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jmccown
05-05-2009, 01:07 PM
I found the following excerpt on the net about overtraining and I never knew about the body producing cortisol. What exactly is cortisol and what does it have an effect on say powerlifting vs. bodybuilding. Reason I ask is that I have hit a wall and for the first time in 6 months I am getting weaker than getting stronger. My bodyweight is going up, yet I cannot press as much and my reps have dropped. I train 4 times a week - 1 ME bench and squat day (variation), 1 DE bench and squat (variation), 1 day deadlift/back/shoulders, 1 day focused on arms - tri's, bi's and forearms. I think I may be training too much but I am the type that doesn't like to lay off a day from working out. I usually take Wednesday, Sat. & Sun off and it drives me nuts not doing anything on those days.

"How do you know if you're overtraining? If you follow a high-calorie diet that includes at least a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day and you still fail to grow, chances are you're overtraining. Training too frequently or performing too many sets in each training session will cause cortisol to run rampant. That, in turn, lowers testosterone, keeping you from packing on the mass you're trying to build. It may be hard to accept, but you need to schedule more rest days and back off on the total number of sets performed for each bodypart. If you do this, you'll begin to notice gains in mass and improved recovery as a result of lower cortisol!

Sean S
05-05-2009, 01:45 PM
The word "overtraining" is thrown around way too much. Very few people ever reach true overtraining.
In my opinion your program appears to be the problem. It looks to me like you're trying to compress a 4-day Westside template into two days and add two additional days of training. This would not be an optimal program for most people. You also sound borderline compulsive about training. Do you want to train just for the sake of training or do you want to train in a way that gets the best results? It sounds to me like a structured template like Westside or 5/3/1 would be good for you since it would keep you from freelancing and trying to do too much.
Also, don't get too caught up in things like cortisol levels and such unless you want to be a research scientist. If you train and eat correctly all that will take care of itself.

Lones Green
05-05-2009, 01:46 PM
Yeah, you aren't overtraining, thats for sure. Try following the standard westside template and eating a lot. Your lifts will shoot right up.

jmccown
05-05-2009, 02:14 PM
Well that's just it, I eat like a mad man, I have gained weight but am getting weaker on my lifts. I can't for the life seem to add any lean mass either. I didn't mean to try to sound like I was getting stirred up about cortisol, just that I'd never heard of it and wanted to inquire about how it affects us and what we do. I have not taken a week off in over 6 months and I am scared to death I am getting weaker. For example my raw bench has gone from 430 @ 228 about 4 months ago to where I struggled with 405 last night @ 245. My 2 board has gone from 485 down to 455. I'm just looking for logic as to what is going on. Each workout session takes me about 1.5 hrs on avg. with no standing around wasting time. I do alot of accessory work that I didn't list above.

samadhi_smiles
05-05-2009, 02:36 PM
Yeah, you aren't overtraining, thats for sure. Try following the standard westside template and eating a lot. Your lifts will shoot right up.

how can you say that without knowing his diet? Overtraining is relative to how much calories you are consuming. If you are consuming less calories then you will not be able to compensate/grow as much as somebody consuming more (and thus should lower the stimulus or raise your caloric intake). That's just common sense, bro.

MarcusWild
05-05-2009, 02:41 PM
So you squat twice a week and deadlift once a week all on separate days? That'll burn you out fast. I honestly don't know anyone that could handle training like that unless they are a beginner.

jmccown
05-05-2009, 02:48 PM
yes and since I am being honest with you guys I'll occasionally squat on Saturday too, so some weeks I'll squat 3x a week. But I have not seen a decrease in my squats, they seem to be getting better. On any given day I consume at least 200g of protein. I rarely ever eat junk food. Just started last week supplementing with creatine, but prior to that I was only supplementing with protein and solid foods.

I don't consider myself a beginner. I have quite a bit of exp in lifting (~15 years) but have been PL'ing for last 2 years with intense training. Prior to this I'd just call it leisure lifting.

mike95763
05-05-2009, 03:43 PM
Squatting 3x a week may not kill your squats, but I know that when I train squats and deads too much it absolutely kills my bench. I used to separate my ME squat and deadlift into two days and while I was doing that my squats and deads improved some, but my bench stalled and even went backwards. I would slow down on the squats and combine your squat and deadlift workout so you have a more traditional westside approach. Limiting your squat workout to one heavy day a week and one light speed day if will probably help not only your squats but really help your bench as well.

Sean S
05-05-2009, 04:26 PM
So you squat twice a week and deadlift once a week all on separate days? That'll burn you out fast. I honestly don't know anyone that could handle training like that unless they are a beginner.

