T Nation

Overtraining Exists, at Least for Me


Hello Christian

Thank you for give me the chance to ask you something directly.
So i will keep it simple, I start to train again 2 months ago, everything was so good, all my lift were going up until this week.I train hard, deadlift, squat, pullups(compound exercise) I keep them in 3-8 reps range and others exercise i keep them beetween 8-15 reps range.I have 2 main workout in a week when I focus on big lifts and i keep the intensity high.

And I do 2-3 more workouts when ii do core exercise, some isolation exercise to keep sholuders, back etc. healthy.And I do interval sprints two, 2 times a week and after main workouts i do finishers(versa climber,farmers walk, overhead walk).I think the intensity is the problem.I know some don't believe in overtraining.But from my experience it's there?

How i can explain that I'm afraid to go gym(some time ago i was so eager to go) my sex drive for some days was zero(normally is high,REALLY HIGH), i feel tired and i wanted to sleep so much.How to explain all of this?Always i was like this, i could avoid injuries to my body when i'm training, but with this thing i always had problems.How to manage my training to be always in a good mood to train, to wake up fresh and ready for everything?Some suplemments?


I actually just finished writing an article on that subject. Overtraining does exist. But it is extremely rare. And it DOESN'T mean "training too much".

Overtraining is a syndrome and in many ways is similar to clinical depression. It is a physiological state, not an action.

I will be honest you are probably not overtraining. In my whole life I've seen 3 real cases of overtraining and I've worked with hundreds of athletes whop trained 20 hours or more per week.

Every stress can contribute to developing an overtraining syndrome. Physical, psychological, environmental, social, etc. Excessive training is only one contributing factor.

Real overtraining takes months to recover from.

Now, you are exhibiting symptoms of a problematic issue. But it is not likely overtraining. See you have three main systems involved in training adaptation/recovery.

The nervous system
Immune system
Hormonal system

And while they are independent they do work together and play important roles in adaptation to training.

From the symptoms you are describing you are likely overtaxing all three systems. The loss of libido shows that your testosterone levels are dropping and this is likely due to excessive production of cortisol due to improper (too much) training. See cortisol and testosterone are fabricated from the same mother hormone (pregnenolone) and over producing cortisol leaves less of that mother hormone to produce testosterone.

The lack of motivation to train is indicative of neural fatigue and could also be a problem with your immune system. An overtaxed immune system will leave you feeling sluggish, almost sick-like.

Your description of your training is not clear. But it sure seems to me like you are doing a ton of volume if you count the lifting and energy system work. That is likely the problem. Doing too much.

And if it is high intensity work on top of that you are not giving yourself any chances.

You mention started training again 2 months ago. Yet from your volume of work you have an immense training stress imposed on a body that is not used to training anymore.

You are just doing too much. Hard heavy lifting and hard energy systems work in the same session could be too much. And your lifting volume could be too much to depending on how many lifts you do per session.

While a supplement like PLAZMA will help you recover faster physiologically from your training it will not be able to solve the issue if the problem is excessive training stress.

Rhodiola will help boost your immune system and make your body better at tolerating stress. But my gut feeling is that you are doing too much for your level of fitness.

You can't use the same protocols as advanced people using drugs

You can't use the same protocols as those with an ironclad immune system that can tolerate stress more than regular people

You can't use the same protocols as pro athletes who do not have much stress outside of the gym

You can't use the same protocols as genetic freaks who can tolerate hours upon hours of training.

Not everybody is the same. This is true for one's capacity to build muscle, strength and power but it is also true for how much volume one can recover from. If you are feeling like crap, you are exceeding your body's capacity to tolerate stress. Do less. It sucks but that's just how it is.

I am finding this out myself. I had serious health issues and now I get the symptoms you mentioned if I do too much. I used to be able to train for 4-5 hours per day and feel good. Now I can't do 1/3 of that and feel good. It sucks because I love to train, but I have to restrain myself because I have more limitations now.

Changing your body is an emotional issue. We want to change RIGHT NOW and because of that mindset we end up doing way too much and sabotage ours gains and well-being in the process.


Not trying to hijack the thread but was the serious health condition your heart failure? I had it to from a virus just wondering if they know what caused yours and if mind sharing the cause. I have also had to overhaul my training. Not sure if some of these training issues I have are from the heart problems or side effects of the medicine I take because of the heart issues


Actually it wasn't.

My heart failure is from about 8 years ago. It was from a virus too. Got stung by a weird insect during my honeymoon and a week later I began to be sick, kept on training and it spread to the heart.

The medication does interfere with my recovery and energy.

