Overtraining??? … Schmovatraining!
Posted August 29, 2008on:
Every now and then someone accuses me of “overtraining” – in fact it happened again just yesterday… and to be honest the subject can get me a little riled up. Sure I exercise quite a bit – okay, maybe more than quite a bit! In the last 6 weeks I’ve only had one day off from the gym BUT before you jump on the overtraining bandwagon *sigh* let me say that the VAST majority of my training is cardio. In fact, I’m only doing weights 3-4 times per week (and that includes BODYPUMP classes).
Back in my bodybuilding days I used to have a favourite saying:
It used to be my mantra – and made me smile whenever someone told me I was obsessed with bodybuilding. In fact, whenever someone used the word obsession or addiction I’d just smile a smug little smile and nod knowing the truth – that I was was in fact just dedicated to my pursuit of muscle. Now in hindsight perhaps I was a little obsessed (haha – the irony), but now I’d like to take that earlier mantra and amend it slightly (as in no uncertain terms do I consider myself a bodybuilder anymore). My updated version would be:
“Overtraining is a word “normal” people use to describe the dedicated”
What a “normal” person is or isn’t I’ve got no fricken idea – but I have a clue that the average Joe (or Jody) doesn’t wake up in the morning looking forward to getting to the gym to bust their gut every single day – and love every second of it! Certainly if that were normal something like 2 thirds of the population wouldn’t be overweight or obese!
So what is my usual weekly training regime these days? Well, I do at least one BODYCOMBAT class every day, on 2-3 days per week I do two classes per day (occasionally 3 but that’s reasonably rare) and as mentioned above at least one BODYPUMP class and 3 weights sessions per week. Total exercise time per week averages 12-16 hours, BUT again the vast majority of that is cardio. And, in my person opinion it’s almost virtually impossible to overtrain aerobically. Short of running marathons every day I just don’t think you can do it. You push your cardiovascular system harder and it responds by increasing your VO2 max. It’s that’s simple. There’s really no recovery time needed – that makes it unlike bodybuilding where your muscles need 48-72 hours to recover from an intense weight session.
In my experience the biggest question you need to ask yourself when determining whether you’re overtraining is this: “Do I still look forward to my workouts?” If the answer is a “not really” or a “no” – then perhaps it’s time to take a break (this of course assumes there was actually a time when you DID look forward to your training – as again – I’m sure the average Joe doesn’t look forward to working out and he certainly ain’t overtraining!). Absolutely there
are other symptoms to consider – fatigue, persistent soreness, irritability, increased incidence of illness to name a few – but, in my mind the number one symptom to look out for is loss of motivation. And in that regard I’m definitely 110% – I spring out of bed every morning looking forward to getting my ass to the gym – in fact it’s the highlight of my day…what would the world look like if everyone were this “abnormal”?