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Thread: Advice on Overtraining: Long Post.

  1. #1
    A Fortnight Dead
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    Advice on Overtraining: Long Post.

    I realize that many of you have read this already; I also realize that I've done this all before. Just consider me an idiot; please, I ask you, be patient with me. God knows I could use all the assistance I can get.

    I've cross-posted this in my journal; but I thought that I might as well post it here to get as much input as possible, particularly from those who've had similar problems with overtraining/undereating.

    First, read this: http://www.sportsci.org/encyc/drafts/Overtraining.doc.

    Every symptom I have -- from my abnormal blood work to my severe night sweats -- is found in that document. I'm overtrained. Badly.

    As for the rest of my situation, just read the post.

    First, an example. Why this doesn't convince me that what I'm eating now -- 1800-1900 calories -- is woefully insufficient, why this isn't proof enough for me, I have no idea. I'm just an idiot, I guess.

    Example::

    After my period of most drastic weight loss -- a time during which I went from a very lean, athletic 145 lbs to an emaciated 110 lbs in but three months -- this is what was necessary for me to regain my weight. Note that at this time I was far less active than I am now; note also that I had no muscle whatsoever; note finally that it wasn't until two months after I began eating as I'm about to describe that we discovered that my testosterone production had entirely ceased (I required test. supplementation.) So we have: 110 lbs, little activity (only ignorant and poorly-designed weightlifting three days a week), no muscle, and no testosterone. And this is what I ate.

    I remember the breakfasts my father rose early to cook for me, the ones he forced himself to eat as well -- he sacrificed his own fitness, his own leanness, that I might, by his example, gain weight myself. I remember the thick ham steaks (which my father, unbeknownst to me, surreptitiously coated in trans-fat free margarine before cooking -- to secretely increase, of course, the caloric content) fried in olive oil. I remember the heaping plates of crisp hashbrowns sodden with oil and drenched in ketchup. I remember the sides of margarined-toast topped with over-veryeasy eggs. I remember the 16oz mugs of soy milk and orange juice, the sweetened coffee, the sides of jam. Or he would fry thick pancakes (from batter thickened, again without my knowledge, with soy milk and extra eggs, with olive oil or cups of sugar) topped with the same trans-fat free margarine and oceans of syrup, served with eggs and toast and steaks and sausuages, with orange juice and soy milk. He cooked massive breakfasts, lumberjack breakfasts. And I ate them all. And I followed with a large snack three or four hours later, a large (800-1000 calorie)lunch, a large snack in the afternoon, a snack after those poorly-designed lifting sessions, a huge homecooked dinner (which my parents made damn sure I ate every bite of), and a snack before bed. All this, without activity, without muscle, without testosterone.

    And the weight didn't come back on. And then, agonizingly slowly, it did. A pound a month; two pounds a month. No more. And what little weight I gained was muscle. It took long, long months to see any weight gain at all; even at the end of six months, I had barely gained five or six pounds, to be honest.

    Compare that to the diet on which I've been starving myself now. Compare that to how screwed up I've become.

    Now, the evidence:

    Personal, Historical Evidence:

    1) I've always had a very fast metabolism -- I've always been extremely lean. Even when I was far less active than I am now, even when, at fifteen, I neither lifted nor trained regularly, I never exceeded 135-140 lbs, and I always had abs. Partly this was due to my allergies, of course; but even within the limitations imposed by my condition, I was always able to eat whatever I wanted, and as much as I wanted, without any consequences. And I did. I ate a ****load; I was always hungry. And then I went anorexic.

    2) After my drastic weight loss, when I was lifting stupidly, when I had no muscle, when I weighed a mere 110lbs, when I had no testosterone whatsoever, I could barely gain weight at an obscene caloric intake. This, of course, only further demonstrates my metabolic needs.

    General Scientific Evidence:

    1) Metabolic set points are highly resistant to change. Witness the seminal "overfeeding" studies on prison inmates; witness the difficulty any formerly-obese person has in keeping lost weight off. This is scientifically documented and well-established.

