T Nation

Severe Overtraining, Need Help


#1

Hey guys thanks for taking the time out and reading this..I've never posted on this site before but I know I'm going to get some quality answers on here..Anyways, I have been over training now for close to two years and I know many of you may think I'm throwing the term "over training" too freely but please listen to my story first.

During the beginning of 2012 I began to notice my training began to become much more difficult and actually lost 5 pounds unintentionally (went from 160 to 155). I had recently went from working out 6 days a week to 7 days because I felt the need to constantly work out. My workouts followed no structure basically just get as strong as possible and days I didn't lift I would go for long runs or sprint sessions (training two different systems I know this is stupid I didn't realize at the time though).

I began to notice I was waking up much early around 4 am which was weird because I've always been a good sleeper. Anyways, ignored it and kept pushing and only really experienced the sleep disturbances maybe once a week..towards the end of 2012 I really began to experience some serious problems..frequent wakings throughout the night, night sweats, fast heart beat.

Finally at the beginning of 2013 i couldn't take it anymore, I had begun to gain weight despite my vigorous workout routine (mostly fat around the stomach) and couldn't sleep. I eventually became extremely depressed mostly in part because i could no longer complete workouts that were a breeze to me and couldn't get that feeling of endorphin release after exercise.

I had went from 155 to 180 with no change in my caloric intake(my caloric intake never went over 2500 calories and i truly believe this was the main culprit in my over training... lack of calories) I finally saw a psychiatrist who put me on lexapro (antidepressants). I was finally able to sleep but i continued to workout but cut it to 6 days a week...started to feel better so i weened of the meds after about a month on them felt really good until mid august of 2013...

From august until now I can't remember the last time ive slept without waking up during the night.. I usually wake up about 4 times and get about 2-3 hours of sleep during waking and sleeping...sometimes I don't sleep at all!... my resting heart in the morning goes from 60 to 110 when i stand. I can't even run anymore with becoming winded and exhausted and exercise doesn't feel good anymore after finishing ( no longer get that endorphin release) I'm back on the meds cause I honestly can't deal and everyone thinks I'm F*ckin crazy when I tell them this because of over training (mostly the Dr.) asked the Dr. to do blood work but he didn't check my cortisol...

Anyways, my plan is to take the meds until I can get a at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep and do no training at all (complete rest)...

My question is this:

1) will I ever recovery from this because I honestly feel like death
2) have I done metabolic damage?

I know I should probably eat more and rest but the weight friken piles on if I go over 2000 calories with or without exercise (I've noticed that I actually gain weight now when I work out)

Guys I need some advice here I'm hurting...I love to workout but I feel my ignorance and lack of recovery has done some serious damage to my body that will never be reversed..I'm hoping to get a response from someone who has been through this and has recovered and what they have done..

Thanks,
Mark


#2

Go see a doctor.


#3

I’m not sure antidepressants are a good idea. Not for overtraining syndrome. They might just cause more problems for you.


#4

You say you train 7 days a week. How long were your typical sessions, and what did you do? Did you train twice or three times a day?


#5

I can relate and have suffered from the same issues in the past. I highly doubt you have done any permanent damage but you’ve got a lengthy road ahead of you in terms of recovery. If you are taking any stimulants drop them all ASAP. Get plenty of vitamin c everyday as well as fish oil and try to eat copious amounts of green veggies, lean meats & healthy fats. I would look into glycine, phosphatidylserine, rhodiola, theanine, ashwaganda etc.

It’s tough but you’re probably going to have to drop all workouts for a bit and focus on resting and getting sound sleep. If I were you I’d get some ZMA and/or z12 to address the sleep issues. Try not to over analyze and freak out about all of this because that’s not going to help your cortisol levels. Try to relax and be patient.


#6

i usually lifted 4 days a week (lots of Olympic style lifting and explosive lifts), Usually sprinted once a week (repeats 100’s) then would do some low intensity cardio on off days…I also would run 2 miles after weight training (had no idea how to properly train)


#7

Thanks for the response Headache,

My diet is pretty damn clean I do eat lots of healthy fats, greens, and lean protein…Ive looked into a supplement from vital nutrient called adrenal support and it contains the ashwagandha root extract…I’ve notice that whenever I keep the carbs low I sleep a little better but when I eat a lot of carbs it keeps me tossing and turning all night.

