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.