19 May 2010

You're Overtrained, huh? The Second.

Mike Quinn stabbed a man to death with a plastic fork in 1991 after the man wrote the following on a napkin "Overtr".  Quinn mistakenly believed the man intended to write "overtraining", and took the appropriate measures to ensure that the word was never uttered, written, or thought in his presence.  As it turned out, he was writing "overtime", but Quinn, in his haste, mistook the "i" for an "r".  Quinn was acquitted after eating the jury, the judge's gavel and two small children in the courtroom, all while squatting 500 for reps.

The prevalence of the theory of overtraining is what makes it so convincing, rather than the actually experience of it.  In every magazine, on every message board, and in nearly every book on strength training, one finds multitudinous warnings about, and admonitions against, the overwhelming specter of overtraining.  The prevalence of a theory, however, is hardly evidence of its validity.

For instance, in the past, people strongly believed silly bullshit like:
  •  Masturbation turned you into the main douche from the Twilight films, because it caused "pallid, bloodless countenances, hollow, sunken, and half-ghastly eyes, with a red rim around the eyelids, and black and blue circles under the eyes." Female masturbators, they believed, suffered from insanity, consumption, and flat-chestedness.   (Grant, John.  Discarded Science. p. 272-4)    These beliefs, now considered absurd, were thoroughly widespread and unchallenged in the Victorian age. 
  • That a person's character can be told from their outward appearance.  This theory, called physiognomy, was prevalent in the time of Aristotle, and gained ground during the Middle Ages.  With most of the thinking world (but not bodybuilders!), this theory bit the fucking dust after William Sheldon published Atlas of Men (1940), which separated humans into three distinct somatotypes, called mesomorphs, ectomorphs, and endomorphs.  Sound familiar?  It should.  This is the idiotic system by which every novice bodybuilder on the planet differentiates themselves, having never read the dumbass book on which this shitpile of an anti-intellectual theory is based.  Somatotyping, as a part of constitutional psychology, needs to be relegated to the intellectual dust bin with its mentally challenged parent, forthwith.  More on this idiocy here
  • Humanity is less than 10,000 years old.  Yes.  People actually believed that.  Oh wait, they STILL believe that- in May 2006, a poll showed that 44-47% of the population of the United States believes that the human races is less than 10,000 years old, in spite of literal tons of evidence to the contrary.  Oh, and 40% believe that evolution is bullshit.  (Source)
This dumb whore actually thinks the world is flat, and is on a nationally televised show.  Prevalence does not equal credibility.
Overtraining is very similar to the aforementioned cases, in that it was tremendously difficult to disabuse people of their beliefs in those theories.  People of the Victorian era truly believed that a person had a limited number of orgasms they could achieve in their lifetime, and that masturbation sapped one's strength.  Just as in the somatotyping and evolution nonsense, people actually still fucking believe this, in spite of reams of scientific evidence to the contrary.  How can one believe such bullshit, even when it's been proven to be patently, irrefutably, and categorically untrue?  Well, when that belief suits your needs by fitting into whatever idiotic worldview to which you ascribe, whether it be puritanical and anachronistic Christianity, or some ridiculous bodybuilding claptrap.