Do you suggest keeping the carbs low and protein high?..Also, I don’t want to take the Antidepressants but its seriously the only way i can get a decent nights sleep


#8

Sorry to hear about your problems mi amigo in iron but I think your situation has less to do with “overtraining” and more to do with other issues.

“Overtraining” IMO, is more than likely due to under eating, under sleeping, under conditioning or any combination of those factors… But that’s my opinion.

I would see a doctor and get a full set of labs done. Get all your hormones checked, especially your thyroid. I know a guy who had somewhat similar issues and when he was checked (young guy) he had a cancerous mass on his thyroid. Pretty crazy stuff. I’m sure your issue isn’t something as serious as that but getting a full in depth physical examination as well as extensive labs is a good idea just to rule out hpyogonadism or any thyroid problems. Just think of it as a peace of mind check.

Again, sorry to hear about your issues and good luck.


#9

[quote]mark326 wrote:
i usually lifted 4 days a week (lots of Olympic style lifting and explosive lifts), Usually sprinted once a week (repeats 100’s) then would do some low intensity cardio on off days…I also would run 2 miles after weight training (had no idea how to properly train) [/quote]
This isn’t overtraining. This is a fraction of what my training partner and I do (especially him, he trains more than me). Neither of us are on gear. Not trying to be macho, just want to hopefully ease your mind a bit and tell you that if you really want to “overtrain”, your body can adapt to it.

I guess what you need to do now is let your body recover, but when you feel up to it again, start off moderate and slowly build yourself up to higher training frequency. I train 18+ hours per week, and I feel perfectly fine. As long as you don’t try to jump into it straight away, your body can handle that easily. You just have to add on slowly and give it time to adapt.


#10

Personally, I’ve always slept better with more carbs but everybody is different. I’m not a doctor so I can’t comment on the antidepressants but I will say that in most cases I’m not a fan of them. I would think you should get a decent amount of healthy carbs somehow as very low carb diets can be rough on the adrenals in the long run.

I was training everyday and running hill sprints multiple times a week and living off of stimulants which brought me to a point very similar to what you are describing. I would wake up wired with sweat soaked sheets and felt terrible all of the time and my metabolism turned to shit.

I can tell you that what I did was took an entire month and some change away from the gym, put my physique on the back burner and ate whatever I wanted. My number one focus was doing whatever it took to restore a solid sleeping pattern.

Some nights I’d eat a whole bunch of junk and enjoy a good carb coma. Yes I got a bit chubby but it enabled me to kind of reset my system and when I eased back into my workout routine I was able to melt the fat off pretty quickly.


#11

I think someone may have mentioned this. Go see a doctor.


#12

I have seen a doctor and they think I’m crazy. Had my thyroid checked (TSH) and was at 1.25 (which is in normal range I’m told). I’m even going to do a stress test next week…They think I’m having panic attacks at night but I know this is bullshi** because I always have slept like a baby until I started upping my training.


#13

Anyways thanks for the response guys I appreciate it…Put’s my mind a little more at ease and have a better idea of what needs to be done to recover


#14

[quote]mark326 wrote:
I have seen a doctor and they think I’m crazy. Had my thyroid checked (TSH) and was at 1.25 (which is in normal range I’m told). I’m even going to do a stress test next week…They think I’m having panic attacks at night but I know this is bullshi** because I always have slept like a baby until I started upping my training. [/quote]

If your doctor thinks you’re crazy, I’d find a new one.

All I’m saying is, folks here are only getting a small glimpse of what’s going on with you. You will (and have) gotten good advise so far, but there are a thousand things that we can’t help you with that a good doctor can.


#15

[quote]mark326 wrote:

Guys I need some advice here I’m hurting…

Thanks,
Mark[/quote]
First of all: stop resistance training. This includes weights, sprinting, jogging, anything like that.

Participate in most of, if not all of, the following:
Stretching of all kinds - dynamic and static.
Massages
Deep belly breathing - the kind where your belly would hang completely like a baby.
Meditation
Drink lots of water - you should be doing this anyway.
Yoga, chi gong, tai chi, etc
Barefoot walking outside on the grass, sand, etc.
Have sex with someone you love!
Listen to, play, or make music!
Go dancing.
Foam rolling.

