You will never over-train
One of the best descriptors I read regarding over-training was comparing the average gym-joe with an elite lifter (or bodybuilder, or powerlifter, or whatever you want put in here) and the difference in their training. Consider Olympic lifters: they train anywhere between 4-times to 7-times per week, sometimes twice a day, and often for periods of up to 2–3 hours.
Professional bodybuilders juiced or otherwise, can follow the same training parameters.
Throw in their access to advanced coaches, nutritionists, sports therapy, physiotherapists, chemical assistance, latest training techniques, masseurs, superb facilities and top-level equipment and suddenly their over-training appears a long, long way from yours or my over-training.
I mean, are you anywhere near what I’ve just described?
Do you even have access to or participate in half of what I’ve just mentioned?
I have access to none of the above, which means should one of the afore-mentioned athletes over-train, then I guarantee that their version of over-training would make my version of over-training a walk in the park. Literally. In fact, what would make them tired due to over-training would wipe me out for a month if not longer.
Those fuckers are the real deal. I ain ‘t.
The idea behind all this is that it’s actually quite hard for the average gym-joe like moi to over-train simply because we don’t put in that vast amount of resources, commitment and energy to the goal of weight-training as these elite athletes do. Irrespective of the fact that I don’t actually want to, the point is most of us simply can’t over-train because we’re nowhere near our bodies limits.
We may have shitty programs. We may have poor nutrition. We may incorporate too much cardio and wear ourselves out on non-essential exercise. We may have bad genetics and thus weak links. We may have poor sleeping habits. We may even be inconsistent in getting to the weights in the first place but we don’t over-train. I certainly don’t.
My program is currently this as of May 2016:
# Walk for 25-minutes then squat
# Walk for 25-minutes then shoulder press, do bent-over rows, benchpress and push-ups
# Walk for 25-minutes then perform lying leg curls, RDLs and standing/seated calf raise
# Walk for 25-minutes then close-grip benchpress, over-head tricep extensions and shrugs
# Walk for 25-minutes then deadlift, arm curl then wrist curls
Each of the above “sessions” takes roundabout an hour, 5am–6am five times per week. Does anyone seriously believe I’m going to over-train with such a routine? Now apart from all the fucking experts, nay-sayers and the rest of the advice-unloaders genuine or otherwise who are choking over my program, this works fine for me.
Yes, I am making gains and no, I don’t want your sports-degree-and-you’ve-got-five-clients advice. You go right ahead and do your thing, I’ll go right ahead and do my thing, and as long as we wave from each side of the fence we’re going to get along just fine because guess what? This works just fine for me.
What could seriously trash me is the intensity of the above. If every exercise was a huge, grinding, volume-crazed epic of four zillion sets and nine zillion reps then yep, I’d over-train simply because I’d be so exhausted I’d burn out. Mentally and physically. But they’re not. Why? Because I know what works for me and yeah, my routine may not for you but at least experiment to find out.
If you’re going to do this for the rest of your life, experimenting for several months isn’t going to hinder your progress. Instead it’s going to fine-tune your progress and by default you. If you’re going to go intense then do so in short bursts and regardless of your routine, make sure most nights you get a good sleep. My wife and I are out by 9:30pm most nights and I sleep like a log.
I will never over-train. If I feel tired I’ll hold back. If I feel amped I’ll do more. If I think I need a deload week — or even a whole week off — I’ll just go and do exactly that, no guilt. I hardly ever do PRs and I’m not about how much I lift, push or shit: I’m about time under tension and stretching and contracting muscles. All my weights are roughly %80 of my 1RM. I rarely go to failure.
Kia ora koutou!