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Athlete's and Overtraining

“Sell yourself short on nutrition and you’re selling yourself short on maximizing your physique development.” - Ernie Taylor

Good day!

I hope you are all enjoying this nice sunny, warm weather!!

Today’s topic is a common one I run into with athlete’s on a regular basis, overtraining.

Over the years, I have had many an athlete approach me to say how they wanted to have a physique like mine. I always appreciate compliments and am grateful for their kindness. Instantaneously, after hearing their compliment, a voice in my head says, “But you sure wouldn’t want to train like I have to get there…” Truth. I have taken several under my wings, with ample warning of the reality of overtraining, only to find them jumping ship after a couple weeks. The longest lasted three weeks, and these were adult males who had several years of what they felt were intense training. Why?

Like much of society today, people want what they are after now. Many have little patience nor the fortitude to stick it out over the long haul, and they give up.

To those beginning to those who have trained for years, I repeat:

  1. Listen to your body!!!

  2. Stop comparing yourself with others. Have a visual of what you’re after, but do not become obsessed with comparing yourself to every person you see

  3. Build up both physical and cardiovascular strength g-r-a-d-u-a-l-l-y

  4. Plan and allow for recovery time just as you do your training

  5. Recovery time is based on your training experience, training level, output, intensity, age, weight, gender, and mental/emotion health

I think every athlete at one time or another, has experienced overtraining to one degree or another, at least once. Sometimes it’s harder to recognize overtraining than others, depending on how aware one is of their body, emotions, and how closely they are paying attention to details such as, their training, weights used, reps, sets, distance, speed, intensity, and so forth.

First, you need to understand what overtraining is. Overtraining, in a nutshell, is training without proper support of bodily systems. Overtraining can result from a one time killer workout, to an ongoing regimen that has gradually worn out bodily reserves.


  1. Not allowing adequate rest and/or recovery

  2. Insufficient calories to support training

  3. Nutritional deficiencies due to poor nutrition, and/or the body burning through nutrients faster than they are being replenished

  4. Lack of sleep, restful sleep

  5. Stress, which can be attributed to any or all of the following stressors: mental, emotional, or physical

  6. Sunburn

  7. Compromised immune system. Training when overtired, on the edge of coming down with something, ill, or after a long day or night of travel

  8. Training on auto-pilot, not paying any attention to how long you have followed the same training routine, reps, sets, etc.

The best athlete will always come to a dead end if any of the above are not corrected promptly. If the athlete is relatively new to training, this is when many will give up due to ignorance. They simply did not understand/know what the nature of training in it’s fulness entailed. Once the pain of soreness sets in, or illness, or an injury due to lack of knowing what they were doing, they figure training ‘like that’, isn’t for them.

However, by far the majority of athletes I encounter that have had or are heading to overtraining, are by far the athletes who tend to be OCD (Obsessive Compulsive). They simply are set on their training regimen. Period. Rain or shine. Sickness or health. Injury or not. Sleep or not. Emotionally balanced or not. Time or not. Yes, these are the folks that will ‘make-up’ their lost day of training and do a ‘double train day’ to make up for it.

They have a very hard time changing training routines, and generally start to notice injuries. They also tend to not take their nutrition as seriously as their training, unfortunately, and then the dreadful moment arrives…. overtraining.


  1. You find your performance is compromised: strength, power, endurance, and/or cardiovascular strength.

  2. You can’t train as long or as hard.

  3. It’s taking you longer to recover.

  4. You lose your balance more than usual.

  5. Keep forgetting what rep and/or set you’re on.

  6. Form and technique are compromised.

  7. Your heart rate is spiking faster than normal.

  8. You’re fatiguing more quickly.

  9. You’re fatigue lingers on throughout the day.

  10. If female, your menstrual cycle is not normal.

  11. Restless sleep and/or insomnia.

  12. Headaches

  13. Aches in general. Could be achy joints, as well.

  14. Getting sick more often.

  15. Takes longer to regain health after a cold.

  16. Depression.

  17. Stress that you normally handle well, becomes more difficult.

  18. Easily agitated.

  19. It’s hard to think.

  20. Body fat plateau’s or increases due to cortisol levels rising.

  21. Muscle wasting due to not enough recovery time, poor assimilation, and overworking the body.

  22. You have a loss of enthusiasm for working out.

  23. Don’t feel like eating and/or eating properly.

  24. Overall performance throughout all daily activities decreases.

  25. Feel burned out.

  26. You’re more prone to injuries.

  27. Don’t feel like training, but force yourself to anyway.


  1. Rest, rest and more rest.

  2. Be sure to get 8 hours sleep at night, or more.

  3. Drink plenty of water and flush out your system.

  4. Go on a 3-day cleanse to give your digestive system a rest, and allow healing to go full fledge in the areas of need.

  5. Do something fun and enjoyable every other day, whether it’s photography, enjoying nature, playing with the kids, or reading that book you’ve been meaning to get to.


  1. Ease back into it. Don’t feel like you need to go double time or double as hard to make up for lost training, if you do, it will soon bring you back to overtraining.

  2. Have a plan. Be sure to vary things up, especially if you recognize you’ve

been overdoing it in one particular area, such as running, sprinting, etc.

3. Stay in tune during your workouts, and I don’t mean to your iPods!!!! Be in tune with

how you are feeling, and make note of what you’ve done that day. In other words, be

mentally engaged in your training, not on autopilot.

Enjoy your training. If you ever start training, and do not enjoy it, by all means change it!

Life is meant to be enjoyed, and so is your training. Challenging, but enlightening.

Have a wonderful week!

PS - Whether it’s time to change your training routine, you need a meal plan that covers your nutritional and training bases, or you want to know which supplements will give you the edge….

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