T Nation

Need Training help

I need some help with training. I am pretty sure i am getting into the gym too much-…I usually hit it everday but on certain days I only work small body parts individually such as abs/calf/forearm. I want to hear more on how to effectively periodize. Right now i am finishing up a cut, and as such, my energy is sapped. I have a tendancy to dial up the intensity levels when in the gym, but of late, it has stalled somewhat. What is a typical 7 day cycle of training for everyone?..2 on 1 off?..more specifically I’ll direct this question to whomever ever has a) had the problem of overtrainng before and b) how to both mentally and physically overcome it.
thanks vainer

What I believe is that once you hit a certain BF% - as in, really low BF%, recovery becomes crucial and overtraining has more of a chance of rearing it’s ugly head. So, I don’t go to the gym as often. Right now, it’s three days a week: Friday, Sunday, Tuesday. On Monday, Wednesdays and MAYBE Saturdays, I jump rope (intervals) and do ab work at home.

I too, useto go to the gym 5-6 days a week. Thinking that if I didn't I would shrink AND that "more was better". This is not the case. There was a time where my schedule was such that I couldn't weight train as much - only once a week. BUT I still made gains. That lasted for a couple of months - but I learned from that experience.

By the simple fact that I'm a busy person and rather *ahem* anal in my organization, I have to schedule practically everything. So I scheduled my "off days". I began with the typical 2on/1off and it has since morphed into my 3days a week. I no longer need to "schedule" my off days - it's a habit now.

You have to remember that by giving yourself those essential days off from training, it gives your body rest - but also your mind. I found that by going out and having a nice dinner at a restaurant, or staying home and working on art rather than going to the gym, gave my mind a break. It also allowed me to become more objective with myself - so, in a sense recovery time became another tool. A tool that allows your body/mind to rest and prepare itself for the next training period. Thereby enabling it for greater growth/gains.

As for periodization, if I have a lagging bodypart, I train it first in a training cycle - where my energy is usally at it's fullest (right after a recovery period). Since legs had been a lagging bodypart (and also since they are the largest muscle group) - I trained them first. Then back/shoulders and then chest/arms.

So, I would say if you are a person that does live by a organized schedule: schedule in the "days off". I would say that for what you want to do and where you're at BF%-wise, it would be good to do just that. It doesn't matter if it's just a "small bodypart" that you're training - what matter is to have days where you aren't in the gym at all. Giving your mind a break is just as important as the body.

I used to overtrain all the time. I was sick for 2 month once. The only thing you need to tell your self is that less is more. If you train less and let your body recover then you will make much better gains

Training 7 days a week is definitely too much. But I think too many people these days are way too concerned with overtraining. I believe it is more important to just make sure that you are getting in the gym consistently than to worry about whether you are going too much. If you are training 5 or more days per week just make sure you are not spending hours per day in the gym, keep it limited to 45min or an hour (unless you have “anabolic” support). Always make sure you get proper nutrition and plenty of sleep. I am currently on a 4 on 1 off split I train Chest/Hams on day 1, Back/shoulders on day 2, Quads/Calves/Abs on day3, Bi’s/Tri’s/Forearms on day 4, rest on day 5. Using this split for the past two weeks I have broken my 180lb plateau and gotten to 182.5lbs at 7%bf 5’6in. But of course there are an infinite number of splits and routines you can choose from the -most important factor in choosing one is your goals (gaining mass, weightloss, power training etc). But quit worrying about overtraining and just train hard.

I’d love to help, but honestly I’m not really sure what your question is, thus I can’t really give a good, complete answer. Could you clarify? I’m sorry.

While I change my workout on a regular basis, I usually always come back to a one day on/one day off basis. I’ve broken my routine into 8 body parts over the 4 workouts – each part is hit every 8 days. I’ve tried 2 days on;1 off and 4 days on;1 off, and I think I’m doing better on the 1 on/1 off schedule. Day 1 - Chest and Bi’s. Day 3 - Hamstring-specific (usually do good mornings, leg curls and deadlifts) and Shoulders. Day 5 - Back and Calves. Day 7 – Quads (Leg Presses, Squats, Leg Extensions) and Tris. I initially thought when I first tried this that I would lose strength with there being too much of a rest – I’ve found that with this routine, I can usually push my body very hard and move big weights for a long period of time – because I’m resting every other day. Depending upon how lean I am, I occasionally throw a cardio workout into my rest days.

Might not work for others. But it seems to work for me. P.S. – I’ve considered myself to be a hard gainer in the past. This routine seems to be helping move beyond.

Basically I was just looking for advice on a) the nature of the training “week” cycle for the more avid posters that I have come to respect on this site (by no means did i get everybody, hence the et al.) and b) how to avoid the psychological tendancy to think “If I am not in the gym, I’ll be shrinking.” Currently I hit the gym seven days a week, but of those seven two are completlely off (just 25 minutes of cardio, then in and out)…I guess signs of overtraining are individual. Also, I hate it when you cut, and then you got to gain and lose the “rip”…I guess I am rambling, but let me ask you, what is your current training rotation.

