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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Over Training... is it happening to you?

What exactly is over training? Well, by definition it means "A state of chronic decrement in performance and ability to train in which restoration may take several weeks, months or even years." So, are you over training and if so how do you know? And most importantly, how do you fix it?

First of all lets discuss the common signs of over training. Here is a list of the most common symptoms of over training.

Chronic Fatigue
Sore Joints and Muscles
Lack of Ability to get a Pump
Lack of Desire to Train
Strength Loss
Lack of Appetite
Weight Loss
Sickness- Constant Runny Nose
Moody - Mood swings
Lack of Sex Drive

As you can see the list has quite a few symptoms, most people have no idea what over training is and what the signs are so the list above should be a huge help.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that most people make that lead to over training:

Train Everyday: We all love the pump we get from a workout. It is a very addictive feeling and often leads us into the world of training to much. Training results in microscopic tears in the muscles that will only recover and grow when you have rested and given your body the proper nutrients it needs outside of the gym. If you don't spend enough time outside the gym resting and eating properly your body will never recover and make those gains you've worked so hard for.

Train Muscles Too Frequently: I would dare to say that 99% of those that are new to training hit chest and arms way too much and way too often. In their quest to have a huge chest and big ol'GUNS they train them all the time. Without adequate recovery time outside the gym your muscle size and strength will not increase and in the case of an over trained muscle most of the time it will atrophy or lose strength and size. Give your muscles at least 72 hours of rest before hitting them again.

Too Many Sets Per Muscle Group: More does NOT equal better. MORE does not equal faster results. You need to know what the basics are, a baseline. A baseline for the average natural lifter for the amount of working sets for the main muscle group:

Legs (Hams/Quads) 12-15 Working Sets
Back 12 Working Sets
Chest 10-12 Working Sets
Shoulders 9 Working Sets
Biceps 4-6 Working Sets
Triceps 4-6 Working Sets
Calves 4-6 Working Sets
Forearms 2-4 Working Sets

To better explain lets use shoulder. It says 9 working sets. What that means for example is take 3 exercises and preform 3 sets of each exercise. Based on your goals the reps will vary.

Improper Nutrition: There are some staples about your nutrition that you need to know to make sure that your body is getting the right fuel to recover and make muscle gains. A quality balance of Protein, Carbs and Fat are essential and can not be overlooked! You have increased your activity level in the form of proper weight training so now your body needs the proper amount of protein, carbs and healthy fats to recover and grow from those workouts. Bad nutrition equals bad results in the gym.

Lack Of Sleep: Nothing will affect your recovery from a hard workout and send your body into over training mode faster than a lack of sleep. When you sleep your body releases most of its human growth hormones (HGH). HGH is a critical hormone in the recovery process and without adequate HGH your body is missing out on a very important hormone for the recovery and growth. I cant stress enough the importance of a good nights sleep! We do not grow in the gym we grow while we sleep/rest.

Improper Training Split: Most trainers think that they have hit a sticking point or Plateau but actually they have been over training muscles because of a lack of knowledge on how to make an effective training split. When making your own training split you have to realize, direct training of some muscle groups results in the indirect training of others.

For Example:
When performing any kind of press for chest you are directly working the pecs but indirectly working your triceps.

When performing any kind of pulling exercise for your back you are directly working the back but indirectly working your biceps and forearms.

Dead lifts recruit your entire back but indirectly recruit your legs and forearms and Squats recruit all leg muscles but also indirectly recruit your lower back.

Now you're asking yourself "How do I create an effective training spilt and make sure that I don't fall victim to over training my muscle groups?" Muscle groups, which are indirectly trained by another muscle group should never be worked the day before or after that muscle group. For example: Triceps should never be trained the day before or after chest or shoulders. It is fine to train them in the same workout because once you are done training both muscles will get adequate time to rest, recover and grow.

Here is a basic sample training split:

Day 1: Chest/Triceps
Day 2: Back/Biceps
Day 3: Legs/Calves
Day 4: Shoulder/Arms
Day 5: Off
Day 6: Off
Day 7: Repeat

It is crucial that you design a workout based on your goals and follow the guidelines above. To much can and often does equal to very little gains. A good routine, a solid diet and proper sleep will help you recover and feed those muscles and prepare them for the next workout.

Have you experienced over training? How did it affect you and how did you correct the problem?

Here's to a new you!
Matthew Eubanks


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