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    WEEK EIGHTY-SEVEN :: How Can One Prevent Overtraining?

    * Note: How can I win? 1. Answer all questions in the order that they are asked. 2. Go over reviews (located at the bottom of each TOTW article) and see what was said about those that did not win. Good Luck!
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    TOPIC: How Can One Prevent Overtraining?

    For the week of: July 26th - August 1st
    Tuesday @ Midnight Is The Final Cut (Mountain Time, US & Canada).

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    We've all over-trained at least once in our lives, and we've paid for it. Overtraining is a serious problem amongst bodybuilders. Very often a new bodybuilder who thinks "more is better" is a victim of overtraining. It is important for all bodybuilders to beware of the effects of overtraining and how to prevent it.

    What are some of the effects of overtraining?

    Cardio vs. Weight Training: Which type of overtraining is worse? Why?

    How does one know if they’ve over-trained? What are some of the symptoms?

    What are some ways to prevent overtraining through diet and training?

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    Thanks.

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  2. #2
    Registered User tallgease's Avatar
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    Overtraining

    Being a recovered anoretic, I've had my share of personal overtraining experiences; constant exercising and lack of proper nutrition led me to fall into burnout as I attempted to dwindle my body down to nothing. While most readers will fail to relate to this, I often see weight trainers who attempt to thrash their bodies through 3 hour training sessions and 7 day-a week splits, as if they were invincible. As bodybuilders, it is your responsibility to yourselves to practice healthy ways of ensuring your well being in order to ultimately be the best athlete and, more importantly, person possible.
    Firstly, the Effects of Overtraining:
    From personal experience, I have found that burnout affects all aspects of life. Constantly irratible, my personlay relationships often suffered due to my sour attitude and temperament. I could barely function as my grades slipped, and I often opted to avoid attending classes due to constant apathy and depression.
    For most, however, the effects of overtraining exist more sublty:

    Diffuculty resting and sleeping
    Pain and soreness in muscles and joints
    Dizziness, migraine, headaches
    Elevated morning pulse
    Sudden inability to complete workouts
    Feeling unmotivated and lacking energy as well as general fatigue
    Weakened immune function and re-occuring illness
    Loss in appetite (that was my favorite..sadly)
    Failure to mentally perform at optimum levels
    Decreased athletic performance
    Decreased training tolerance and recovery
    Decreased motor coordination
    Altered resting heart rate (HR), blood pressure and respiration patterns
    Decreased body fat and post-exercise body weight
    Increased VO2, VE , and HR during submaximal work
    Decreased lactate response
    Increased basal metabolic rate
    Chronic fatigue
    Eating disorders
    Menstrual disruptions
    Headaches, gastrointestinal distress
    Muscle soreness and damage
    Joint aches and pains
    Depression and apathy
    Decreased self-esteem
    Decreased ability to concentrate
    Decreased self-efficacy
    Sensitive to stress
    Increased occurrence of illness
    Decreased rate of healing
    decreased immune function
    Hypothalamic dysfunction
    Increased stress hormone prodution (cortisol)
    Decreased serum total and free testosterone, testosterone/cortisol ratio
    Decreased muscle glycogen
    Decreased levels of hemoglobin(white blood cells), iron, and ferritin
    Negative Nitrogen balance


    Now, some who read this may not care as long as they are getting ripped/ or gaining muscle mass, but, I'm sorry to tell you, you're body doesn't perform either of these processes well if you are overtraining.

    Next, Cardio V.S. Weight Training:
    During my experience, I would often run for hours upon hours. My cardio sessions often wouldn't end until I had burned a thousand more calories than I had consumed (a thousand calories a day for two pounds a week..eh). I find, since cardio can be performed optimally on a much wider scale and for longer durations, that cardio is potentially more dangerous. What sounds more taxing: an hour session of hill running which can burn into the thousands of calories or an hour session of weight training which, at rediculous levels of intensity, might burn around half of that? Being thousands of calories in the red seems more dangerous that being hundreds in deficit to me. Cardio, also, tends to cause more sweating than weight training, causing a greater risk for dehydration and similar conditions.