Hey, I know how you feel about ending a cutting cycle and starting to bulk and feel like you’re losing you’re ripped look. As you know, I did a cutting cyle earlier this year and got down to 6.5% which is really ripped for me but it did come at the expense of some muscle. Since ending the cutting cycle, I’ve been on Myostat and finishing my 2nd bottle of Mag-10 and just got up 20 lbs in the last couple days and most of it is muscle and my strength is way up and can see obvious diff in physique but also gained a “little” fat and at about 8%BF now, I “feel” fat compared to when I was at 6.5% 6 weeks ago but I look “better”. It’s more of a paranoid mind thing that I “fear” losing the hard work of the cutting cycle but 20 lbs with only 1.5% increase in BF is worth it. Good luck and keep focused on the bigger picture.

How long did you do mag-10 and myostat since cutting? You seem like you’ve lifted for a while so do you think the mag-10 and myostat helped a whole bunch. I also don’t know how much muscle you’ve lost while cutting.

 Vain, I know I'm not one of the more "avid posters", but I'll give you my two cents anyway...depending on if I am cutting, bulking, or just maintaining weight in a competitive season, the amount of days I am in the gym changes.  Honestly, I am never in the gym for weight training sessions more than 5 times a week, and have never gone less than 3 times a week.  This excludes the week off that I take every 12-16 weeks.  
 As far as losing your ripped look, you just have to exercise as much mental toughness and discipline when bulking as you do when cutting...and from your posts, you seem pretty damn disciplined.  You have to be willing to sacrifice the "extremely ripped" look in order to achieve more muscle mass and the little bit of fat that might accompany it, just like you had to sacrifice the "huge" look to get down to your current bodyfat.  Just think though...you may lose your ripped look for awhile while bulking, but the next time you cut, you are going to look that much better for having made the initial sacrifice.      

I’m guessing your post was directed to me? Yes, most of my recent gain has been lost muscle regained. I’m still about 6 lbs less than my all time high LBM. My story is an injury back in december 19,(ruptured lower biceps tendon right arm) that occured during a Mag-10 bulking cycle. Had surgery Dec 31. Spent 6 weeks laying on the couch watching TV and getting fat. My right arm atrophied down to nothing. When I started rehab, I couldn’t lift much (needed to take it slow) and had already lost all my conditioning/strength, so decided to go on cutting cycle and get ripped. Because of having to rehab the tendon injury with very light weights during the cutting cycle (I cut to 1400-1500 cals/day), I relied mostly on excessive cardio and got very ripped but lost even more muscle. I ended the cutting cycle 6 weeks ago and have been on Myostat the entire 6 weeks since and have done 2 cycles of Mag-10 seperated by a cycle of Tribex\Methoxy and have regained almost all my past muscle loss and very little fat. The breakdown for 6 weeks is 16 lbs muscle and 4 lbs fat. I can still see my abs (at 8% now) but am undecided to do a mini cutting cycle and drop couple lbs fat or keep bulking as my strength has been going up by leaps and bounds and am anxious to return to top form. I’m going to continue 2 on/ 2 off Mag-10 with Myostat and expect to gain another 6-10 lbs by 4th of july.

SBET, thanks much dude…and everybody else for that matter…question, perhaps we should pose this on another post but wtf…
In this sport of bb’ing, does it pose some psychological ramifications that we perhaps have not discussed…
for example:
no matter if i am cutting or bulking, I am never happy (well, never feeling I am there) save maybe for a day if that. Does that contribute to overall psychological well-being?..I argue however, that the constant striving for an unatainable “physique” has some positive value also. I realize many people compliment me etc, but at the same time, I seem to fight a mental battle of never being “there”…where does everyone stand on this?

BTW, I am continuing to cut…veins are coming up my lower abs, but total subcutaneous body fat is not gone, and that is pissing me off. I will not bulk until every lipid droplet of sc fat is destroyed.

I wouldn’t necessarilly call it “constantly striving for the unatainable” - the “unatainable” to me are the steroid mongoloids (men and women). I don’t want that. I want something that is a symbol of overall health. That’s what I’m striving for. To be a positive role-model for ALL the bodybuilders trying to achieve a physique like that of a Greek Statue naturally and retain a well-rounded LIFE. I believe in setting and achieving these and other goals - afterall, “only the mediocre are satisfied”.

Sorry, for incorporating a "zen" like perspective into this thread. But I find it to be just as important as hitting the weights. But you asked a good question, Vain. "Why; Why do we do this? Why is it so important? Well, because it can be a enriching and empowered addition to our lives. Right? So, I find it important to get out of the gym - and live a life that is full of other interests that keep me motivated. I know some would say, "so what if you train 7-days a week - as long as you're training hard and lovin' it, go for it" - yeah, but the possibility of mental burnout is more prevalent. I believe in taking a well-balanced approach to training. And boy, do I know what you mean about that "contest ready" physique. I love it when I'm at that low BF and thinkin' "man, I'm lookin' goooooood" - and afraid that if the cuts dissapear, I'll look "icky". Which is NOT the case. But you're mentally playing mind games like that.

