T Nation

Should I Lower The Intensity?


Hi, im a 17 year old guy, been working out for two years.

At the moment, im training 5-6 days a week, all body parts two times every week. The repetitions usually vary from 8 to 12 reps.

Usually my workouts last from 50 minutes to 1.5 hour max.
I have a really hard intensity, and my rests are never over 1 minute. Usually I superset for like 3-4 sets and then take 30 seconds break.

When im finished with my workouts, I am so exhausted that I just have to sit down and breath for some minutes, and sometimes I really feel like im near to puke. And when I come home, im so tired that I just have to sit down and relax for some hours before I can do anything.

So what are you guys opinion of this? Should I cut down the intensity and start lifting heavier? I have gotten really good results from this, and I love to work that intense, but im fearing to become overtrained.

Sorry for the bad english.


There's nothing wrong with high intensity, especially at your age. If you begin to lose interest in training or have sleep troubles then I would worry about overtraining. To be safe, just do a de-load week every month or so.


First of all, the term overtraining is terribly overused. Overtraining is a chronic condition and is not easily attained. You don't just become overtrained from a few workouts. Overreaching is what people normally mean when they think of overtraining. This is a sort-of mild overtraining. Among other symptoms, two hallmarks of overreaching are a consistently deteriorating performance despite your best efforts, and a lack of desire to train.

This is a combination of many factors. Now, since you primarily remain in the 8-12 rep zone, it is actually harder to overtrain/overreach. This is because this rep range is powered by glycolysis, and you are stressing a metabolic system. Lower rep ranges stress the neurological system. The distinction is crucial, because overtraining is a function of fatigue of the CNS.

However, since you say you have gotten good results (and I assume you performance has not deteriorated), and you say you "love" it, it does not sound like you are even in the overreaching stage. Your fatigue is just that - you are tired from a good workout. Fatigue is far different from overtraining (which is more akin to a disease state). Keep training.

Just FYI, you asked if you should "cut down the intensity and start lifting heavier." This would be INCREASING the intensity. Intensity refers to how close you are working to your 1RM, not how taxing or painful the workout is.


Intensity seperates the men from the boys.


What are you lifting for?

Do you do any Cardio?

Who told you your intensity is high?


First of all, Thanks for answering my post seriously (i know u guys can be pretty hard on new members of the forum lol).

It all makes sense when you say that overtraining is a condition. Isn't overtraining all about increased cortisol level? Why didnt they just called it Cronic high cortisol level or something like that?

I have never understood how 6 hours a week with much sleep and good nutrition with training make you overtrained, while people in other sports can train 5 times more and dont get overtrained. Is it just (Cant find another word of using) overhyped?

When i tell people (also talking about forums) i work out that much and they see how hard i'm training, they tell me i have to chill down or else i will become overtrained. But i guess those guys dont know what theyre talking about.

And my progress is great, so i guess i shouldnt worry about overtraining, i havent noticed any sleep problems either, thanx to the ZMA, my clock has to ring for an hour before i wake up :P.

Airtruth: I do some cardio yes, mostly walking with my dog half an hour a few days in the week, and sometimes doing gerilja cardio on the treadmill.

I'm lifting beacause i want to compete at national level in bodybuilding or fitness, and if i complete that, maybe expand my goals. I also wanna stay healthy till i get old, and never be a skinny fat guy again lol.

I thought intensity had many factors like how much you rest between sets, how many repitions you do and stuff like that, and i see my own workout as a really intense one. But i guess i misunderstood, and i now see that it meens how close you are to 1rm.

Im think im gonna put in some sets of powerlifting to, since my strength doesnt increase very much any longer, but my size is growing like hell. Started 22 months ago on 114 lbs and im now at 187 lbs. Love my genes lol.

Well, thanks again for the response.


To answer your question:




lol, love all your misplaced smileys :slight_smile:


Awwww, WHEN have we EVER????


Someone answered your question beautifully above..

Fuck No.

Not over hyped, it is over applied, seriuosly misunderstood by the average person. It is not simply higher cortisol levels. It's the changes the body goes when training over a period of time while overstressed. A higher cortisol/testosterone RATIO is often a marker of over training. Over stressed does not necessarily mean purely working out.

There are a ton of factors involving stress including lifestyle, nutrition, sleep and training. It's also a long period, not a day or even a week, keep it simple, estimate it to be a little longer than bootcamp with no break. So a young 17 year old whose hormones are already high, doesn't ahve to worry about things like rent, who gets 6 hours sleep and 2 hours training every day is probably not overtrained.

Highly debated definition. Unless your refering to data, you should state what you mean by intensity when you say your doing something intense. An article will refer to intensity as % of 1 rep max, however that is just for building programs. Nobody on an internet forum can tell you how intense your training. When an experienced lifter is telling you to be intense they do not mean lift the weights.

They mean focus and push yourself through every rep of every set the entire time your in the gym. Whatever muscle you are working concentrate on feeling that muscle, before your set vison yourself blasting it. Bring yourself to a higher level.

