Stories of Overtraining

The PWO anxiety thread got me to thinking about overtraining, and I was just curious as to what opinions people have on the subject (in terms of how to recognize it, prevent, recover, etc) … and also just stories about the time you overtrained

heres my story: i had just started training for the first time in my life, about 2 months in. I was on a slightly hypocaloric diet, doing HIIT/long bike rides/hiking on off days, 3x a week workouts, using 5-8 reps range and going to failure on the last set with feeder sets. Usually, the workouts lasted about an hour.

I now think a plan that like its more or less workable if you are smart about it, but I wasn’t.

The first indicators for me was the “PWO anxiety” … afterwork outs I felt intensely wound up and my heart would pound. Sometimes this would last for hours and hours. Pretty soon afterwards, I found that I couldn’t sleep. I had no trouble falling asleep, but I would get up at the crack of dawn feeling very wired.

At the time I had no idea what overtraining felt like, so I just chalked it up to my new intense training induced metabolism that made me feel this way. I saw this as progress and trained even harder.

But pretty soon all came crashing down. My energy dopped, I had to drink ridiculous amounts of coffee just to get me to the gym. Worse, I just felt completely defeated (yet tense) all the time. I snapped at people and generally felt like I had no patience with anything anymore. On one hand, I felt an incredible amount of nervous energy inside, and the other, I could barely muster the strength to walk outside.

At this point it kind of came around in my head that maybe this was the “overtraining” people were talking about. So, I took a week off from training and ate more and that helped greatly (although I was so overtrained that a week probably wasnt enough)

So heres some personal observations:

  1. PWO anxiety is the leading indicator of over-training. This is followed by a decrease in sleep quality and quantity.

  2. The best thing to do is to take time off as soon as you feel this “anxiety”. If hypo caloric, up the calories. Actually, I find its much harder to over train when you are bulking. The extra calories just allows the body to handle the stress much better. Low calories hampers recovery, even if you follow everything JB says.

  3. Be careful how you train. You can train quite a lot as long as you dont go to failure.

  4. Recovery intellegently. Do what JB says, the simple act of drinking a whey+dextrose mix during and post excercise can do wonders.

  5. Don’t fear resting. The adaptations the body goes through after you have pushed yourself up to the brink (but not past) of overtraining are truly amazing. Its mind boggling that so much progress can be made by simply relaxing around for 2-3 days.

thats exactly what is happening with me. When i wake up even before i have my coffee my heart is freakin racing. I really think i am about to have a heart attack when i wake up and im going to die on the shitter. I have lots of nervous energy and my heart rate stays up after a workout for hours. Even when i was taking ephedrine i never had this shit happen.I think the Power Drive has done all it could to fight my overtraining but now it just too much for it to handle.

I’ve been training now for three years, and during the first year I could not understand why I couldn’t gain any weight. I would go to the gym 5-6 nights a week sometimes training for over an hour and a half. I always thought that I just wasn’t training hard enough, and so I would go harder and harder until I hit bottom.I experienced the same symptoms; I couldn’t sleep, I was drained of energy, overall I was just in a crappy mood.

Then I found T-Nation, and I got a little smarter, I cut down my workouts to 3-4 times a week, increased my caloric intake substantially, and within a couple of months I gained nearly 10 pounds of muscle. I had more energy throughout the day and my strength increased as well. Now whenever I feel like I’m overtraining I take a few days off and chow down.