    2) Anorexic individuals typically require far greater caloric intakes to gain and maintain weight than would be predicted by their body weight alone. This too is well documented.

    3) Individuals in a severely overtrained state typically, upon refeeding, show rapid protein synthesis and minimal fat deposition. This is thought to be an adaptive mechanism to facilitate the recovery process in a time of exigency. This too is scientifically substantiated.

    Current Situation/Evidence:

    1) I'm at an unhealthfully low BF% -- tested at 5% -- and I show every symptom of severe overtraining -- immune suppression, some anemia, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, lethargy, depression, fatigue, malaise, rapidly-decreasing gym performance, a constant feeling of "flatness," no appetite, digestive difficulties, weight loss, etc... I'm in a state well-described by points 2 and 3 in the scientific evidence. I'm sickly ripped.

    2) I'm far, far more active than I've ever been in the past. I lift HEAVILY, typically to and past failure, four days per week; I have very high testosterone levels now, thanks to the necessary exogenous supplementation; I have far more muscle, relative to my low weight, than I did at any previous point in my history; I have to walk, while carrying a heavy backpack, upwards of one hour each day, and often as much as two; I have to do alot of biking; and I've been doing two hard HIIT sessions per week to boot. I always fidget; I rarely sit. Compare these activity levels to those in my past, those I evinced in times when I ate FAR MORE than I do now.

    When you examine all of these factors together, from my metabolic history to my current activity levels, you get an idea of just how much I need to be eating. For god's sake, after my drastic weight loss, look at how much I needed to eat to gain weight -- and I weigh more now, have more muscle now, have twenty times more testosterone now, have ten times higher activity levels now, etc... My daily diet now is less, I think, than my breakfasts were then!

    Okay, that's that. I hope today will be better. I feel a plan forming; it's yet nascent, yet ill-defined, but I'm working on it. I'm going to try to take some time off, to take a step back. I need to. I'm working myself into the ground. I haven't taken any time for myself in ages; all I've been doing is lifting and walking and HIITing and working and studying and going to and from class etc...

    Okay, that's that. Now, I'm going to cut out HIIT, obviously; but I'd like to try to keep lifting. Is this wise? What else should I do? Any ideas at all? As for diet, I have two main problems (aside from allergies):

    1) No appetite at all / digestive difficulties.

    2) The overall tiredness/malaise/lethargy/depression caused by the overtraining -- I simply have no desire to eat, no sense of what I want to eat, etc...

    Would I be better off to try and slowly increase my caloric intake, still calculating and regimenting it, or to just force myself to eat everything in sight, without thought of carbohydrate/protein/fat breakdowns, percentages/etc... (assuming, of course: A) sufficient protein intake; and B) within the severe limitations imposed by my allergies.) Based on the evidence I presented, what should I be aiming for? 3000? 4000? The post-weight loss experience seems to indicate I need a hell of a lot to gain weight.

    Any thoughts/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

    And please, bear with me. I know I'm an idiot. Just know that, for once, I truly am committed to change -- I hit rock bottom not too long ago (see my journal for details) and I'm done with the obsessions that were my life. It's just a slow process to change old habits, you know?
    "human kind/
    Cannot bear very much reality/
    Time past and time future/
    What might have been and what has been / Point to one end, which is always present."

    -T.S. Eliot. "Four Quartets."

    "Redistribution [of wealth] is in effect far less a redistribution of free income from the richer to the poorer, as we [had] imagined, than a redistribution of power from the individual to the State."
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator RBB's Avatar
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    i'd say slowly work your way up to more calories v. and definitely take at least 2 weeks, possibly more, off of lifting. work up to the 3000-4000 range at a comfortable pace. no use in stuffing yourself until you feel nauteous.

    your post implies you're on some gear right now. so i wouldn't really worry about gaining much fat or losing too much muscle from not working out, if that's part of the problem. i've had a few friends that have had problems similar to yours, and the only real advice i can give you is that bodybuilding isn't the most important thing in life man. don't take it too seriously, and learn to have fun with it. if you don't think you can get back on track by yourself, then go talk to a professional about it.

    and on a side note, i'm cutting right now. reading about your dad's breakfasts was absolutely torture...you bastard. but seriously, best of luck to you, bro.

