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Thread: Overtraining GPP?

  1. #1
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    Overtraining GPP?

    I feel dumb for not knowing the answer to this, but I'm kind of stuck here. I've been doing a crossfit-esque type training routine for about a month now, doing things like: car pushing, freeweights (heavy some days, 'dynamic effort' style other days), circuit training, olympic lifts, boxing, etc.

    It's been a great variety, but the thing about doing new stuff each session means that I am constantly sore. Now, I don't mind (well I know it's just a part of the game) being sore all of the time. What I'm worried about is overtraining at the worst, or just having slow/low gains. I'm worried because I feel that if I'm still damn sore when I'm training (for instance, I want to do dl's today, but my back/lats are sore from pullups yesterday), then I won't be making gains, since I'm not leaving my muscles enough time to recuperate properly. The alternative is to wait until they're barely sore, but then the time between sessions is unacceptably long. I feel like if I go light I won't progress, and if I keep going at the rate I'm going now I may be blunting my progress.


    Calories are decent (~3K; i'm 155lbs, ~7%bf, 5'7''), taking vitamins, high protein intake, creatine, all the usual stuff. I'm pretty sure my diet is at the point of diminishing returns, and that I can't really do a whole lot more with it.

    I guess I'm just asking this: If the muscle is still decently sore, will doing lifts that use it (not directly, for instance today's concern is my lats are sore, but I want to deadlift) sabotage the gains?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    A couple of points ...

    Don't accept being sore all the time as "part of the game." You're doing this to increase your ability to function in life and sport and if your training is interfering with that, then you may need to make adjustments.

    - you may be working above your current work capacity. If so, scale back and slowly build up.
    - your diet may not be as good as you think. Protein is important, but so are fats, carbs, micronutrients, and water.
    - how much sleep do you get?
    - what type of other activities do you perform? What do you do for work, etc.?
    - any added stress at the moment (school, work, home, wife, kids, etc)?
    - etc.

    All of the above will affect your ability to recover. Don't get me wrong, you're going to get sore once in awhile, but you can definitely minimize it.

    (mandatory plug for ETS - seriously, this stuff is gold)

    ********************

    Anyway, to answer your questions.

    1) being sore may slow down your ability to gain strength/size if it is holding you back from giving 100% in the gym. If it is not and your diet is spot on, you should be fine - plenty of people suffer through being sore after every leg workout and still progress.

    2) Sore lats shouldn't affect your deadlift too much. Go for it.
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    Anthony, are you never sore? Only on occasion? I swear, no matter how light I feel like I'm going, I still get sore. Maybe I just have a strong response to training in terms of soreness? I'm not so sore I can't walk, but I notice it constantly during the day.

    I didn't want to elaborate upon nutrition, but let me spill some more details so we can see if that is a problem. I eat enough to get my calories down, typically calorie dense stuff meaning I don't get as many vegetables as I'd like to. However, the calories are there, fats are definitely there, and carbs are there. I get fats from bad sources (ice cream, remember I'm a skinny bastard) like creamer, decent sources like peanut butter (of which I consume a ton), and great sources like flax and fish oil. Protein is probably at least 50%, likely 70%, from protein powder/mrp's/milk. I drink about 5 gallons a week of 1 or 2% milk. Calories hit roughly 3K daily, I don't count on a daily basis, but know I'm pretty much on point (used to count regularly so now I can kind of feel it, maybe I should start logging again as much of a pita as that is).

    other nutrients
    vitamins, 1 daily (serving is 2 pills)
    fish oil pills, maybe 1-8 daily depending how frequently i'm in the house
    creatine
    and a host of overpriced sports supplements that I won't even bother posting because I'm sure they're almost totally useless, but I pay practically nothing so it's straight.
    Weight gainer
    whey powder

    Now that you mention it, water may be a little low. I'd estimate I drink maybe 60-80 ounces a day (NOT including all liquids, I'm talking just water. I drink a ton if you factor in all the gatorade and water used in protein shakes. would you count that?)

    Other things in my life, well I manage a retail store so I'm on my feet for at least 40 hours a week. Stress? Well, yeah, but aren't we all? I don't think I have any unusual stress, nothing of a magnitude that people here aren't likely going through.

    Sleep definitely could use some work, I think. I have major insomnia issues. However, I do get a solid amount of total hours, but it is on my couch, and is usually fragmented (typically sleep about 6 hours on the couch, then 2 in bed). I cannot fall asleep without television in the background unless I pill myself out hard, which kills my sleep quality. Even with the television, i typically need sleep aids, which are typically clonazepam/klonapin and/or melatonin. Sometimes valerian. I've been shying from clonazepam because I read that it can increase stage 1 sleep at the expense of rem/stage 4. I don't really know how to approach the sleep thing, it's basically either take pills to get enough hours, or go without and get maybe 5 or 6 hours. Oh and the television turns off when i fall asleep (I time it to turn off, i guess it probably goes off within half an hour - 1 hour of me falling asleep. I'm sure the combination of a small couch and fragmented sleep could be a factor here. Is that a likely cause of this problem?

