A Bodybuilder Is Born: Episode 8 - Curb Your Enthusiasm!

Learn the basics on overtraining and why it should be avoided. Learn why training more will not help you get bigger faster!

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Article Summary:
  • Janet reveals that Randy is doing extra training sessions on the side.
  • Ron explains to Randy the importance of rest and muscle recovery.
  • Ron once again has to cover the subject of patience with Randy.
  • I was eating while carefully inspecting the gluteal development of the fitness models in the newest Musclemag swimsuit issue, which is pretty much every issue and that's fine by me, when Janet broke my intense concentration.

    "I saw your little friend at the gym today." This was how she referred to Randy, who was the God of all Studs to the 18-22-year-old girls of the world, but didn't do much for a woman over thirty like my wife, who could practically smell the mindless hormones oozing out of his pores whenever a female was within twenty yards. 'A dog in heat' was how she described the vibe he threw off. Well, I certainly couldn't argue with that since it was accurate, but I didn't look down on Randy for his being so randy.

    Randy Was The God Of All Studs To The 18-22-Year-Old Girls Of The World.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Randy Was The God Of All Studs To
    The 18-22-Year-Old Girls Of The World.

    In fact, I had been that way at his age too. Ah, who am I kidding? I'm still like that; I have just learned to be a touch more discreet with my slobbering. Not discreet enough for Janet, who still occasionally smacks me upside the head when she busts me staring too long at another woman and no doubt imagining some lusty scenario or other.

    "Randy? What was he doing there? We don't train today. Was he hanging around that chick at the front desk with the nose ring and the tattoo of the butterfly right over the crack of... uh, with her?" Janet shot me a look that said I was this close to sleeping on the couch. Not that it's an uncomfortable couch, but it does get kind of lonely down in the family room with nothing to keep me company except the hum of the refrigerator at the top of the stairs.

    "I'm pretty sure he was training arms."

    "What? With who? Why, if that ingrate is seeing another trainer behind my back, I'll,"

    "He was by himself." Hmm. I was going to have to confront my young protégé about this unauthorized training session. It had to wait until Monday, when I next met with him to train chest and triceps.

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    Straight To The Point

    Unlike Randy, I didn't wait until the workout was underway before addressing any important issues.

    "So, how do your triceps feel, bucko?" I asked. Randy looked a little apprehensive right away, as if he knew I knew about the extra workout.

    "Fine."

    "Really, because my spy tells me you were training them on Saturday. Biceps too, I bet."

    "Oh yeah, that. I just wanted to specialize on my arms for a little while." Randy's arms were proportionate to the rest of his physique, but they were still only sixteen inches or so pumped. Luckily for him they hadn't sprouted to twenty inches or more in the past few months, or I probably would have killed him in a jealous rage. Oh well, at least that wouldn't have been as bad as IFBB Pro Troy Alves, whose arms taped out at over eighteen inches back in tenth grade when he only weighed 150 pounds. Talk about hitting the genetic lottery. At the rate I am going I would need to weigh 260 to have a 20-inch arm.

    Troy Alves At The 2009 Olympia. Troy Alves At The 2009 Olympia.
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    Troy Alves At The 2009 Olympia.
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    "Anything else you've been doing extra training for?" Randy had to think about this for a minute, because so far I was only aware of the arms. Anything else he told me would be new information. He must have realized that I only had his best interests in mind. He sighed.

    "Yeah, I do calves a couple more times a week at night at home on my staircase holding a dumbbell, and lately I have been coming in to do light back and chest days a couple days after we do them heavy." I covered my eyes with one hand and shook my head as he continued.

    "Look, you said John Parrillo always says there is no such thing as overtraining, only undereating and not sleeping enough. And I do eat and sleep plenty." He straightened up. God love him, I could see he actually thought he was off the hook.

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    "Don't be throwing Parrillo maxims at me, junior, I knew most of them while you were still dreaming about getting your first pube."

    "Is it true or isn't it?" he demanded to know. The kid had spunk.

    "What he really meant by that is that you can do a lot of sets and reps within a workout, or a pretty high volume, plus you should be able to use a lot of intensity techniques like drop sets and forced reps as long as you feed the body properly and give it rest."

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    Importance Of Recovery

    "Alright then, so what's wrong with what I'm doing?"

    "You're screwing up the rest and recovery part of the equation. Would you agree that we train pretty hard?"

    "I think so, sure."

    "Okay, well when you beat the crap out of a muscle, say the legs, with tons of sets of squats, leg presses, stiff-leg deadlifts, leg extensions, and leg curls, how long do you think it takes for them to recover?" Randy shrugged.

    "Though this is not an exact rule, for a trainer without the recovery-enhancing help of steroids, it's usually about five to seven days. Hit them again before then and in all likelihood you will keep them from growing bigger and stronger from the previous workout."

    I could see Randy was about to fire back a rebuttal by his smug expression.

    "Okay, but the arms are a smaller muscle group. Don't they recover faster, so you can train them more often?"

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    "Yes, but you seem to be forgetting something very important. Your biceps get worked when we train them directly with shoulders, but also very hard on back day. You don't think heavy deadlifts, barbell rows, and weighted chin-ups do a number on them?"

    "Yeah, I guess so."

    "And triceps we train not only on chest day with various extensions and dips and such, but they get whacked pretty hard on shoulder and chest days when we press. So whether you recognized it or not, your arms really were already being trained twice a week. You might be able to get away with adding another arm day as you have been for a little while, but eventually it would lead to overtraining and your arms would probably actually shrink a little." He shivered at the thought.

    "And as for chest and back, being so young you may be able to get away with a second light day every week, but I don't think you need it to be honest. As for your calves, if can't grow from working them hard twice a week, I seriously doubt another couple workouts are going to help you."


    Revisting Patience

    Randy looked glum. "Look," I told him. "I admire your enthusiasm and the fact that you are willing to work very hard to develop your physique. But sometimes you need to rein that enthusiasm in when it starts to impair other factors like your recovery."

    "I know, I just want to get big as soon as possible."

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    "Here we go with that again. I told you on the day you first came up to me that patience was going to be one of the hardest parts of bodybuilding. But I think you already understand that you can't rush a great physique. If you could, working out twelve hours a day every day and training every body part seven times a week would have you looking like Jay Cutler in a few months. But it just doesn't work that way." He had learned his lesson, or at least part of it.

    Jay Cutler At The 2009 Olympia. Jay Cutler At The 2009 Olympia.
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    Jay Cutler At The 2009 Olympia.
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    Conclusion

    In the next hour I was going to make him train his chest much harder than usual. It would be so sore he would be wondering if he tore a pec tomorrow when he woke up and could barely comb his hair. It would be tender to the touch for at least three or four days. Then we would see if he felt like adding another workout for it this week! Actually, it might be kind of fun to have him try to train it again on Wednesday, just two days away.

    When he experiences the pain and sense of futility in training a body part that hasn't recovered, this would all sink into his brain but good. I grinned to myself for being so clever as I watched him warm up on incline dumbbell presses. Randy was going to hate me at times over the coming months, but in the end he would be the Daniel-san to my Mr. Miyagi - the perfect student any instructor would be proud to call his own.