By Drew Stegman – You’ve always been told ‘More is better’ or ‘You get what you pay for.’ While this is true in several areas of life, you’ll end up getting smaller and weaker, not bigger and stronger if you apply this concept in the bodybuilding world. Although a decent amount of volume and frequency is necessary for muscular growth, too much of it is not a good thing.
Overtraining is defined as state of working your muscles out so hard, that they simply can’t keep up with the demand. They try to grow, but because of the excess amount of stress they are receiving they just aren’t able too. The side effects can range anywhere from fatigue, insomnia, depression, decreased lean muscle mass, decreased strength, loss of appetite, loss of libido and an overall drop in mood. Overtraining is a serious problem for bodybuilders, which is why we should avoid it at all costs in the first place. To help you get started, here are four tips.
Tip #1 – Spend No More Than An Hour In The Gym
Working out for too long is a sure-fire way to overtrain. As your important muscle building hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone take a significant drop, your muscle burning and fat storing hormones such as cortisol take a sharp rise. To put simply, the result is more fat and less muscle then you started with. For this reason, spending more than an hour in the gym is completely unnecessary and I actually recommend spending only a maximum of 45 minutes in the gym per session.
Tip #2 – Sleep Like A Baby
If you aren’t sleeping enough, the recovery process will be interrupted. And if your muscles can’t recover from their last workout and you decide to hit the same muscle group again, I can guarantee that you will overtrain. But how much sleep is enough?
Quite frankly, everyone is different and we will all require different amounts of sleep. But as a general guideline, serious bodybuilders should make it a priority to get at least eight hours of good, quality sleep every night – and if you need more rest, take more rest.
Tip #3 – Stop Working Out Every Day
Spending too long in the gym and not allowing your body to recover are two fantastic ways to overtrain. But working out every day is the best way to accelerate both of these things. You NEED rest days. Period. If you’re not taking off at least two days per week from training, you are definitely putting yourself at risk of overtraining. The body simply can’t keep up with lifting weights every day. Eventually, everything will come to a screeching halt.
Tip #4 – Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition
I always stress the importance of eating a well balanced diet, complete with lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. Not eating a good diet can result in malnutrition, which is not only a serious medical issue but also a great way to overtrain, since your muscles do not have the nutrients they need to grow and recover. Nutrition should be approached in a balanced manner, complete with every macronutrient. Fruits and vegetables are important as well, since they contain vital vitamins and nutrients.
For a complete bodybuilding nutrition guide, check out this article.
To Sum It Up
Overtraining is a serious problem for bodybuilders. But by cutting back our workout frequency, getting enough sleep each night and watching our nutrition closely, we will reduce our risk of overtraining significantly and make fantastic changes to our physique.