Overtraining is common among bodybuilders at all levels, but beginners can be particularly susceptible since a) their bodies are not accustomed to the training, and b) their lack of experience may convince them that training as much as possible is the way to build muscle…”no pain, no gain”, right?
Unfortunately, unscrupulous companies looking to make a fast buck will often have the beginner bodybuilder wondering if the secret to all their muscle building troubles lies in those “magic pills” that they are trying to flog at 50 bucks a pop!
Let’s be clear that the secret of how to make your muscles bigger healthily and naturally is not in training your muscles as much as is humanly possible, but progressively overloading the muscle for an allotted time, and then allowing it the time to recover and repair itself…
“The muscle building process happens when we rest, not while we are working out”
Rest is absolutely essential to build muscle mass. This means that any workout program that is getting you to work the same muscle group 2 days in a row is probably not allowing you sufficient time to rest and recover. This can lead to the symptoms of overtraining which if not dealt with early can not only result in less muscular development, but also serious injury, fatigue, illness, and muscle loss.
(Read this blog post to find out more about how much rest to get between workouts)
There are many dangers of overtraining. Below are 3 major negative effects that overtraining can have on your body and overall health:
If you are feeling constantly tired, or you tire very easily then you may want to look at whether you are overtraining in your bodybuilding workout routines, as it can be caused by this.
Chronic fatigue is so much more than just tiredness, as it can result in irritability, poor performance at work and other tasks, family disputes and arguments, and the inability to sleep properly at night (hence even less chance of muscle growth). Yep, even though you may feel as tired as ever, fatigue can cause stress levels in the other areas of your life to increase which disturbs your whole system.
Fatigue is also responsible for a weak appetite, which will seriously hamper your chances of building muscle.
Decrease in Testosterone and Other Hormone Levels
Testosterone is needed to help us build muscle. By following a solid bodybuilding workout routine schedule we can naturally increase our testosterone levels helping us to build muscle faster.
So, training more will give us more testosterone and faster muscle growth, right? WRONG!
Overtraining in our workouts will actually cause us to decrease our testosterone levels making muscle building that much tougher. Combine this with an increase in cortisol levels due to overtraining and you’ve got a recipe for muscle tissue loss.
Tendon and Tissue Damage
Overtraining can cause long term damage to muscle tissue, tendons and joints, since there is insufficient recovery time to allow the natural healing process. There will also be an increased level of lactic acid in your system which can aggravate and increase the tissue damage.
This can lead to long term health problems and joint pain, early onset of arthritis, and other issues.
Now that we have identified the main dangers of overtraining, let’s take a little look at how to avoid overtraining