    Thirdly, Symptoms(some are classified under effects as well):

    At first, you may not realize you are getting sick. Overtraining tends to creep up and hit you when you think you are comming in on top. But if you notice you are generally feeling off, you should look into the possibility that you are over doing it. For me, I find the best way to gauge how you are doing is by how you feel immediately upon waking. Here are some general symptoms:
    Decreased training performance
    Decreased training tolerance and ed increased recovery requirements
    Decreased motor coordination
    Altered resting heart rate (HR), blood pressure and respiration patterns
    Decreased body fat and post-exercise body weight
    Chronic fatigue
    Sleep and eating disorders
    Menstrual disruptions
    Headaches, gastrointestinal distress
    Muscle soreness and damage
    Joint aches and pains
    Depression and apathy
    Decreased self-esteem
    Decreased ability to concentrate
    Decreased self-efficacy
    Sensitive to stress
    Increased occurrence of illness
    Decreased rate of healing

    Lastly, Prevention:

    Going with what was said before, I believe the best way to avoid overtraining is by gauging your mood and physical state. If you feel over worked and tired all the time, it would be beneficial to take more rest days during training.
    For actual training, I feel there is little need to cut intensity down, as long as your rest is sufficient for your training. Rest requirements will vary from person to person with different methods of training and various functioning metabolic levels. As for diet, I'd be lying if I told you I always make sure to consume enough calories. If you plan on losing fat, go ahead and restrict yourself but be sure to keep in mind your level of training. If one is training for athletics, it is a good idea to eat for athletics as well: large scale training in endurance leaves no room for crash diets. If you are bulking or maintaing correctly through your diet (i.e. eating equal calories or more than you are burning), your diet is secure. For losing weight, dieting should be less extreme as training becomes more extreme. Always eat clean and make sure not to cut your calories to rediculously low levels (do not try not to make deficits larger than 1000 a day).

    Thanks for reading everybody!
    Tallgease
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    Registered User anadroltb50's Avatar
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    Thumbs up overtraining

    hey it was great reading ur article, especially since you stated in the beginning you were a recovered anorexic... this last month i had been eating nothing except broiled chicken and broccolli, doing cardio 4 times a week at 60 minutes, plus an ab session, plus weights 5 times a week....i had really put myself into a dwindled broken down state and i could not get myself out of the downward spiral. thankfully, partly due to tendonitis, i was able to take time off, reasses my training and nutrition and put everything in perspective. now i weigh less, but look 10 times better, fuller, leaner. your article was dead on to what overtraining is/does and can lead to
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    cazmcm cazmcm's Avatar
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    I too am a recovering anorexic and can recall myself going through so many of those symptoms and unfortunatley still do eg. menstral probs, low immune, sleep probs etc
    Nowadays though I have learned to listen to my body and when it says rest then rest. I set myself goals but nothing too far out of reach. I also stop comparing myself (in both exercise and food) to others, I train a certain way because thats best for my body, and I eat certain things (and often more than my regular friends) because my body needs to.
    Great article and I think really says it all! Good job tallgease
    I'm growing bigger muscles everyday...and I love it!
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  5. #5
    Registered User axed_monkey's Avatar
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    How can one prevent overtraining

    Hope its good
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    Over Training And Prevention

    Thanks for Reading
    Spaniard00
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    there is no offseason mivi320's Avatar
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    How Can One Prevent Overtraining?

    Intro

    Overtraining can be defined as training too frequently or hard for an extended period of time, which makes it nearly impossible for your body to recover from such workouts.

    As bodybuilders we break down muscle fibers in the gym, follow special diets, and make sure we're getting enough sleep. All of these components encourage hypertrophy (building of muscle) and recovery.

    When one is overtrained, there is absolutely no possible way for the body to recover.