I made the dumb mistake of not taking it for 5 years. Because of that I had elevated blood pressure for 5 years and it lead to kidney damage, which is the health issue I am referring to.


That's really interesting and I'm looking forward to reading the article you wrote.

I had symptoms very similar to those described by OP when I did the Powerlook Program. My libido crashed, and my CNS felt fatigued, especially during the overload phase.

Now, that was during a time when I moved to a different city and started writing my PhD, so it sounds plausible that excessive cortisol production caused it. Also, the 1RMs that I used were too high - I made the mistake of using my all time records.

I do want to run the program again, though, because it gave me almost magical developments in pec and delt size. Besides sleeping (one of my major issues - I have problems falling asleep and I wake in between) and eating enough, and lowering my 1RM base, what would you suggest that I do different when I re-run the program in order to avoid those symptoms? Will Rhodiola help here too?


Yeah that's the no.1 mistake people make. The loads for the program should be based on what I call a personal best (PB) not a personal record (PR).

A PR is something that you hit once or a few time in your life. Maybe on a magical day for example. And maybe it was a long time ago. This has no relevance to planning loads. A PB is the best you can do any time you try; the top lift you could hit RIGHT now, any week you attempt it.


Thanks for answering so fast.This week i try a deload week and I feel better.I put my schedule in a better order to not overtax my body and to get enough rest from now on.My weight is around 160 lbs and to be precise i started training again in 20 december.And my lift were back then:deadlift 176 lbs and squat 132 lbs for 8 reps or around.At the begining of february deadlift was 290 pounds for 3 4 reps and squat 220 pounds.I raise the bar to fast clearly, from now on I try 3 week of hard training with enough rest and less volume.And 1 week I will try just to mantain what I have.I just started to deadlift and squat just now because I didn't have the chance before.This year I want to get my deadlift at 350 lbs at least and squat at 285 at least so I need to be disciplined.Short question:(I don't want to open new thread for this) every lift is ok beside bench press.I can do one hand push up(10+ reps),77 pounds dumbbell press,weighted pushup 80 lbs+.I struggle with 154 lbs bench press and my shoulders feel so unstable.And this is the only exercise that bother my shoulders.I was doing dips with 77 lbs+ for 6 reps and my shoulders were ok...but bench press it's another story.Very likely you have some article about this problem, just tell me the name of that article.Thanks in advance!


My friend and fellow coach/author Lee Boyce wrote something smart the other day He said "If you are planning to train for a long time, what does it matter what you can lift in 6 weeks?".

You can replace 6 weeks by any duration really.

The message is that you should no be chasing numbers as it will always eventually bring you back to your emotional habit of wanting to add more weight too soon and that will kill your nervous, immune and hormonal systems.

Instead focus on the quality of the lifts, perfecting movement, getting solid reps If you put in the work you will get stronger and larger. There is no need to test yourself by adding weight too soon. I would actually prefer that you focus on increasing how "snappy", explosive and technically solid your lifts are, stop your sets when you have a few reps in the tank This will allow you to train more often and recover faster.

Remember that there is a difference between training and testing. Only add weight when your training weights feel so easy that you don't feel like you are working If you push as hard as you can trying to accelerate you will produce a high level of force even with moderate loads (Force = Mass x Acceleration... so you can compensate the lack of mass by an increase in acceleration)

Regarding the bench press, I'd have to see your technique as well as your technique on the other lifts to see what might be the problem. My gut feeling is that you might be too much into internal shoulder rotation when pressing.

This article might help you: https://www.t-nation.com/training/6-heavy-bench-press-lessons

But there is also the possibility that you are not mechanically built to bench press. Which isn't really a problem, unless you plan on competing on powerlifting there is nothing wrong with not bench pressing.


I knew about lifting fast, or trying as fast as you can(keeping good posture) to lift something.But I didn't train that way, I didn't even think about it.So I will do it, I will try to keep variety in my training to prevent boredoom and injury doing to much time same thing.About bench press, last time when i tried to bench I was using some tips from your video on youtube about bench press.And even with a banged shoulder I didn't felt pain or discomfort.And I tried sets with 6 reps,pretty heavy for me.I use your advice about elbows position and I squeze hard my back muscle like i was bench pressing with my back.First time in my life when I felt my chest working and zero discomfort in my shoulders. And it's always a pleasure to read your stuff,articles.You are so smart and wise.On your website you have a lots of books, If I had to choose 3 books from your website, which will be suited for me.I want to be:strong,fast and lean, like and athlete.Thank you sir for taking time to answer!