Massimo’s Blog #2
May 16, 2019
Why Overtraining is Unhealthy
There is a very common misconception that the longer you train, the better your results. Unfortunately it’s not that simple. Training requires balance and is dependent on the work you put in while in the gym with the time you have. Workouts do not need to be over one hour and a half including warm up. At that point you are setting yourself up for injury and hardship. Full disclosure, this blog focus on specifically weight training because that is often the form of training that is most prone to injury.
A lot of the time I hear the question, how long should I spend in the gym? The answer isn’t as simple as one would think because it varies from person to person. My general rule is keep it to about an hour and a half including warm up. If you are really pushing yourself and trying to be better then an hour and a half should be plenty of time for you to improve. Six time Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates, stated that his workouts would be as short as 45 minutes because he would push his muscles to absolute failure every set. But this still doesn’t fully answer the question. According to an article on bodybuilding.com, Joe Franco (certified personal trainer with a degree in exercise physiology) wrote that for beginners appropriate training time is about 30-45 minutes if you are training hard and properly. “If you weight train for more than 60 minutes you’re probably doing one of two things, over-training or talking too much.”
Another major factor is diet. If you aren’t eating right, you won’t get the results you need and you will be less capable of training… If you don’t fuel your body you won’t be able to perform at your full potential. You will be tired, sore and won’t improve. It’s all about calories in and calories out. If you want to lose weight or shred you want a caloric deficit; if you want to gain weight then you need a caloric surplus.
Now, what about protein? Protein is essential when training and needs to be in your diet if you want to improve and stay healthy. Protein is used to rebuild and strengthen tissues which is crucial when recovering from a workout. It also helps create enzymes and hormones that are important for bodily health. It is said that the average sedentary man needs about 56g (0.8g per pound of body weight) and 46g for a sedentary women. For those who train and are constantly active they need significantly more protein to build and sustain muscle mass and be able to recover properly. For weight lifters 1.5-2g of protein is needed per pound of body weight. This is a lot of protein, which is why you see all these athletes eating more than 3 meals a day. With carbs, you should have about 55-60 percent of your caloric intake in carbs. So if you consume 2000 calories you should have about 225-325g of carbs per day. It would be more for weight lifters and bodybuilders. Other vitamins are available through healthy foods, and for those who are concerned, take a multivitamin to ensure you are getting enough.
So, we still haven’t answered the question on why overtraining is unhealthy. Overtraining is essentially pushing your body past the point when it can recover. If you can’t recover then you won’t grow or get stronger. Think of it this way, working out is an adaptation for stress. n your daily life you have a lot of daily stresses that weigh on you but usually you can overcome them and your tolerance for stress increases. But, if you have so much stress that you break down and cry frequently then you’re not improving; same with working out. You train so hard that you’re sore the next day but not so hard that you’re in constant pain or injury. Overtraining can cause loss of size and strength, elevated blood pressure, general tiredness, decrease in sex drive and impaired immune system function.
I used to train for two and a half hours a day and I found I was just losing weight and getting extremely tired even though I was eating massive amounts of food. It was until I cut my workouts down to maximum an hour and a half until I saw results, I gained over 10 pounds of muscle and dropped 3% body fat, helping me reach my goal. So to all the weight lifters out there, train smart. The time you train has no effect on your results, it’s the work you put in that time. Push yourself to your limit and reach your goals.
Franco, J. (2018, December 13). Important Factors For Weight Training! Retrieved from https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/franco4.htm
Gunnars, K. (2018, January 09). How Many Carbs Should You Eat Per Day to Lose Weight? Retrieved April 18, 2019, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-many-carbs-per-day-to-lose-weight
Nilsson, N. (n.d.). Why Is Overtraining So Bad? Retrieved from http://www.fitstep.com/2/2-how-to-build-muscle/muscle-and-strength-questions/miscellaneous-questions/is-overtraining-bad.htm
Protein Intake – How Much Protein Should You Eat Per Day? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-protein-per-day