Overtraining: Myth or Fact

Overtraining: Myth or Fact 

By Daniel Rocha LMT CPT CNS 


I am back to coaching some athletes, and believe me; they are improving daily. But one thing that is crucial about contest prep is to know when to slow down. Their calories are low, they have put in the training and cardio time, body fat is low, and most are past moody, now just tired. Could they now be overtraining? 


The issues surrounding overtraining are vast, which is why it confuses me when so many people still do it. Briefly speaking, some of the main problems caused by overtraining include:


  • Acute inflammation of connective tissues leads to things like tendonitis  
  • Overwhelming central nervous system fatigue  
  • Suppression of anabolic hormones under certain circumstances where calories are restricted  
  • Reduced recovery time for micro-tears in muscle fibers  
  • Mental fatigue and reduced focus 


These are just five quick points to illustrate some of the issues surrounding overtraining; there are many more. What happens as a result of these things? Your progression slows down, stalls, and, in some cases, even regresses! 


Once you have tendonitis, it takes a long time for that inflammation to go down. This means that intensity in the gym will inevitably slow down because you cannot push the muscles as hard as usual. As the CNS declines into a state of excess fatigue, it becomes harder and harder to generate muscle recruitment. In instances where anabolic hormone production suffers, this leads to more time spent in a catabolic state than an anabolic. What were micro-tears that would ultimately recover into injuries when there is not enough rest time during the training week?


So I recommend that athletes during their last two weeks pull back. Drop the cardio in half, let them nap more, and start incorporating more carbohydrates; some may just need more essential fatty acids, and have them pose more. Training sessions are shorter but we go back to basic heavy lifts to keep muscle mass thick then the remainder of the session is holding contractions for 4-6 seconds. The result will be a healthy-looking physique that is shredded. You’ll want to use these bodies for your anatomy class. 


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