T Nation

'Afraid of Overtraining'


I saw this in a forum today and thought it was hilarious! What is bad, is the dude was serious.

I'm afraid of over training, which is the reason I want to train as little as possible.


I started training in the 90's, when Yates was king, and every article you reasd was about not overtraining. In hindsight, it was a bad thing that myself, and I'm sure countless other new trainers around the world got it into their head to somehow hold themselves back in the gym, instead of focusing on optimizing their recovery to balance everything out and support progress.

As I learned more and mroe about nutrition, and really started "covering every base" that I could, I also evolved into much more of a volume trainer. Eventually, I would even learn to control excessive fatigue, while still doing tons of volume.... and in doing so, make my best gains.

IMO, unless you've got a crazy physical job, 5 days a week, 9-5, get very little sleep, and suffer a horrible diet, chances are you don't need to worry about possibly doing too much in the gym.



I am someone who has apparently not figured out how to optimize my recovery. I can fairly easily do more sets in the gym than I can recover from; if I do too much I just start to get weaker on the big lifts.


I was a sufferer of overtraining back in my college swimming days. I was doing 2 hour evening practices 5 days a week, 3 mornings a week , and a meet every weekend. During the first half of the year, I was getting maybe 6 hours of sleep a night and eating as well as I could on a meal plan. I toed the line of overtraining pretty much the entire first half of the season, but I made it through.

It wasn't until we hit the second half of the season that I, and pretty much the rest of team, really hit overtraining. And I don't mean overreaching- I mean I couldn't do things that I used to do easily. Starting with our training trip, we trained 21 days straight- most days were two 3 hour sessions, with 2 or 3 days where we had "only" one practice.

I was eating 4 full meals every day, with protein shakes and other snacks in the car between our hotel and the pool. I slept at least 8 hours at night, and napped in between sessions, along with tons of stretching and contrast showers. For the first 4 days or so, I had the best practices of my life. By the end, I was starving every minute I wasn't eating (my one buddy had a jar of peanut butter he kept next to the pool, and in between sets he would eat a finger full.

After our first day off in 21 days, the semester started back up, so we went back to the 8 sessions a week, plus an "optional" workout on Sundays that wasn't really optional. By this time I felt like shit all the time, and I had lost a ton of weight (although I was looking pretty cut haha). I had trouble sleeping, my heart rate in the mornings was through the roof ,I was always sore, my shoulders were on fire, and I was miserable. We finally hit taper, I shaved, and at our last meet of the year, I fucking bombed. Couldn't even hit times I was hitting at the beginning of the season, even with a 2 week "rest" period to get ready for the meet. My motivation was shot, and it took me several weeks to even think about working out again.

I'm not bringing this up for sympathy or anything, I'm just saying that as someone who has suffered overtraining, it takes a LOT of work to cause over training. I agree with Mighty Stu-the average person, training 3-4 times a week, it's almost impossible to overtrain, unless you're doing something stupid or your diet/recovery sucks, or both. I currently traing 2xday, 5 days a week, for about an hour each session, and I have no problems recovering.