Q: How can I tell if I’m overtraining?
A: Over training is perhaps the biggest stifler of bodybuilding potential. It is also very common, especially among novice trainers. These guys, full of energy and enthusiasm, do not understand, or simply refuse to accept, that more is not necessarily always better. Therefore, they place too much stress on the body and don’t give it enough time to recover. It is a condition that will lead to a frustrating dead-end in terms of training progress. The signs to look out for are chronic fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, proneness to injury and illness and the inability to achieve a pump. Lethargy, loss of strength and the making of excuses to avoid a work-out as well as general flu like symptoms may also be prevalent.
If you think that you are in an over trained state give yourself a two week gym break. Take the time to re-evaluate your training regimen. How long are your work outs lasting? Are you slogging away for two fours per session, performing necessarily low to medium intensity marathon sessions. How many sets per body part are you performing? How many times per week are you hitting each body part? Now, bodybuilding success comes from knowing our own bodies, experimenting and adapting. If you’re in over-trained state, it’s a sure bet that you’re going to have to adapt to progress. When you try something new, however (whether it’s a new supplement or a new work-out program) keep a training journal so that you can monitor just what works for you. With that in mind, give the following a six week trial;
(1) Cut back to working each body part just once per week.
(2) Spend no more than 20 minutes training major body parts (thighs, lats, pecs) and half that time on minor ones.
(3) Be totally focused on your training in the gym. Don’t get distracted with idle chatter or babe watching.
(4) After your work-out, forget about the gym until your next session.
(5) Structure your program so that you’re in the gym no more four days per week.
After six weeks you should see your energy levels and your muscular gains once more on the increase.