Overtraining is considered a "syndrome", and is defined as the imbalance of rest and training, wherein one's training overwhelms the body's ability to recuperate. A syndrome, so you know, is not a disease- it's a name the medical community gives to a collection of symptoms, often to sell a product.  Don't believe me?  Well, there's ADD and various amphetamines, and then there's the vibrator, which was used by doctors to treat the female Hysteria syndrome, hahahaha.
Clearly hysterical.  Luckily, I occasionally pretend to be a doctor.
The other problem posed by the ubiquitousness of the theory of overtraining is that it creates a framework our minds can use to physically affect us.  Thus, modern media is an environment designed to psychosomatically (Psychosomatic means: of, relating to, involving, or concerned with bodily symptoms caused by mental or emotional disturbance, according to Merriam Webster) inflict the physical ailments associated with overtraining on us, and they then manifest because we believe that they must.  Marketing exists to do this very thing, and is often a warped mirror reflecting back at us the worst of us.  In this case, it's a reflection of the modern American dedication to a life of ease.  An article entitled "The Rule of Repetition in Marketing" by Marty Foley illustrates this nicely:
The Rule of Repetition is very basic, yet powerful. Simply put, it means that any marketing communication is most effective when it is repeatedly brought to the attention of your target market.
Why is repetition in your marketing so important? Most prospects don't respond immediately to a single marketing communication, or perhaps even several of them. There are various reasons for this:
*Your prospects aren't familiar enough with you yet.
Repetition helps build familiarity, which in turn helps build credibility. Some prospects will start to recognize your company and products only after they've seen them over and over again. Gradually they come to recognize that your company is stable, not just another fly-by-night operation, and will eventually start to develop enough trust to start doing business with you.
When was the last time you read an article or book about training wherein overtraining was not addressed?  Probably on the 7th of never.  Thus, overtraining is like the horrible, misshapen, bloated, saggy, atrophied love child of Freddy Kreuger and the Candyman.  You talk about it enough, and read about it enough, and eventually you'll start to believe in it- at which point you're fucked.

So, the big question is "How the fuck do we break the chain?" You do it in the same way you break the cycle of samsara- you achieve enlightenment.  Just like the motherfucker at the end of every Freddy movie who realizes that the power of belief works both ways, so must you. Overtraining is complete bullshit, but staleness is the explanation for the physiological signs typically associated with high volume training.  Thus, we have to defeat our minds using whatever means necessary.  Like Deebo in Friday, we need to get mind control over that motherfucker.

..but when he leave, I be talkin' again.

If you're not training with a frequency and load that's an appreciable percentage of that with which do the Russians or Bulgarians, it's highly likely that any symptoms of overtraining you might be experiencing are psychosomatic.  Unfortunately, treatment for psychosomatic disorders, which is essentially what most symptoms of overtraining are, is not for everyone.  If you're over 45, unintelligent, have suffered from the illness for decades, or are convinced to the point of being hysterical (read, ANY H.I.T. advocate) of the reality of your "illness", treatment will be ineffective.  Treatment can be effected, however, with drug therapy, group therapy, and supportive psychotherapy.  (E. D. Wittkower, "Treatment of Psychosomatic Disorders" Can Med Assoc J. 1964 May 2; 90(18): 1055–1060)  Thus, here's your supportive psychotherapy:  STOP BEING A FUCKING PUSSY.  Drug therapy?  Take enough test boosters, stimulants, and NSAIDS as necessary to facilitate more frequent training.  As your body acclimates, you will need fewer.  As for group therapy, this blog is it.

Hypnosis is also recommended for the treatment of psychosomatic disorders, but it is unfortunately only useful for performance enhancement in untrained people.  For trained athletes, this technique only works to degrade performance... much in the way the idea of overtraining works.  (Zatsiorky, Vladimir. "Intensity of Strength Training Facts and Theory: Russian & Eastern Approach."  Biomechanics Lab at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, and the Central Institute of Physical Culture- Moscow, Russia.  P.11)

There is always the Barbarian Brothers method, also championed by John Parrillo and Victor Richards- eat more and sleep more so you can train more.  It worked for Vic- apparently, he used to eat 20,000-30,000 calories a day, sleep half the day, and train 3 hours a day.  He competed before GH became prevalent in bodybuilding, and walked on stage at 5'10, 330 lbs.

Everyone loves Arnold, right?  No one trains like him.  Why?  They claim it's impossible without drugs.  Well, newsflash- Arnold gained weight for competitions, because he only ran dbol during his prep.  He trained the way he did year-round, without gear, because his body was acclimated to doing so, and he ate and slept enough to facilitate proper recovery.

While we're on the subject- sleep is an important tool for preventing mental fatigue, as is the ubiquitous orgasm Sex is alleged to be the safest tranquilizer in the world. Fucking three or more times a week reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke by half. Good sex is 10 times more effective than Valium and other sedatives when it comes to providing humans sense of relief, satisfaction, fulfillment and tranquility in sleeping and in depressing moods.(Source)

The moral of this lengthy diatribe?   Overtraining is, by and large, horseshit.  Unless you've got rhabdo and you're shitting blood, it's likely you're just mentally exhausted from crushing heavy weights.  As such, TRAIN LIGHTER for a day or two, sleep more, rub a few out, and get laid.  If you're sore, eat more and drink a bucket of fucking water.  Problem solved.


