Someone asked me a couple years ago “aren’t you worried about overtraining?”. I responded, “the side effects of overtraining are; gold medals, championships, and glory”. I answered in an almost comical way, making a joke. In retrospect though, the question was warranted, and I absolutely was overtraining.
What is overtraining? Training intensely everyday while not taking care of your body. There is a lot of science behind the side effects of overtraining and the causes. I feel though, that everyone must find out for themselves what overtraining is, you must listen to your body. if you are feeling over trained or think you are, ask yourself a few questions.
Are you sleeping at least 8 hours per night?
Do you consume a balanced diet of whole foods with the appropriate caloric intake?
Are you drinking at least a gallon of water per day?
Are you giving your body the support it needs to keep up with the extreme training regimen?
I personally believe that if you do all those things with discipline and consistency, then you will be able to train 7 days a week with intensity. Around the time I was asked about over training, I was training seven days a week pushing hard and competing at least once a month, sometimes more. My diet was terrible, I probably slept 4-6 hours a night if that, and I drank a glass of whiskey every night. Very quickly I realized that overtraining is possible, and it is amplified by not taking care of oneself.
So, what happens when you are over trained or under nourished?
Everyone’s body reacts differently to it, you’d just have to listen and learn where your bodies limits are. For me, I get very forgetful and I don’t have the energy or the drive to train. When training, I get stiff and achy the whole time. When I push it to those points it usually takes me a few days of full rest to get back to feeling normal. That’s a few days of lost training because I under appreciated the benefits of taking care of myself.
Forcing yourself to train when you shouldn’t could possibly lead to catastrophic failures of the body. My MCL is what had to give in order to teach me this valuable lesson. It cost me almost 6 months of training.
If you are a competitor my number one piece of advice is; take care of your body! If becoming a world champion is your goal, awesome! That is a long road to gold though, and you will need a vehicle that can take you all the way without breaking down. A ton of competitors have that dream, same as you. When it comes down to it, are you prepared to put in the work and do what it takes in all aspects of your life?
If yes, then I have no doubt you can become a world champion.
It’s not about who is good, its about who is left.
Until next time, train hard and train safe!