So Why Aren't You Growing?
Why haven't your long hours at the gym rewarded you with the physique of your dreams?
Is it your
genetics? Probably not.
Is it your diet? Possibly.
Is it your training program? Most likely.
Bodybuilders in general are average people with a few differences. We think differently. We practice self denial with religious fervor. We embrace pain like a lover. Unfortunately these attributes do not necessarily make us any more intelligent or wiser than average people and as such, we often make mistakes. And what is the most common mistake that bodybuilders make?
Doubtless some of you will become defensive at that statement and revel in the tremendous gains that you have made on your 2 hour a day, six day a week training program. It is important however to remember what I said. AVERAGE.
Average people have average genetics. Average people have day jobs and families to support. Average people are not on anabolic steroids and this is exactly my point. If you don't have the genetics of an Olympic athlete, if you don't have a sponsor who pays you to lift weights and if you don't want to stick a needle in your ass every other day, then don't train as if you do.
When it comes to building an impressive, natural physique, more is not only not better, it's actually counterproductive.
So What Is Overtraining?
Very simply stated, overtraining is working a muscle before it has had a chance to recover from a previous workout. Are you serous about growing? Then read the following carefully. Weight training provides the catalyst for muscle growth but actual growth only occurs after you have left the gym.
s I don't care if you have the muscle fiber of a distance athlete or the build of a seasoned powerlifter. If your goal is to be a bodybuilder than you must learn to recognize your training/recovery threshold and then learn to work within it. Train too infrequently and you're just a recreational lifter. Train too often or too hard and your just wasting your time.
Keep reading and I'll tell you exactly what overtraining is. If you're not into biology, skip a couple of paragraphs and I'll tell you how not only decrease your risk of overtraining, but how to actually decrease your recovery time.
After the onset of heavy resistance training, the adrenal gland releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a great hormone because it breaks down protein into its constituent parts that are then shuttled to the liver where they can be converted into glucose to fuel the body's energy needs. That's good because you need a lot of energy to fuel a long workout. The bad news is that the protein that is being broken down is coming directly from your muscles.
That's right, the longer that you workout, the more cortisol is released eating away the precious muscle tissue that you are trying so desperately to build. This isn't as bad as it sounds. Your body is naturally conditioned to respond to this type of stress through a mechanism known as supercompensation.
Your body is evolutionarily programmed to not only compensate, but super-compensate for the muscle loss by not only repairing the damaged tissue, but by adding a little extra just in case. This is exactly why you become bigger and stronger. But there's a catch. If you don't give your body enough time to recover (compensate), it will never be able to create additional muscle (supercompensate).
Stop trying to imitate the training program of the pro's. Not only do they have exceptional genetics, they are on enough gear to keep a pharmacist shelf well stocked.
What Are Some Signs Of Overtraining?
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Muscle tenderness
- Head colds and/or allergic reactions
- Elevated resting heart rate
- Elevated blood pressure
- Sleep disturbances
- Emotional instability
- NO GAINS IN STRENGTH OR SIZE
Ask yourself this question. Are you making gains every time that you go to the gym? Unless you are a seasoned athlete and have exhausted you genetic potential, you should see a small but measurable gain from workout to workout, either in the amount of weight lifted or the number of repetitions preformed.
Look at your training program as you would an investment in a bank. If you put a large sum of money in a bank and came back a year latter to find that your investment hadn't grown at all, would you be satisfied with your rate of return?
You would pull your money out of that bank and put it into another investment that would actually pay you something back. It really is that simple and yet many people return to the gym, time and time again doing the same thing over and over and walking away with nothing to show for it. Are you tired of hitting the gym day after day, week after week, month after month and not getting results? Then do something about it!
How To Avoid Overtraining
- Train with intensity but within limits.
- Allow yourself time to recover fully before working the same muscle group. If you are still sore from the previous workout, take more time off or work a different muscle group.
- Consume carbohydrates two hours prior to training and immediately after training. Research has shown that a fatigued muscle is more responsive to energy storage within 30 minutes following a workout.
- Consume protein one to two hours before a workout and immediately after a workout. This is a great time for a meal replacement or protein supplement.
- Take an occasional vacation from the gym. A week or two will allow you time to recover and start fresh. If your workout takes longer than an hour then you are probably talking too much or training too long. Shut up and Grow!
Until next time, train smart and don't take fitness lightly.
2004 Bodybuilding.com Transformation Guide!