  1. So where's that last picture from? Serious question.

  2. Overtraining is complete ass-hole-ery. A good way to look at it is, "If I'm overtrainined by working out each day, that means I should be 'overtrained' from school. Yet school is continuous besides the summer/winter breaks."

    shitting blood and being run-down = Crohn's Disease. Worst thing to ever happen to me in high school.

  3. I never felt like I suffered from overtraining until I read about it. When my friends and I first started lifting weights about 15 years ago we would lift every day and for hours at a time. We did it this way because it was FUN. Then one asshole suggested that we only lift every second day because he'd been told that the body needs that day in between to recuperate. I tried that for a while but it got boring so I started lifting every day again and stopped working out with that goof. Eventually though I did read in a magazine about "overtraining." I'd been feeling pretty run down around then so I believed it. I mean, magazines don't lie, do they? When I mentioned it to another friend who was a more experienced lifter than myself, he asked me, "Would you rather be overtraining or undertraining?"
    That says it all right there, doesn't it? If overtraining exists or it doesn't exist, it doesn't even matter. Anything is better than undertraining. Undertraining is gayer than actually being gay.

  4. In America, all we need to fear is undertraining.

  5. I prefer your Mike Quinn story over the others I have heard in the past. Now that it is on the internet, I shall accept it as truth.

  6. The main focus needs to be answering the first question: where did that last picture come from?

  7. Hahahaha. I got it off Testosterone Muscle, which is about the only thing that fucking site is good for at this point.

    Ryan- I had a pretty sweet bout of dysentery in China, and that resulted in the same thing, haha.

    I have all of the best Mike Quinn stories.

  8. Damn, that's like the exact symptoms I had. Probably the scariest bathroom experiences, and I thought I just had the flu. Was it something you ate, or water?

  9. Let me get this straight. You bash Christianity but speak highly of Nightmare on Elm Street's teachings of enlightenment?

    Hmmm... Sounds like you've read a little Nietzsche, and now you think you have superior intellect. Keep in mind the following. 1. You're one of many douchebags in this world who laughably believe that your shunning of Christianity affords them a better/more accurate/more honest view of the world. 2. You didn't think of shit. Just because someone highly regarded in elite, academic circles articulates a criticism of Christianity, it's not your articulation. You're an intellectual coattail rider (and douche). 3. You fail to realize that most Christians (Protestants, at least) today would agree with past criticisms of Christianity because they were actually criticisms of the Catholic Church. Failure to realize this makes you a douche. 4. You're now in the company of Richard Dawkins and other in-your-face atheist douches. Congrats. 5. If Stephen Hawking cannot figure out how the universe just popped out of nowhere, neither can your douche ass.

    TAD (The Anti-Douche)

  10. Suddenly it smells of Bibles all up in here

  11. I started to read the bible once. Imagine my disappointment when I realized that chapter two was just a shitty rehash of chapter one. I gave it up there and then.

  12. Exodus was a shitty rehash of Genesis?

  13. Bible+weightlifting reminds me of this picture. It is a symbol of Jesus' victory over Overtraining.


  14. The thing I love about christians is how accepting they are of other viewpoints. /sarcasm

    Keep believing your fairy tales "douche".

  15. ..but when he leave, I be talkin' again.

  16. I'm pretty sure that wasn't really an indictment of Christianity... and that I said religion can help with motivation in my last blog. Hmmmmm...

    Is it just me, or are TAD's credentials a bit shaky, given his inability to retain information he's read in the last week?

    Oh, and TAD- one can indeed have a religious/spiritual belief system without worshiping a scrawny Jew.

    You got knocked the fuck out, man! Give me my goddamn money...

  17. Oh, and you guys have to click that anti-masturbation link. That shit will make your fucking heads spin.

  18. LOL...

    "Everyone instinctively feels bad when they misuse the body. Some people choose to ignore these feelings and pretend to be happy when they actually are not since they lack inner peace"

    This article is fucking gold Jamie!