Exactly. It doesn't matter how good your diet is, there is only a finite amount of work you can do and still make progress. You're squatting 2-3x/week and deadlifting once a week all on separate days and bench 2x/week and doing a separate shoulder day as well. Plus all the accessory work you didn't list. I also don't know anyone that could handle that kind of training.
Get your program in order and you will start making progess again.

samadhi_smiles
05-05-2009, 04:54 PM
It would probably help people here give you advice to give your total weight, bodyfat percent, and average daily caloric intake (whether thats maintenance or over maintenance, etc).

Just out of curiosity why do you think you have elevated cortisol levels? Have you gotten tested (you can and should get tested for T levels, estrogen, LH, FSH, DHT, IGF, GH, cortisol, etc). You might just have low Test levels (that can be remedied :thumbup:).

There are cortisol blocking drugs also. That would mean you're not natural anymore though but who gives a fuuuuuuuuuu.ck about that anyways? :evillaugh:

jmccown
05-05-2009, 05:33 PM
I was tested a year ago and my test levels were around 400, pretty low for a 28 year old guy I think. I prefer to stay natural. Gonna try a new routine and see where it takes me. I took the day off today :(

KarstenDD
05-05-2009, 05:48 PM
You are not overtraining.

WillNoble
05-05-2009, 05:58 PM
You are not overtraining.

this

samadhi_smiles
05-05-2009, 05:59 PM
again, ya'll sound like idiots claiming he's not overtraining without knowing his diet/caloric intake.

KarstenDD
05-05-2009, 06:01 PM
again, ya'll sound like idiots claiming he's not overtraining without knowing his diet/caloric intake.

Mr. jmccown, how long have you been training seriously?

WillNoble
05-05-2009, 06:07 PM
again, ya'll sound like idiots claiming he's not overtraining without knowing his diet/caloric intake.

his diet and caloric intake have nothing to do with overtraining, You all (well, just you) are mistaken in your definition of what overtraining is and is not.

The lack of the body to completely recover from workouts, mostly due to inappropriate periodization of training is the culprit in 99.8% of "Overtraining" issues, not diet

vdizenzo
05-05-2009, 06:08 PM
again, ya'll sound like idiots claiming he's not overtraining without knowing his diet/caloric intake.

We idiots know the difference between overtraining and a bad program. His is a bad program.

samadhi_smiles
05-05-2009, 06:34 PM
lol vin :)

people throw the term overtraining around way too often. Somebody that is truly overtrained will hardly be able to get out of bed. What people call overtraining mostly on the internet I suspect is simply undereating.

this dude might be eating 3k calories a day or something and be trying to do what he's doing. Thats not gonna happen I don't care who you are or what your bodyweight is. That sort of damage just isn't going to be repaired with little bit of calories.

but carry on with your speculation and guess-work. Good job team :thumbup:

WillNoble
05-05-2009, 06:36 PM
lol vin :)

people throw the term overtraining around way too often. Somebody that is truly overtrained will hardly be able to get out of bed. What people call overtraining mostly on the internet I suspect is simply undereating.

this dude might be eating 3k calories a day or something and be trying to do what he's doing. Thats not gonna happen I don't care who you are or what your bodyweight is. That sort of damage just isn't going to be repaired with little bit of calories.

but carry on with your speculation and guess-work. Good job team :thumbup:

Dont you have 37 posts you should be making in the AAS section?

samadhi_smiles
05-05-2009, 06:40 PM
don't you have some moderating to be doing. look there's an offtopic post in this thread #19!

go to it bro!

WillNoble
05-05-2009, 06:55 PM
Awwww the little man is upset...

Whats wrong pumpkin, not enough kids to sell LSD to today???

samadhi_smiles
05-05-2009, 06:59 PM
lmao you're still holding onto that aren't you :D

and I'm not upset I'm just laughing at ya'll making your stabs in the dark

Sean S
05-05-2009, 07:12 PM
So he should continue with a really bad program and training schedule and simply try to eat more? I don't care how much you eat, if your programming sucks you're going to have problems.
How about fixing the program first and see what happens before we micro-manage his diet. If he gets on a better program for a while and is still struggling, then diet can be examined more closely.

WillNoble
05-05-2009, 07:14 PM
So he should continue with a really bad program and training schedule and simply try to eat more? I don't care how much you eat, if your programming sucks you're going to have problems.
How about fixing the program first and see what happens before we micro-manage his diet. If he gets on a better program for a while and is still struggling, then diet can be examined more closely.

best post in the thread

jmccown
05-05-2009, 07:14 PM
so I've established that I need a new program, but what exactly is cortisol. Is it something produced in the body that blocks muscle growth/repair?