  3. #3
    A Fortnight Dead
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    It's not gear, per se -- it's simply that I don't produce my own testosterone, and so I must take supplementation.

    I'm back on track in every other aspect of my life, actually. All that's left is this issue. Which, admittedly, isn't a small one.
    "human kind/
    Cannot bear very much reality/
    Time past and time future/
    What might have been and what has been / Point to one end, which is always present."

    -T.S. Eliot. "Four Quartets."

    "Redistribution [of wealth] is in effect far less a redistribution of free income from the richer to the poorer, as we [had] imagined, than a redistribution of power from the individual to the State."
    -Jouvenal

    Fear me, I am the bandersnatch.
    -Paul Stagg

  4. #4
    zen idiot Scott S's Avatar
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    I'm thinking an old-school "softening up" program is in order. One set of squats, one or two each of bench and rows, and maybe something for shoulders, done twice a week. And enough food so that you put on noticeable fat, in addition to whatever muscle you gain.

  5. #5
    As I Am Paul Stagg's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if this has been asked before, although I assume so - has your thyroid been checked?

    I agree with Scott. Old school KTP workouts. Insane amounts of calorie dense food.

    Eat so much you scare the children.

    Short term - take a week or two off from the gym and HIIT, and just start working on the eating.
    Squats work better than supplements.
    "You know, if I thought like that, I'd never put more than one plate on the bar for anything, I'd never use bands or chains, I'd never squat to parallel or below, and I'd never let out the slightest grunt when I lift. At some point in your lifting career (assuming you're planning on getting reasonably strong and big), you're going to have to accept that most people think you are some kind of freak." -Sensei
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  6. #6
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    I agree with Scott in that you should weight train, but only compound movements and a couple of times/week, minimal sets. The eating will probably be your biggest problem. Try to eat as much as possible, and hopefully this amount will gradually increase over time. If the thought of eating currently disgusts you it's not like you're going to be able to eat 4K cals right off the bat.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Manveet's Avatar
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    I'm gonna go against the prevailing advice.

    You said that you are over-trained. Why not take a break from lifting? (including HIIT). Basically just do a 14 day strategic deconditioning. I would keep calories at maintainence during this time frame as well. With the symptoms you are currently experiencing, I don't see why you would continue to lift.
    "It is often said, mainly by the "no-contests", that although there is no positive evidence for the existence of God, nor is there evidence against his existence. So it is best to keep an open mind and be agnostic. At first sight that seems an unassailable position, at least in the weak sense of Pascal's wager. But on second thought it seems a cop-out, because the same could be said of Father Christmas and tooth fairies. There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can't prove that there aren't any, so shouldn't we be agnostic with respect to fairies?"

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    "Out of all of the sects in the world, we notice an uncanny coincidence: the overwhelming majority just happen to choose the one that their parents belong to. Not the sect that has the best evidence in its favour, the best miracles, the best moral code, the best cathedral, the best stained glass, the best music: when it comes to choosing from the smorgasbord of available religions, their potential virtues seem to count for nothing, compared to the matter of heredity. This is an unmistakable fact; nobody could seriously deny it. Yet people with full knowledge of the arbitrary nature of this heredity, somehow manage to go on believing in their religion, often with such fanaticism that they are prepared to murder people who follow a different one."


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  8. #8
    zen idiot Scott S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manveet
    Why not take a break from lifting?
    Because that would make too much sense.

  9. #9
    A Fortnight Dead
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    Thanks so much for the input, all of you.

    I cut out the HIIT today, and I admit that it wasn't easy for me to do.

    I just wish my living arrangements weren't such that I needed to walk so much. Today, for instance, I probably walked in excess of one and a half hours. With a backpack. Ugh.

    My diet today was still insufficient -- the fact that my appetite is to a greater and greater extent nonexistent, coupled with the fact that my stomach doesn't seem to handle the food I eat that well, makes it difficult.