Sometimes(not all the time) the people who abuse life, party and live wrecklessly are very successful. Thats because they live intensely. So they are applying that same mental intesity to the gym that they are applying to partying, which is the part you see when you ask yourself" how the hell do they build a body like that doing ________ all the time.

as to your original question:
Sounds pretty seriuos. It might be simple as check yoru breathing parterns while lifting. There are a ton of articles on the internet how to breathe so I won't go into all of that. Just know that holding your breath while exercising can make you dizzy and puke, alot of people do this not realizing it when they get to the end of their sets. If not check your nutrition, but whatever you do try to resolve that problem.


Thanks for your answer. Very appreciated.

As for the intensity, thats exactly what i ment.

Im taking my training very serious, live for it. Have only been drinking alcohol once this year (and smoked one joint lol), i get minimum 7 hours of sleep (This vacation, i fucked the summerjob, and instead dedicated to eat, sleep and train, so i sleep up to 11 hours at the moment) and my nutrition is pretty dead serious, so i guess i should just forget about the overtraining stuff.

I got another question for you guys:
At the forums ive been hanging around they say that a muscle need up to ten days recover, but i just can't belive that our body is so slow. So ive been looking around on different sites , and it looks more to me that the muscle is fully recovered after 24-36 hours (though the nerve system may need som more recover, but get used to more and more training). Is the long recovery time just a myth, or do the body really need that much time?

And about the puke thing, that was only to point out how i hard i am training, dont think anything is wrong. I think i get dizzy because i have pretty low blood pressure, because water always help.


Here is my current split, does it look okay? I vary a lot on the exercises, so i'm not gonna write all them down.

Day 1: Chest/back
Day 2: Shoulders/bic/tri
Day 3: Calves and thigh
Day 4: Rest or Chest/back (If i rest, i train chest/back the next day, and so on...)
Day:5: Shoulders/bic/tri
Day 6: Calves and Thigh
Day 7: Rest


As mentioned, heightened cortisol occurs with overtraining - but it comes after, not before. Overtraining is burnout of the nervous system (primarily). Other systems are, however, overstressed - for example, the endocrine system, which would account for heightened cortisol.

The term definitely is over-applied. So much so that it irritates me.

Overtraining doesn't come from simply training a lot, or training hard, or both. It comes from doing far too much for far too long.

No - they don't.

Nope. Not a problem here.

Yeah, as mentioned, this is up for debate. I gave the straight-up, professional definition. The reason why it's defined as % of 1RM is because that is an objective, indiputable number. What you can lift is what you can lift, period. Judging intensity by fatigue, pain, etc. is ambiguous and highly subjective.

However, I agree that shortened rest, etc. is intense.

This will help you get bigger.

Yeah, if you only train every ten days. Then you training your body to be slow at recovering.

Train more often, and you'll force your body to recover faster. It'll have no choice.


Thank you Dark night!

I just have to say that this forum is the best forum ive ever been on, because you dont follow all the old stupid myths everyone else use, and youre not afraid of new methods of training. I feel that i can take my growth two whole new level if i stay on these forums. Go T-Nation! :slight_smile:


In the bible arnold said that the posterior chain takes the longest to recover after a wo and that it could take up to 72 hours. Other muscles will take less depending.


This should be the end of it for you at least for the time being. You may not be able to do this all the time, forever, but the proof is in the progress.


He also said that pullovers expand the thorax...


muscle fatigue is fairly easy to quantify by how much it feels to be. I'll believe that one.


Muscle recovery still hasn't been perfected, plus it's individual and set to a persons previuos work capacity and metabolism. 10 day recovery goes back to intensity.

There are some people mentally gifted that can put more effort into a training session, beyond just telling yourself lift this weight. Then what your doing is depleting the muscle of the nutrients, and also creating tears in the muscle. This person that can put more effort is creating more tears.

So as to the science that particular muscle may take 10 days to fully heal. Keep in mind they are talking about a FULLY healed state.

IMO: I like to compare it to a scar. If you get one on your hand the next day you may not be able to grab anything, 3 days later you may have enough covered to do your day to day task, but it won't be full strength like new until 10 days. This is often what they talk about with the 10 day recovery sessions.

You'll find people who use large recovery like this do crazy stuff like 10 sets with 2 rep maxes, negatives, and supersets all in one session. On top of that more of them are seeking MAXIMUM STRENGTH. So for their next session they want their muscles fully repaired. Compared to bodybuilding where your looking for maximum growth.

If you can only hypertrophy say 10% of your muscle in your workout session. You can't afford to wait 10 days. Because in those 10 days while that 10% will get stronger your letting the other 90% get no work. They either going to get weaker or stay the same, but not get bigger.


Tx5000, I should have clarified this more: If you decide to train more often, don't beat the hell out of your body (that is don't use techniques that put a heavy strain the nervous system, or tear up the muscles, etc).

You need to build up your capacity to withstand this. Also, this is where variety is crucial. You can use all sorts of techniques, just vary the employment of them. Since you've been training a lot for quite a while, you should already have the capacity, though. Just FYI.

On the other hand, if you only want to train every 10 days or whatever, you need have the volume and intensity higher simply because the frequency is so low.