WillNoble
05-05-2009, 07:14 PM
so I've established that I need a new program, but what exactly is cortisol. Is it something produced in the body that blocks muscle growth/repair?

www.google.com

www.wikipedia.org

jbrin0tk
05-05-2009, 07:19 PM
how can you say that without knowing his diet? Overtraining is relative to how much calories you are consuming. If you are consuming less calories then you will not be able to compensate/grow as much as somebody consuming more (and thus should lower the stimulus or raise your caloric intake). That's just common sense, bro.



Ummm, what?

WillNoble
05-05-2009, 07:21 PM
Ummm, what?

I think thats what we all were thinking

Sean S
05-05-2009, 08:04 PM
so I've established that I need a new program, but what exactly is cortisol. Is it something produced in the body that blocks muscle growth/repair?

It's simply a glucocortcoid hormone released by the adrenal glands. We all have baseline secretion and it is increased acutely in response to stressors. This is normal and may even be necessary to initiate the inflammation and repair response. Chronically high levels may be problematic, but again this isn't something I would concern myself with.
Follow a reasonable training program and don't get stressed out about everything and you'll be fine.

Auburn
05-05-2009, 08:25 PM
It's simply a glucocortcoid hormone released by the adrenal glands. We all have baseline secretion and it is increased acutely in response to stressors. This is normal and may even be necessary to initiate the inflammation and repair response.

It's certainly part of a hormetic response, but it's not required for the inflammatory response. Cortisol is an anti-inflammatory hormone, and is released in response to the the inflammation.

JK1
05-06-2009, 12:23 AM
Wow, this thread...

I personally think overtraining is a very real phenomenon that can occur---but its also a term that is used WAAAYYY to damned much because of the overuse/excuse use that you see in bodybuilding rags. I've seen lack of food and program change mentioned, but there are two HUGE factors that haven't been mentioned. Lack of rest/poor quality rest and external stressors.

Stress can have a cumulative effect on the body--primarily as a result of changes in glycogen levels/glucose depletion/energy depletion and the effects on multiple hormones, predominately testosterone. An individual can be chronically stressed with very little to do with actual physical activity. For example, finals when I was in school or worse yet, when I was doing my internship and went for weeks on end working double shifts with no sleep. I tried to train at that time, but lets face it, physically, I wasn't worth a **** because my brain was shot. It didn't keep me out from under a barbell, but I didn't see drammatic gains either.

You must consider these factors if you are thinking you are overtrained/overtraining:
1) overall condition of the individual--theres a night and day difference between a deconditioned couch potato, a SHW powerlifter, and a 220 lb college football player.
2) program being utilized including deload and recovery work
3) diet
4) sleep---quality and quantity.
5) external stressors.

Cortisol is the current "stress" hormon hot topic. Personally, I think it has a factor, but individuals who truely have an excess of cortisol have Cushings disease. They will have the clinical signs of Cushings disease. That's something that is never mentioned on latenight infomertials.

Also, the initial response ot stress will be release of epinephrine---ie fight or flight. Epinephrine leads to breakdown of stored glycogen---to provide energy for the "fight" or "the flight". This glycogen depletion can lead to the "rundown/beat up" feeling that is so commonly stated as a symptom of overtraining. This is part of the cumulative effects. Cortisol causes gluconeogenesis, but it doesn't really come into play until after epinephrine has its effects.

Stress can also also cause a suppression of endogenous testosterone. Chronic stress will decrease FSH levels which leads to decreased levels of testosterone---this can go so far as suppressed morning levels who have intense workouts the evening before (sorry I can't remember the reference for this one, but i think its a very importan one that looked at the effects of evening workouts on AM testosterone levels in men). Clinical signs of hypogonadism are very similar to whats so often stated as "overtraining".

I personally think if someone is feeling chronically "over trained" they need to sit down with a piece of paper and objectively write out thier program, list what they are feeling, list sleep time and quality, list diet, including grams of protein, timing and quality of carbs, any additional substances being taken, and list any external stressors (job, girlfriend, kids, parents, etc). Once thats been done, that list needs to be looked at carefully and objectively with plans made to correct deficiencies. If problems can't be identified, ask someone else with training knowledge to look at your information. They may see something that you are missing. If that doesn't fix the problem, then a complete physical examination, blood work and a hormone profile (CBC, Chem profile, Total and free Testosterone, TSH etc) are indicated. Underlying disease needs to be ruled out.


Just my 2 cents worth on the topic.

jmccown
05-06-2009, 09:35 AM
OK, my questions have been answered we can let this thread die now before it's gets twisted again.