T Nation

Overtraining Is Real


I've been reading up on Poliquin's stuff like crazy and just yesterday actually experienced overtraining again for the first time in about 5 years. I haven't taken a week off in the last 4 months, and I started experiencing insomnia/depression. Noticed that my body weight had gone down from 220 to about 211-212 in a day. He wasn't joking about that.

After re-reading the 5 elements article, I realized that I definitely fall into the wood type category: have to really reel in volume and deload, but intensity periods work wonders. German volume training never worked, I actually did give it up after the 3rd workout, haha. Also, I did get a nice gain recently after having been doing low volume dc style stuff for a few months. I was able to hypertrophy all those fibers with volume.

To every noob: Overtraining is real. Unless you're that genetic mutant. Pre workout drink, post workout drink, peri workout drink, 400 grams of protein, ZMA, Alpha-GPC, fish oil, 8 hours of sleep a night, caloric surplus, 5-6 meals a day, etc, etc.

Take time off.


Spit it like it is. Training with no programmed deloads is like driving up Pike's Peak in 4th gear.


I think it's funny how the guys on here who have more respectable levels of strength and size have probably not taken a scheduled day off of lifting in their life. Undereating is more common then overtraining.


I fully agree with what you're saying, sounds familiar to what those bodybuilding twins used to preach (and pratice).
edit-remembered those twins were called the barbarians.


Although a basic contribution,
I think it comes down to how well your CNS has adapted. If you are a beginner and pushing hard in the gym every workout you are likely to need more frequent breaks than a guy who has been lifting for a few years and is at a more intermediate to advanced level. Further 400g protein a day isn't going to do shit to over-training if the other macro-nutrients (fats and carbs) aren't sufficient either.

You need to know yourself relatively well to prevent over-training...but with that said it isn't rocket science either. When you start to feel it, take a week off your normal routine and then ease back into it.



I'll start off by saying everyone's different.

I couldnt gain any weight til I started eating probably over 400g a day. Now I eat areound 2 lb of meat a day and get the rest from shakes and other trace amounts from everything else.

I ate a lil over 300g for 4 months and nothing went up numbers wise. This is including a good blend of fast and slow carbs, fish oils and nut butters, etc. Again around 300+ carbs total, and maybe 70 - 90 fat.

Having an assumption that everyone will respond to the same shit is like NOT training your biceps. Bro.


While I do belive on some level overtraining is possible in my 20 + yrs of training I have never seen anyone actually training hard enough to over train. But I have seen plenty of people exhausting themselves and not recovering from their attempts at training hard all while not making the sacrifices necessary away from the gym to aid recovery, then use overtraining as an excuse for their lack of progress or their loss of progress. Under recovery is far more the issue than overtraining will ever be.


This is what i hate. You sons of bitches who know how other people feel. Who is over 30, not on gear(which I have no problem with) and has never felt run down after 3-5 hard days regardless of sleep and food? Who never came down with something immediately after a workout?


I think Dan John said something like taking 2 weeks off is very beneficial, then added an incredibly wise thing by saying that those that need that 2 weeks will say "Ok...I'll do that after 2 more hard months" and those that don't train hard enough will say "OK...I'll add one of those 2 week breaks starting this Monday"


Do everything you can to help recovery and much of overtraining gets solved. I think overtraining gets a bad rap because so many noobs go to the gym and do 100 sets of curlz and bench and then wonder why their lifts never go up.

Also I've been overtrained before...to me it felt kind of like depression. Certain things like an all out 20-30 rep deadlift set can bring it on temporarily.


Aint this the truth! Pushin 32 and I feel it every now and again. Diet and sleep play a key role, I will admit. How do you guys feel about water intake as well? Seems as if I stay hydrated, then I don't break down as much.


You get run down after 3-5 days of lifting? Unless by over 30 you mean you are 77 I don't see how that can happen. Maybe you just need to check your eating habits and look into some HRT.


Everyone isn't made the same. I would also go as far as to say that the people on this site who appear to make the most progress do NOT take extended time off because they recover faster naturally than others. I am also willing to bet that those who claim they overtrain that easily will be least likely to build any amount of muscle mass much above that experienced by the average gym goer (weekend warrior).

Everyone isn't average. Bodybuilding is also largely not for those who only experience "average progress" or who have true problems with recovery.

I doubt many people would make it to any professional sports team if they had that much of a problem with "overtraining", especially as it concerns what was written in the original post.

Most people are not "overtraining". Most people are undereating, not resting enough, doing poorly constructed excessive routines, or all of the above. If you truly "overtrain" after 4 months of steady training, then you probably have well below average genetics for building large amounts of muscle mass.


Overtraining is overhyped.

I agree that newbs may need to build frequency/intensity over time, but most lifters with a few years under their belt shouldn't have to take scheduled weeks off at a time.

I used to take a week off every couple of months until I realized it wasn't necessary. As long as I eat enough, get plenty of sleep, and take weekends off to recover, I'm not worried about overtraining.


wonders what the chances are of those claiming they overtrain that easily posting pictures of their progress thus far


I felt that I'd overtrained before, but I don't think it can be simply pinned down to one element.

I had been at it for just under 6 months with no real break besides planned days off. 5x5 interspersed with weeks of EDT. The body got tired, #'s stagnated, it fucked with me mentally, food didn't look, smell, or taste good, I slept like crap, I began to eat less yet tried to train the same way and frustration set in because I tired quicker than usual. I felt smaller... It was a downward spiral that was all encompassing.

I got this feeling of "what's this all worth anyway?"

Then after a hard leg day where I had to push hard to finish the gameplan of the day, I got in my truck and started crying. Like a baby. I don't do that ever.

So I called in sick the next day, took 5 days total off from training and eased back into it. Lesson learned.


"SCHEDULED" day off??? funny... I've never came across a person who never had a week when they felt like shit until I came on here. AND yes I'm sure your internet pals who are so accomplished have never taken a day off, but everyone who is well known, accomplished and NOT a character on T-Nation has taken periods off, if not they suffered an injury leading them endorse deloading now.

So I guess I need to reassess my rant, YOU ARE RIGHT.. "guys on here".. Not Pro bodybuilders, Pro athletes, Champions, or anybody who's ever accomplished enough to be well known off T-Nation. Not even T-Nation coaches, just YOUR "guys on here" don't endorse deloading.


the only time i willingly took time off from the gym was when i got sepsis and nearly died. that's hardcore right there. noobs.


Well, the guy above you, who is no doubt simply amazingly developed, seems to believe this is impossible.

I take one to two days off a week if necessary. Anyone needing entire weeks and months off just because they trained regularly for four months is likely very weak as far as genetic potential or athleticism.

This activity is not for everyone and not everyone is at the shallow end of the gene pool.

I agree, Modok, the only time I felt run down was when I was training 6 days a week during final exams and board exams...ie, it was stress related fatigue and not some need of my body as far as "overtraining" just because I lifted regularly.

I doubt most here are training anywhere near intense enough to need regular scheduled weeks off unless they simply are not eating/resting enough to support their training.


That's brutal dude.