On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, I’m talking about the symptoms of overtraining and is overtraining real or myth?
There is a lot of talk about overtraining in the fitness industry.
Many people fear it, but is overtraining real or is it a myth?
Before I share my thoughts on overtraining, let me quickly explain what overtraining is.
The goal of a properly structured workout program is to overload the body with a stimulus, that then requires the body to adapt, by growing new muscle tissue, or using stored body fat for energy.
However, overtraining can occur when the intensity and volume of a person’s workout program, exceeds their recovery time.
Think of it this way.
When catabolism, the breakdown of the body, is higher than anabolism, the building of the body, overtraining can occur.
This can cause injury or prolonged elevation of cortisol production, which doesn’t allow the body sufficient time to rebuild, so the body continues to break down further.
Once in overtraining mode, the person most likely stops making progress, and can even see a decrease in their strength, muscle, and fat loss levels.
When it comes to making strength and muscle gains, and even fat loss, progress is not always linear.
What I mean by this is, just because you lost 10 pounds in the first month of your training, it doesn’t mean you will continue to lose 10 pounds every month moving forward.
In other words, by adding in more workouts, or increasing the length of your workouts, you’ll eventually hit a point where the more you do, doesn’t equal greater results.
The reason for this is recovery.
As I mentioned earlier, overtraining occurs when you don’t provide your body with enough time to properly rebuild and recover.
But here’s the good news.
For 99.93% of you reading this, you’ll never experience overtraining.
And that’s why there is always this debate on is overtraining real or myth.
Overtraining can be real, but you’d have to be training with way more intensity (i.e. heavy loads/weight), more volume (i.e. number of sets and reps per workout), and less recovery then 99.93% of the general population uses.
If you’re doing hard core two a days, every day for months, with long periods of cardio in the morning, then heavy lifting at night, combined with a poor diet, and little to no sleep, then you may be close to entering the overtraining zone.
However, if you’re following a properly structured workout program, with scheduled workouts, eating enough calories and protein, and getting sufficient sleep, you have nothing to fear about overtraining.
Follow these overtraining 101 guidelines to ensure you don’t over due it with your workouts and recovery:
Depending on your current fitness level, quality of sleep, and nutrition level, some people, including myself, can workout everyday and continue to get great results, without overtraining.
However, when I say that I workout every day, I’m not talking about completing intense workouts every day.
Even though I’m at the gym 7 days a week, 2-3 of those days are focused on improving recovery, via mobility, stretching, and yoga.
This works well for me as it allows me to not only stay active every day, but also helps my body recover faster.
Here’s what I typically recommend, based strictly on fitness levels, and adherence to proper nutrition and sleep protocols.
Beginner: if you’re just starting out with weight lifting, in our Live Lean Newbie program we recommend 3 resistance training sessions per week.
You could also supplement those three lifting sessions with 2-3 cardio sessions on off days.
The increase in sessions is due to the fact that your body is able to take on the additional stimulus, and can handle the extra work.
Cardio could also be added in on off days.
Advanced: I’d recommend 4-5 resistance training sessions for advanced lifters.
As with the other fitness levels, you could also add in cardio on off days if desired.
As mentioned earlier, proper sleep and nutrition also play a huge role in increasing your recovery times.
Typically the younger you are, the more frequently you’ll be able to train without issues with overtraining.
When you get older, your recovery period slows down, so it takes your body longer to properly repair and be ready for the next training session.
If you’re training hard in the gym and beginning to experience some or all of these signs, for an extended period of time, you may be entering the overtraining zone.
I recommend you take a few days off from the gym and rest, or follow a deload week, where you lower the intensity and volume of your workouts.
Typically after a few days of rest, or a deload week, your body gets the necessary time to properly recover, thus allowing you to go back to your normal training protocols.
Don’t use overtraining as an excuse not to workout.
As I mentioned, 99.93% of you watching this, will never take your training and lack of recovery to a level where you’d experience overtraining.
Too many people are limiting their workouts, thus not seeing amazing results, because they’re scared of overtraining.
Overtraining is not necessarily an indicator of how many times you go to the gym, it’s more about the intensity and duration of your workouts, the lack of quality sleep and recovery, and of course poor nutrition.
Unfortunately our society has become so sedentary, that many people feel any raise in HR can lead to overtraining.
When it comes to the question of overtraining real or myth, for most people, it’s a myth.
For serious athletes, overtraining can be real.
To ensure you’re training hard enough to achieve your desired results, while recovering properly, take the guesswork away by following an effective workout program.
Go take our quick Live Lean Body Quiz to discover the best workout program for you, based on your goals, fitness level, and access to equipment.
Our workouts have been getting people just like you, amazing results.
Remember, you’re just one program away from beginning your life of Living Lean.
We can’t wait to help you get there faster.
Thanks for watching and keep Living Lean.
Brad Gouthro is the founder of Live Lean TV, a media company focused on helping men and women “Live Lean” 365 days a year. Brad’s programs and content have helped millions of people all over the world learn how to get in shape, and more importantly, sustain it for life.