    I'm hoping that tomorrow will be better.

    I don't know if I can cut out lifting entirely at this point -- psychologically, I think I need the catharsis right now, what with the stress I'm under. But i'm definitely going to try to reduce volume.

    My main problem is obviously the diet. That's really what's caused me to so deeply overtrain.
    "human kind/
    Cannot bear very much reality/
    Time past and time future/
    What might have been and what has been / Point to one end, which is always present."

    -T.S. Eliot. "Four Quartets."

    "Redistribution [of wealth] is in effect far less a redistribution of free income from the richer to the poorer, as we [had] imagined, than a redistribution of power from the individual to the State."
    -Jouvenal

    Fear me, I am the bandersnatch.
    -Paul Stagg

  10. #10
    A Fortnight Dead
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    By the way, what were your thoughts on the article? I found it rather disturbing -- and not just because I demonstrated nearly every symptom contained therein.

    When even your BLOOD WORK, for God's Sake, shows signs of overtraining/undereating -- abnormally low white blood cell counts, low platelet counts, low hemoglobin, RBC, and hematocrit counts (in essence: anemia even when taking vit. B supplements and an iron-containing multivitamin) -- you know something's wrong.

    As for the diet issue: I suppose it would help if I were to be more precise in explaining my difficulties. Not only do I have no appetite, per se, but also I find that I'm struggling with a feeling of bloating/gas, particularly toward the evening. I have largely cut out all sugar-free gums, syrups, etc... -- anything that contains sugar alcohols, in essence -- and cannot think of anything in my diet that would cause such difficulties. Anyone experienced similar symptoms when undereating? Any advice on how to proceed?
    "human kind/
    Cannot bear very much reality/
    Time past and time future/
    What might have been and what has been / Point to one end, which is always present."

    -T.S. Eliot. "Four Quartets."

    "Redistribution [of wealth] is in effect far less a redistribution of free income from the richer to the poorer, as we [had] imagined, than a redistribution of power from the individual to the State."
    -Jouvenal

    Fear me, I am the bandersnatch.
    -Paul Stagg

  11. #11
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    Just figure out what foods you really like and eat as much as you can of them, without worrying about health concerns for now. Maybe try getting in a protien shake or two as well, once you start putting weight on, then you can try to fine tune your diet

  12. #12
    A Fortnight Dead
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    That's going to be problematic, I think -- I've long since lost the ability to discern what foods I "like" and what foods I don't "like." That's what happens, unfortunately, when you spend four long years obsessing over every aspect of diet.

    I'm going to try to take small steps. I just need to break this vicious cycle: my digestive difficulties are caused, I think, by overtraining and undereating, and so to solve them I must eat more; but because of the difficulties I want to eat less, which will only worsen them.

    I probably should start slowly, I guess.
    "human kind/
    Cannot bear very much reality/
    Time past and time future/
    What might have been and what has been / Point to one end, which is always present."

    -T.S. Eliot. "Four Quartets."

    "Redistribution [of wealth] is in effect far less a redistribution of free income from the richer to the poorer, as we [had] imagined, than a redistribution of power from the individual to the State."
    -Jouvenal

    Fear me, I am the bandersnatch.
    -Paul Stagg

  13. #13
    Wannabebig Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by _-_v_-_
    , but also I find that I'm struggling with a feeling of bloating/gas, particularly toward the evening. I have largely cut out all sugar-free gums, syrups, etc... -- anything that contains sugar alcohols, in essence -- and cannot think of anything in my diet that would cause such difficulties. Anyone experienced similar symptoms when undereating? Any advice on how to proceed?
    I am not a doctor, nor do I understand the problems with over or undertraining, but bloating / gas can be related to IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, which I had. I can be caused by stress, which was my problem, and Also while before I could eat everything in site, I have found myself to possibly becomming lactose intollerent. I cut out cheeses and milk and my problem went away. I reintroduced cheeses and I was fine. I found after drinking weight gainer with milk I had a problem, but drinking it with water I am fine. Soo, I think milk affects me and I have stopped drinking it in large quantities, and mix my weight gainer with water and jsut a LITTLE milk.

