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7 Signs of overtraining and how to overcome them

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by Yuan

Overtraining takes place when your body can’t recover from the stress of training. If you ignore the signs of overtraining and keep pushing, you will stall, get weaker and eventually lose muscle. If you want to grow as fast as possible, it’s important to recognize the signs of overtraining and adjust your training volume and intensity accordingly. Here are some of the signs:

1. Loss of appetite: not getting hungry like usual and having trouble eating the regular amount.

2. Random pains: pains in the joints, tendons or muscles or something just doesn’t feel right. After an injury, athletes often report that something just felt ‘off’ or ‘not right’ that day.

3. Harder to focus: having a harder time focusing during training and outside of training.

4. Trouble sleeping: ever been too tired to sleep? It’s similar when you overtrain.

5. Elevated resting heart rate: Mike Tuchscherer measures his heart rate everyday to optimize training volume/intensity. Not necessary for beginners, but it might be something worth looking into beyond the intermediate phase.

6. Increased susceptibility to get sick: find yourself getting sick more frequently? It could be from overtraining.

7. Losing drive in all areas: lower sex drive, drive to succeed and get stuff done, etc..

How to recover from overtraining

There are a lot of sources that will tell you to take the whole week off completely, but I don’t recommend this. It’s unnecessary and your technique will regress. Lowering the weight and dropping assistance exercises for a week will let you recover while maintaining more of the technique. Another option is to deload, drop some of your assistance exercises and work your way back up.

Never drop your calories during a deload or a low volume/intensity week. You may think it’s a good idea to use this time to cut some fat, but you will just end up shooting yourself in the foot. You need all of the calories to recover properly. Set aside a few months specifically for cutting if you want to lean out.

Some say ‘there is no such thing as overtraining’

Over the recent years, some people started preaching that overtraining doesn’t even exist. CT Fletcher is often referenced, but you’re taking him too literally if you actually believe that overtraining doesn’t exist.

Double/triple his training volume and he’ll overtrain in no time. He does a very good job at motivating people. Saying that overtraining doesn’t exist is his way of getting the audience to find their limits. Even CT Fletcher admits this in the video below:

There is a problem with motivational fitness videos

The guys and girls in popular motivational videos are all advanced or elite trainees (who are most likely taking exogenous hormones), but most of the people watching these videos are beginners. I think these videos are great, but they often create the wrong impression for how they should be training. You’ll find beginners everywhere thinking that they need to crush themselves during training to get results.

In reality, beginners need very little training stimulus to get the signal for maximal growth. They just need to follow a good beginner program and eat accordingly (this is the key) to grow like a weed for the first months of training. Growing as fast as possible is about always making consistent progress while avoiding training plateaus. The real struggle is with yourself in keeping your training, eating and resting consistent.

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