3

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Is overtraining overused?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 29, 2011 at 5:45 PM

I see a lot of people on this forum immediately use overtraining as a diagnosis for stalled fat loss, poor sleep, poor performance, and various health issues. Where I see some validity in overtraining, I also feel that the heart of the problem is more likely undereating. While I do agree that we are not required to exercise to exhaustion several times a week and it doesn't mimic the "paleolithic lifestyle", I do feel that if you are eating for your training there is no reason you cannot train hard and often.

For instance, when I was bodybuilding and preparing for a contest, I was training 7 days a week for at least an hour a training session. I would get down to 4% bodyfat for contest day. Granted I had IBS and some energy issues, but I equate that to eating a SAD bodybuilding type diet, low fat, high fiber, high protein, and poor quality foods. Another personal example while on paleo is when I went VLC for 6 months I hit a wall and had some serious cortisol issues. Nothing changed in my training, but I was obviously not eating for my training because I was still intensely training but not provide the carbs or calories necessary for the work load. I am now training hard and often but have increased my carb and calorie load and things are back on track.

Of course everyone is different and there is definitely a place for advising people to back down on their training, however, for the average and relatively healthy individual do you think the term overtraining is overused and they simply just need to eat more??

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 29, 2011
at 09:10 PM

Hey Mark: What do you think of my routine(I am attempting to maintain general conditionining while training for power/olympic-lifting). Cardio is 30 minutes of walking daily. Check out "diet and exercise routine" on paleohacks if you care to have a perusal...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 29, 2011
at 09:09 PM

My sentiments as well, becker. I've been at it a long time, and the more intensity you are capable of, the more you tax your recuperative abilities.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 29, 2011
at 09:08 PM

Hey Travis...check out the high-volume compounds of my routine(just posted under "diet and exercise routine"). I have yet to feel over-taxed or under-nourished...

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 29, 2011
at 09:07 PM

Hey Becker: check out my routines that I just posted. I am doing strength-training, etc. similar to yourself. I have always gone to the extent that most would consider 'overtraining' but it seems to mainly stimulate me more than anything(...no problems, really...)

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on April 29, 2011
at 06:34 PM

I have trouble with calorie intake and keeping food quality good during hard training too

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on April 29, 2011
at 06:33 PM

No papers, but Mark Rippetoe covers this in Starting Strength. His assertion was that intermediate athletes overtax their recovery systems. I buy that... but mostly because I trust Mark Rippetoe's knowledge of exercise physiology. No citations for that in his book. Beginners, then, may not eat enough in the first place to fuel recovery, even if the system itself is capable of making the repairs before the next workout.

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7 Answers

1
535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on April 29, 2011
at 08:01 PM

If you're not eating enough and working out hard you will run into problems and eventually hit the wall. Your body needs more nutrients to repair and recuperate from a workout. Still over-training is the main reason most people don't make muscle gains from bodybuilding type routines. You really need much less exercise than most people think to get in shape or put on muscles mass. Without adequate rest and recovery you are just spinning your wheels. The more advanced your fitness level the greater your work capacity. You have to find your own level. If you have energy issues that is a warning sign, exercise in proper amounts should increase your energy.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 29, 2011
at 09:10 PM

Hey Mark: What do you think of my routine(I am attempting to maintain general conditionining while training for power/olympic-lifting). Cardio is 30 minutes of walking daily. Check out "diet and exercise routine" on paleohacks if you care to have a perusal...

1
Medium avatar

on April 29, 2011
at 07:00 PM

Seems like this is a matter of semantics. A particular nutrient intake begets a particular recuperative capacity. If someone isn't eating enough, it's not that it's that instead of overtraining it's that it's paving the way for overtraining itself.

That being said, unless someone is doing a high volume of compounds constantly, they're likely not pushing against their recuperative capacity, no matter what it is.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 29, 2011
at 09:08 PM

Hey Travis...check out the high-volume compounds of my routine(just posted under "diet and exercise routine"). I have yet to feel over-taxed or under-nourished...

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 29, 2011
at 06:16 PM

Damn good question. I've actually used that excuse for some people, including myself. I think the over-training excuse can be used for people who are just beginning a high intensity fitness program though. I have no science to back me up, just experience with myself and others. I tend to go gung-ho with new types of fitness and I have a tendency to get hurt or burnt out.

I would LOVE to have someone post some science behind the poster's question. Anyone have some good papers on the subject?

Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on April 29, 2011
at 06:33 PM

No papers, but Mark Rippetoe covers this in Starting Strength. His assertion was that intermediate athletes overtax their recovery systems. I buy that... but mostly because I trust Mark Rippetoe's knowledge of exercise physiology. No citations for that in his book. Beginners, then, may not eat enough in the first place to fuel recovery, even if the system itself is capable of making the repairs before the next workout.

1
Cf626d3fba66c18297b3f1116a920e58

(3417)

on April 29, 2011
at 06:07 PM

I'm not sure where I stand, but a couple of weeks on my strength training program had me feeling like hell. Then, I upped my calories and made sure I ate at least 1.5 lbs. meat per day and 0.5-1 lb. starchy thing PWO 3x/week. I feel great doing this, but I still put stock in overtraining being possible if eating well and not incurring stress injuries.

It seems to manifest more in intermediate and advanced athletes because they are able to tax their bodies such that their recovery systems can't make the necessary repairs before the next workout. The repair lags behind the training requirements, and performance and health just fall apart naturally.

This is the type of overtraining I confidently believe exists. My own issues probably just came from undereating since I don't have too much training experience.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 29, 2011
at 09:09 PM

My sentiments as well, becker. I've been at it a long time, and the more intensity you are capable of, the more you tax your recuperative abilities.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on April 29, 2011
at 06:34 PM

I have trouble with calorie intake and keeping food quality good during hard training too

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 29, 2011
at 09:07 PM

Hey Becker: check out my routines that I just posted. I am doing strength-training, etc. similar to yourself. I have always gone to the extent that most would consider 'overtraining' but it seems to mainly stimulate me more than anything(...no problems, really...)

0
44348571d9bc70c02ac2975cc500f154

(5853)

on April 29, 2011
at 07:09 PM

depends of sport, i think its even quite underused in certain endurance sports like road cycling. Quite easy to overtrain, many people lack good base fitness, and do too much high intensity, happened to me ;(

0
1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on April 29, 2011
at 06:03 PM

I agree with your statement that "overtraining" is probably not the best answer for people. Instead we should focus on how to modify the diet to best fit their training regime, this is a food-hack site right?

0
Eeb593d6b6d7a939fdd5469b69347d5f

(1037)

on April 29, 2011
at 05:56 PM

Agreed. Undereating is a much bigger problem than over training. I think that term is thrown around much too loosely. Creating too large a calorie deficit can be solved without cutting down training.

If you're getting stress injuries from running 20 miles a day, that's a different story.

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