    Read up on IBS, stop the dairy products (known to cause ibs in most, and elimination often causes relief), make a diary of your day including what you ate, and your stress level. It might take you some time to figure out what is causing it, but most recover from IBS by simply eating te correct food (eliminate the problem food). Read up and if you think IBS may be the problem I would start by eliminating dairy and alcohol. Then re-introduce one specific food at a time to figure out what the problem food is. You have to stop stressing as well. Stress will cause these symptoms as well.

    I jacked with this for a year until i figured out it was milk. So KEEP A LOG (don't just say oh I feel good today and then forget what you did) and watch it come back.

    I hope this helps. MODERATION! write this on something you see all day to remind yourself of this.
    Last edited by aodwolfpack; 07-30-2004 at 11:49 PM.

  14. #14
    Wannabebig Member
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    Hi fat (good) diet

    Hi all,

    I just found this thread and it is very interesting. Two days ago I met with a nutritionist. She had a very extensive list of my blood work that an endocrinologist had run a few weeks back. Long story short, I have hypothyroidism. I thought my meds were off since I put on about 10 pounds in the span of 6 months with extreme exercising and dieting. I weight train with a trainer 2-3 times a week and have an interval training program for cardio which I do 5-6 days per week.

    My weight was not budging even with all this exercise and a restricted diet. The nutritionist did extensive paperwork with loads of questions and viewed my extensive blood work.

    The results: I have an eating disorder! I have been consuming under or sometimes about 1000 calories a day. One food diary entry showed me at 670 calories for the day. I had no idea I was that warped! My periods have been irregular for years and while at times my weight dropped, more recently it has just seemed to increase despite MORE exercise. I am 5'6" and my "normal" healthy happy weight is about 128-133, so I am not trying to be some stick figure! Right now I believe I weight 143-145-my highest weight ever! (I won't even get on a scale so that is just a guess and first doctor I saw I accidentally saw my weight!) None of my clothing fits and I feel terrible about myself.

    She has put me on a 1300 calorie a day diet, which includes supplements of omega 3 oils, flax seeds, "ionic" something or other, vitamin D, etc. She wants me to eat avacados, some fruits and a lot of protein and veggies (and some goat cheese). No Soy, Eggs, Dairy, Gluten, Sugar, Wheat! It is 50% Oils and fats, 30% proteins, and 20% carbs.

    The first day I failed and did not eat enough (she has me send in food logs daily). I am trying today but I feel SO scared! Will I get fat? Does this diet seem insane? Of course, the fats she is having me eat are "healthy" fats, no french fries or anything.

    I need to get healthy and I really want to loose this 10-15 pounds. I hate it on my figure but can eating more and eating fats help me LOOSE weight?

    Please, can ANYONE tell me if I sound totally messed up and/or if this is an appropriate diet to help heal my body? Could I have really starved my body FAT?

    (BTW-I had a high level resting metobolic test done called New Leaf which showed my metabolism to be 1360!)

    Thanks so much for your help,

    Gina

  15. #15
    Moderator joey54's Avatar
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    You were diagnosed with an eating disorder, are you receving any psychiatric treatment for this condition? It sounds like this has to be the number 1 thing addressed right now.


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  16. #16
    Senior Member OGROK's Avatar
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    You need to stop whining about your mental disorders and do two things:

    1. Eat twice as much as you are eating now.

    2. Train brutally hard 4-5 days a week.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
    Lifting Clips: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=johnnymnemonic2
    Blog: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/

  18. #18
    I wannabebig!
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    i think the op might have found the answers a few years ago

  19. #19
    Senior Member Vegetarian's Avatar
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    I found that link to be very informative, a must-read for everyone!
    5' 11" 155lbs. 13% BF - 10/20/2008
    Goal - 180lbs, 10% BF

    11/14/08
    162lbs 11-12% BF


    12/29/08
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