    Those broken down muscle fibers cannot repair, hypertrophy is non-existent, and recovery is completely out of the picture.

    What Are Some Of The Effects of Overtraining?

    Besides not being able to recover from your workouts - meaning no gains in strength or size, some common effects of overtraining include:
    • Insomnia
    • Chronic fatigue
    • Irritableness
    • Susceptibility to sickness or common cold
    • Depression
    • Appetite loss
    • Joint Aches
    • Dizziness

    As you can see, overtraining is a serious thing. It affects many bodybuilders out there (mostly beginners). It not only affects your workouts, but also your life as a whole.

    The "more is better" principle never applies to bodybuilding, as having this mindset will eventually lead one into overtraining.

    Mike Mentzer said it best, "...the more is better principle only applies to women and money..." Mike was a big proponent of keeping your training simple to allow for recovery and optimal muscle growth. He obviously knew what he was talking about - just take a look at him!

    Cardio vs. Weight Training: Which type of overtraining is worse? Why?

    Any type of overtraining is bad, point blank.

    Overtraining through weight training is worse though, as the stress the body experiences from lifting heavy weights over an extended period of time with no room for recovery takes a dramatic toll on the human body - effecting not only the muscles but the individual's life as a whole.

    The stress and overload placed on the human body from weight lifting is much more taxing than overtraining through cardiovascular activity, as the likelihood of overtraining a muscle is higher than overtraining your heart.

    How does one know if they’ve over-trained? What are some of the symptoms?

    Overtraining happens when individuals focus too exclusively on improving their physique or performance by training the body past it's ability to recover properly.

    When one lacks proper recovery, the body cannot repair itself.

    Once this state is reached, the individual will know for a fact that they've overtrained. Some of the common symptoms of overtraining, as discussed previously, are:
    • Insomnia
    • Chronic fatigue
    • Irritableness
    • Susceptibility to sickness or common cold
    • Depression
    • Appetite loss
    • Joint Aches
    • Dizziness

    Some of the less common symptoms include:
    • Unable to relax and sit still
    • Dehydration
    • Increase of re-occurring injuries
    • Headaches
    • Migraines

    What are some ways to prevent overtraining through diet and training?

    The most significant prevention method is diet, hands down.

    Making sure you are getting enough quality protein in your diet is the most important factor. A good rule of thumb for protein requirements is 1-2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. This will allow for maximum recovery and conclusively prevent overtraining.

    Secondly, make sure you are getting enough carbohydrates in your diet. This will ensure that your body is burning glycogen during exercise and not precious muscle tissue. Carbohydrates are muscle sparing and the anabolic effect of carbohydrates is increased when combined with protein!

    Check your diet and make sure you are getting enough essential fatty acids (EFAs) and healthy fats. Fats will improve your recovery and are vital for the body's hormonal processes. Healthy fats include fish oil, flaxseed oil, peanut butter, and olive oil.

    Another important factor which will prevent overtraining is pre, during, and post workout nutrition.

    Your pre-workout meal should include plenty of carbohydrates, moderate protein, and a vegetable. During the workout, one should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

    Another option is sipping on a BCAA and whey protein "cocktail" to fight off catabolism and increase recovery. This option is recommended for those who train longer than 60 minutes.

    Post-workout is a time for some quickly digesting protein, preferably whey protein. Creatine is also best absorbed at this time period. These two supplements will drastically improve your recovery when taken at this time!

    Constructing a workout program that allows your body to repair and grow will also prevent overtraining. Taking anywhere from 1-3 rest days during the week will encourage recovery and allow for your body to heal.

    Following a set in stone workout program will deliver best results, as you'll have your mind set on what you are to do in the gym. Otherwise, you'll be setting yourself up for failure. Max-OT, HST, and HIT are all sound programs that deliver excellent results!

    Never train a sore body part. Allow for it to heal completely before brutalizing it again in the gym.

    Train smarter, not harder!

    Live life to the fullest,


    Mike
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