Plague of Overtraining

14.1 ^e inability of most trainees to recognize the symptoms of overtraining is at the root of their training problems. But recognizing the symptoms is only the start. You need to know how to respond to the early symptoms—immediately—if you are to escape the frustration and misery that accompanies chronic overtraining. 7is is a very serious issue.

14.2 Serious hard-gaining trainees have the grit and character to soldier on even when the going gets tough. ^is is usually a desirable trait, but when it comes to dealing with the warning signs of overtraining, this grit can be destructive. Watch out for your emotions getting the better of your reason. You must train within your body's ability to recuperate. Never mind what someone else can recuperate from. Someone else is not you.

14.3 Overtraining arises when the body is exposed to more stress than it can deal with. It may be that you are training too frequently for the exercise load you are under, or that you are training too much each workout for the frequency you are using. But overtraining is usually much more complex than that.

14.4 Overtraining does not occur overnight unless you greatly increase your training load and/or have some drastic reduction in the quality of your rest, sleep and nutrition, and/or have some calamity in your personal/family life that wipes you out. Overtraining is usually an accumulative process of weeks and months of demanding too much from your body, and ignoring the warning signs of impending chronic overtraining.

14.5 When on the edge of overtraining you may still creep forward in the gym; but things will fall apart as you reach the exhaustion point of your recovery abilities. ^en, unless you back off in a big way, your body will crumble.

14.6 Growing bigger and stronger is your body's response to the stress you impose on it by lifting progressively heavier weights in good form. ^e stress you impose is essential. Getting unusually strong and big demands an unusual degree and type of stress, but there is a fine line between doing enough and doing too much.

14.7 Even when you think you can cope with a very heavy stress level, such as at the end of a training cycle when you are pushing full-bore, your body is taking such a battering that your immune system is suppressed to a degree. ^is increases your chance of infection. When you are riding the crest of a wave of effort and progression in the gym, do not think you are indestructible. At such a time, take an extra day or two of rest between workouts, reduce your training volume a little, sleep more, eat better, and be super attentive to recovering fully between workouts. Do all this so that you do not go from being "indestructible" one day, to being laid down with a viral infection the next.

14.8 Stress itself is not bad, but an excess of stress relative to what you can deal with is bad. An over-stressed body regresses. ^is is Nature's way of forcing you to cycle your training intensity. Whether you like it or not, you will end up cycling your training intensity to some degree, whether you do it intentionally (by deliberately backing off at times) or have it forced upon you by injury or illness.

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