask a few questions: 1) Am I getting enough sleep? 2) Am I getting enough good food? 3) Is there anything additional life has hit me with lately? 4) What's my current workload for training and what have I changed lately? In my opinion, true overtraining, where your sleep and eating is affected, motivation is low, headaches, etc. doesn't happen very often at all. And a lot of it can probably be blamed on other factors such as adequate diet and sleep, active recovery, additional stress from life, work, etc. A better way of thinking of it is in terms of work capacity.

The poster then goes on to suggest ways to build up ones work capacity over time. His premise is that those that are newer to training or less experienced should be worried about undertraining not overtraining. Some agree that overtraining is overhyped:

I definitely agree that the 'overtraining' cry is being used too often, I think it's areaction to the 80's when everybody did too much (mimicking the trainng of the steroid athletes of the day). Now, if you are tired after a workout, you must be overtrained. But that's not what true overtraining (which takes months to recover from) is. It's not even overreaching. It's called 'being a pussy'.

Others don't think undertraining is rampant:

Still, newbie or advanced, I don't see undertraining being a problem. Most trainees, myself included, spent considerable time, years in most cases, training at a higher volume than they can recover from adequately. Apparently, their work capacity is fine. It's their recovery capacity that is the problem. I can do ten times more work (probably 100 times) than I can recover from. Unfortunately, that does my PL total little good. My work capacity has to cater to my recovery capacity, not the other way around.