My secret is to (after a contest) to do something else the following week. I either take a week off and just do art or some other activity. Keeps me in perspective. And maintains my motivation to train.

I whole heartedly agree that what drives BB’s and makes us the animals we are is never being satisfied with where we are. No matter how far we have come, we want to go further. No matter how big we get, we want to get bigger. No matter how ripped we get, we want to get rippeder (is that a word?). We want to go beyond excellence and achieve perfection but of course it doesn’t exist. And in response to Jason Norcross’s post “The Bodybuilder’s Contradiction”, this is what drives BB’s to pursue the “perfect supplement”. BB’s consider this a quest to be the best you can be but the “others” consider us obsessive. I just don’t understand why they consider us obsessive just because we fret if missing our 2 o’clock feeding or fret over a missed WO. Anyway, I’ve got to cut this short as I’m due for my post post WO feeding. Later.

And there is what I have found to be my biggest training breakthrough. Don’t train for appearance, as it is like chasing buterflys. With a good training log, you can strive for better work output on every training session. You can gear your training to hypertrophy, to max strength, strength endurance, whatever. Those numbers don’t lie. Charles Staley, I hope, starts a revolution with his EDT in that same line of thinking. Its best kept simple. do enough so that you can do more the next time. Too much more and you will burn yourself out mentally and neurologically. Something ceases to work, change it.

Well, I guess I qualify as an “avid” poster - even if you DIDN’T ask for me by name… :slight_smile:

First, I just want to say that Patricia’s post is one of the best I’ve seen on the forum so far. You nailed it, babe!

Second, as far as splits go, unless I’m trying for some very specific goal I will usually train 2-on 1-off, or maybe MTTF (which allows one extra day of recovery per week). Each bodypart being trained once a week on average, unless maybe it’s calves or another small bodypart that I want to focus on. Since I’m now 40, basically ectomorphic and don’t use much in the way of supps, I feel that most people could probably recover adequately (as I do) on this type of program. Of course, this assumes that your nutrition is good (which mine is) and that you’re not in an ultra-ripped state (which I’m not). But ultimately, it comes down to what you can handle at any particular time in your training life, and if you really are worried about recovery, my advice is to watch all the other factors outside of the gym - nutrition, sleep, general life stress, etc. - at least as carefully as your training program.

Third, as far as the self-image question goes, I’ve found that there’s a sort of “dual” outlook that’s useful in staying at this sport long-term. And that is (a) that you’re pleased with your progress (that is, after you’ve been at it long enough to actually show some progress) while (b) still realizing that there’s a lot of room for improvement. It’s a balancing act of sorts. But if you’re getting down on yourself and just focusing on bad you look compared to Mr. X, just remember a little trick: think about Arnold’s puny hamstrings. Here you have the best physique EVER - and there are still glaring weak points. (Well, it makes me feel better anyway…)

Wow. thank you! I’m just trying to maintain the level of quality “postin” that you and others (Demo, GM, Joel, Jason, Michelle, Mufasa - and some others), have brought to the forum!

First off, Char, many props…Like i said, i didn’t mention everybody hence the et al. I can’t tell you guys how important these posts are to my training regime. It is important to keep mental perspective and I SO value your comments as they reek of intelligence and savvy. I have already begun planning my new training regime which is going to incorporate a 4 on 1 off, 1on, 1off approach…a little unconvential, but I have designed the major groups with ample rest…
However, I must finish cut first…I would like you guys to evaulate whether you feel i am cut or not…this is subjective obviously, but I am going for very real cut. If you would bizzounce into my site at
and click on bodybuilding, i have a recent picture of where i currently am…how much more would you say i need to cut?

Keep in mind, I know I should be the one to decide this, and ultimately i will, but it is SO important to have outside opinion on this one.

Keep up the great posts…

This will be tough to answer since no one knows your body but you. If your very fast twitch, then you will have probs recovering quickly. If your red twitch, you can recover fast. No matter which you are, you will need your rest and dont underestimate this factor. Once your immune system goes, you cough, then get sick, then your f****d. Learn to be instinctive and feel it. If your dead tired and your diet is on track, then you need some rest. Also supplements can help so you might want to look into that too.

Vain, IMO, you’ve cut enough. You’re pretty lean. I don’t believe cutting any last final ounces of fat will be of any big benefit for all the effort that last little bit would require. You look 6% max now, maybe 5.5%. You look primed for a Mag-10 bulking cycle. When I did my cutting cycle ealier this year, I was shooting for 6% but seemed to stall out at 6.5%. Rather than fight for that last stubborn 1/2% and lose more LBM, I called it good and “cut my losses” so to speak and don’t have any regrets. Came off the cutting cycle with 2 Mag-10 cycles and balloned up 20 lbs in 6 weeks with very little fat gain. You’re primed for a mass cycle buddy! Good luck! Heb.