  19. And wouldn't masturbation be the ultimate application of controlling our bodies?

    "Emotionally, masturbation is devastating. Our bodies were meant to be used for a good purpose and to teahc us important lessons so that our character would increase in strength. We were meant to be in control of our bodies and our destinies, not the other way around. We become strong and confident by controlling the body. When we are single that is exactly what we are supposed to do. The most confident and successful people in the world are those who have learned self-control."

    This guy is a fucking nut job.

  20. Why anyone would ascribe to belief system that prohibits something as patently awesome as masturbation is beyond me. That fucking nut makes it sound like self-rape. And in a bad way.

    That website is solid gold. If anyone wants proof that people suck, all you need is the Sex and the City 2 trailer and that website, and it's game, set, match.

  21. I'm going back to that last picture, and whack it, later tonight.

  22. Too late Anonymous. I beat you to beating it.

  23. Sometimes I go and rub one out while I'm at work. That way I'm getting paid for it and get to feel like a porn star.

  24. any idea where i can get more info on victor richards? google is failing me.

    "Sometimes I go and rub one out while I'm at work. That way I'm getting paid for it and get to feel like a porn star."

  25. Real quick: Victor Richards did not consume 20,000 to 30,000 calories a day. As quoted from this interview (http://www.trulyhuge.com/victor-richards.html), "I actually consume anywhere from 8,000 to 12,000 calories a day depending on my training exertion for that day."

    Which is still an enormous amount of calories.

  26. Well, I have a problem: the lack of control over the quantity and quality of good sleep that I'am able to muster (I suffer a lot from this). It makes all the difference in the world. What would be your advise on this? I think it would be nice to have an entry regarding the importance of sleeping in a training context, and specially, some ways to improve this part of the ecuation.

  27. Shut the fuck up and take a dirt nap.

    Order from the Dollar Menu at McDonalds.

    Problem solved.

  28. Is shitting blood really that bad? I do sometimes. i dont feel bad at all. I still lift heavy and squat 3 times a week. think its just from liftin heavy....right?

  29. Fuckin' magnets how do they work

  30. I take shits that are so big they come right up out of the water. Sometimes they look like Frosty Desserts from Wendys though.

  31. Do you have a citation for the Quinn trial? I couldn't find it on Lexis/Nexus.

  32. This was a fucking good read. I always suspected overtraining was a lame ass excuse produced by wussies using muscle-tech, NO and creatine for 30 pound 1/2 range 8 rep bench presses and crying about how the last rep "hurts".

  33. HAHAHAHA in re the Quinn question.

    I found that shit on Westlaw. Fuck LN. Westlaw fo life, muthafucka! If you ain't down, you betta recognize!

  34. you people are idiots if you think overtrraining isn't real...

  35. I am not all that motivated by weight training any more. I still do some but now I prefer to work a physical job. Get paid for my exertions. Maybe an hour or two a day in a gym will not overtrain you, but I have encountered working conditions I could not handle. Over time one can build work capacity but that does not mean overexertion does not exist. I reckon hard manual labour can constitute overexertion.


  36. The more and more I lift weights the more I think overtraining is bullshit when I started lifting I did 10x10 with 20 pounds and was sore for 3 days afterwards on the fourth day i did the same workout and no soreness so i did it again the next day.by about the 9th day after I started i was doing 14x10 with 25 pounds or 16x5 with 30 pounds every day with no soreness at all within 8 weeks my one rep max went from 35 pounds to about 45 pounds and I was only eating about 1800 to 2000 calories a day (but im not a skinny guy either) and sleeping maybe 8 hours if I was lucky usually it was about 5 or 6. But im not saying you can't over exert yourself which you can, you can actually rupture your muscles as each of your muscles has a sheath kind of like a sausage casing. If it bursts open you may have to get surgery to fix it but this is not from "over training" it's more from pushing to hard like if your one rep max was 20 pounds and you tried to curl 40 and you strain to hard then it could result in an injury. Luckily this has never happened to me as i know my limits but i know a guy who had this happen to him and it was pretty brutal apparently.