The point here is that you obviously pushed it past your own limit to one side of the equation: the catabolic side.
You must now seduce your body into the other side: the anabolic side.

Take it easy.

Colby


#16

The harder I train the worse I sleep, and trying to eat more to help recovery also ruins my sleep. I have seen several guys complain of this in forums in the past. Nobody ever had a good answer for this as far as I can remember, and nobody ever posts updates so I really don’t know if anyone found a solution other than training less. I am at the point where after many years of this I just gave up and use sleep medication.


#17

[quote]seekonk wrote:
The harder I train the worse I sleep, and trying to eat more to help recovery also ruins my sleep. I have seen several guys complain of this in forums in the past. Nobody ever had a good answer for this as far as I can remember, and nobody ever posts updates so I really don’t know if anyone found a solution other than training less. I am at the point where after many years of this I just gave up and use sleep medication. [/quote]
When do you lift? Do you use stims? Do you drink coffee?

I’ve heard GREAT things about ZMA (sold here on this site) for helping with sleep.


#18

[quote]Colbstar wrote:

[quote]mark326 wrote:

Guys I need some advice here I’m hurting…

Thanks,
Mark[/quote]
First of all: stop resistance training. This includes weights, sprinting, jogging, anything like that.

Participate in most of, if not all of, the following:
Stretching of all kinds - dynamic and static.
Massages
Deep belly breathing - the kind where your belly would hang completely like a baby.
Meditation
Drink lots of water - you should be doing this anyway.
Yoga, chi gong, tai chi, etc
Barefoot walking outside on the grass, sand, etc.
Have sex with someone you love!
Listen to, play, or make music!
Go dancing.
Foam rolling.

The point here is that you obviously pushed it past your own limit to one side of the equation: the catabolic side.
You must now seduce your body into the other side: the anabolic side.

Take it easy.

Colby
[/quote]
You should also start:
Wearing tie-dye shirts
Stop washing your hair and turn it into dred-locks
Discontinue all deodorant usage
Smoke copious amounts of marijuana
Wear hemp jewelry
Douse yourself in pachouli oil
Listen to The Greatful Dead 24/7
Wear Birkenstocks

This should solve your overtraining problems but may bring along it’s own set of problems, such as:
Loss of a real job
Complete disinterest of virtually all attractive women
The buzzing of flies constantly around your head

Good luck buddy!!


#19

You seem almost addicted to lifting/excercise to the point that it’s abbusive. There didn’t seem to be any point to training except to simply do it.
I think trying to do all that stuff with only 2500 calories a day is dangerous. I’ve done similar training, where I did multiple workouts a day (basketball offseason). The easiest way to recover from that was eating till you hate your life. That being said, taking time off would be smart. Also, I take ZMA at night and sleep feels so much better.


#20

[quote]gregron wrote:

[quote]Colbstar wrote:

[quote]mark326 wrote:

Guys I need some advice here I’m hurting…

Thanks,
Mark[/quote]
First of all: stop resistance training. This includes weights, sprinting, jogging, anything like that.

Participate in most of, if not all of, the following:
Stretching of all kinds - dynamic and static.
Massages
Deep belly breathing - the kind where your belly would hang completely like a baby.
Meditation
Drink lots of water - you should be doing this anyway.
Yoga, chi gong, tai chi, etc
Barefoot walking outside on the grass, sand, etc.
Have sex with someone you love!
Listen to, play, or make music!
Go dancing.
Foam rolling.

The point here is that you obviously pushed it past your own limit to one side of the equation: the catabolic side.
You must now seduce your body into the other side: the anabolic side.

Take it easy.

Colby
[/quote]
You should also start:
Wearing tie-dye shirts
Stop washing your hair and turn it into dred-locks
Discontinue all deodorant usage
Smoke copious amounts of marijuana
Wear hemp jewelry
Douse yourself in pachouli oil
Listen to The Greatful Dead 24/7
Wear Birkenstocks

This should solve your overtraining problems but may bring along it’s own set of problems, such as:
Loss of a real job
Complete disinterest of virtually all attractive women
The buzzing of flies constantly around your head

Good luck buddy!!
[/quote]
I made a mistake only saying that he should quit.

I meant temporarily.

I didn’t need you to be a D-Bag and neither did the OP because what I posted was different than the standard answer you expected.