I was at the gym today working out when I overheard somebody nearby complain they thought they were overtraining so it would be a good idea to take a week off of working out.
I did a double take like I just saw Erin Andrews walk by when I heard this. In fact, I snapped my neck back so fast I’m going to have to wear a neck brace.
I knew the guy so I went up to him asking what was going on with him and why he thought he was overtraining.
“Well, my body has been pretty sore and I’ve been tired a lot. My friend who works out a lot says I’m probably overtraining and should take some time off.”
Then I promptly took some baby powder out of my gym bag, put it on my hand and slapped him across the face with it.
Now I’ll admit maybe that wasn’t entirely necessary, but I did succeed in grabbing his attention.
“How can you say you’re overtraining when you only workout 5-6 hours per week? You’re body is capable of overcoming a lot more stress than that. In fact, the way I look at it most people’s perspective of overtraining is a complete MYTH,” I told him.
I’ll be the first to tell you that overtraining is 100% real and a lot of professional athletes experience it, but the average person working out for an hour a day is probably not overtraining.
The definition of overtraining on Wikipedia is as follows: Overtraining is a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individual’s exercise exceeds their recovery capacity. They cease making progress, and can even begin to lose strength and fitness. Overtraining is a common problem in weight training, but it can also be experienced by runners and other athletes.
The keywords here are exceeds recovery capacity.
Most people aren’t overtraining, they’re actually under-recovering.
I then asked him how many hours of sleep he was getting per night and what his diet was like.
He said, “Well, I go to bed at 2am and wakeup around 8. I usually eat whatever I can because I’m so busy.”
Then I took the baby powder back out, put it on my other hand and slapped him across the other cheek.
“No no no you dodo bird. Your body needs more sleep than that. Try going to bed by 10:30 at the latest and start eating a diet plan that will allow you to properly recover from your workouts,” I said to him. “Also make sure you’re drinking a lot of water as dehydration will make you feel tired.”
He replied, “Ok ok I get it. I’m going to get started today then.”
As he was walking away I asked him, “Hey! Where do you think you’re going?”
“I’m going to go home to get that stuff started.”
I told him, “I don’t think so chief, you still have a workout to do.”
And the rest is history.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.