    Oh, and yes ETS is bomb. I'm actually saving to buy a sizable investment right now, so ETS is way way out of my budget. Plus I think i have somethign wrong that i'm not addressing, and just using ETS to patch over it probably isn't the greatest idea anyways, though I'm sure it would give me relief (actually i know it would, just want to find why this is happening in the first place)
    Last edited by jdeity; 09-19-2006 at 12:45 PM.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    I'm almost never sore. My girlfriend (same routine) is almost never sore. When we do get sore, it's usually due to something we know is "excessive" or our diet/sleep is off.

    I DEFINITELY think your sleep situation is a huge factor in your recovery. Get that sorted ASAP. See someone who isn't going to push pills, maybe even a sleep clinic.
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    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Variation is important to force your body to adapt to new stimuli, but if you never do anything long enough to give your body time to adapt, you will be constantly sore and never make much progress in any given training mode.

    There is such a thing as too much variety.
    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
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    There is a such thing as too much variety? Do you deem crossfit to be such a method? If not, how much more varied can you feasibly get?
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    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdeity
    There is a such thing as too much variety? Do you deem crossfit to be such a method? If not, how much more varied can you feasibly get?
    I've never done XFit except for one WoD (Linda?), so I can't really speak to it with any kind of authority at all. But, apparently, the WoDs are periodized/structured - probably hard to tell looking at a microcycle, but I'm guessing it would be easier to see if you were looking at a month or two of training.

    My guess is that if you stuck w. XFit for a couple months (making adjustments where necessary), you would not be perpetually sore.
    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/

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    okay, so you shouldn't even be concerned about excessive soreness until a couple months on the same routine? I guess i thought the body would have acclimated way sooner than that.
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    Sensei?

    Should I be okay and deal with soreness for 2 whole months before worrying about anything else?
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    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdeity
    Sensei?

    Should I be okay and deal with soreness for 2 whole months before worrying about anything else?
    No - excessive and prolonged soreness is not good. Take Anthony's advice and scale back the workouts, look at other stressors in your life, and try to improve your diet and other means of recovery.
    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/

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    cool, will do.

    I think i'm going to try to swap out some of the heavier strength stuff for more cardio stuff, and then slowly start swapping back to the mix i like.
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    Iced Earth - Stormrider ArchAngel777's Avatar
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    Anthony,

    When I typically work out, I give it everything I have, or at the very least 95%... Do you consider this bad? I know I am sore for a few days always... I do about two workouts a week currently and put in max effort on them. I basically wait until I am not sore any longer and everything feels top notch before moving on to the next workout. So far so good, but I am just curious, because you have more experience than I do.
    Last edited by ArchAngel777; 09-20-2006 at 06:51 PM.

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    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    Arch,

    If you're making progress in areas that are important to you and you can live with being sore, then there's not much to say. Keep doing what you're doing!

    But ... do I think you could make the same progress with minimized soreness? Absolutely.

    You mentioned you give 95-100% effort when you train. Percentage of what? 1RM? Heart rate? If you went to the gym and did 8 singles for squats and set a 5lbs PR and did NOTHING else, would you be sore the next day? Probably not. So why do you get sore?

    More than likely it's a combination of:

    1) doing more than you need to make progress (diminishing returns)
    2) not having an ideal recovery situation (rest, sleep, diet, water, active recovery, etc).

    Some stuff is easy to fix. Crappy diet? Eat better. Poor sleep habits? Sleep more/better. Other stuff is more difficult, like what you do for work, family obligations, team sports, etc. You'll have to take everything into consideration and adjust your intensity/volume to accomodate your situation.

    That's not to say you're stuck at the same level forever. Over the past year I've increased my work capacity by leaps and bounds I never thought possible. It just takes time and a willingness to pay attention to everything that's going on in your life.
    Last edited by Anthony; 09-21-2006 at 06:30 AM.
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    Iced Earth - Stormrider ArchAngel777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony
    Arch,

    If you're making progress in areas that are important to you and you can live with being sore, then there's not much to say. Keep doing what you're doing!

    But ... do I think you could make the same progress with minimized soreness? Absolutely.

    You mentioned you give 95-100% effort when you train. Percentage of what? 1RM? Heart rate? If you went to the gym and did 8 singles for squats and set a 5lbs PR and did NOTHING else, would you be sore the next day? Probably not. So why do you get sore?

    More than likely it's a combination of:

    1) doing more than you need to make progress (diminishing returns)
    2) not having an ideal recovery situation (rest, sleep, diet, water, active recovery, etc).

    Some stuff is easy to fix. Crappy diet? Eat better. Poor sleep habits? Sleep more/better. Other stuff is more difficult, like what you do for work, family obligations, team sports, etc. You'll have to take everything into consideration and adjust your intensity/volume to accomodate your situation.

    That's not to say you're stuck at the same level forever. Over the past year I've increased my work capacity by leaps and bounds I never thought possible. It just takes time and a willingness to pay attention to everything that's going on in your life.
    Well, I think I get sore because I do train very hard (more than I need too)... However, that is because mentally, if I do not train that hard, I may become lazy... It sort of keeps me in the game. I have a slant towards being lazy and if I back my workouts to something like 70%, I start to fall off... That being said, perhaps going more often and less of a duration would be better? I used to workout 5 days a week and was fine, but nowhere near the intensity that I train now. A lot of my work has been sprinting lately along with a full body workout on Monday's

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    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    70% of what? You could complete a 100%+ workout in 5-25 minutes.

    Two examples:

    1) Squats - 8 sets of 1 rep, gradually build up to 100%+ or your 1RM with 2-3 of those sets at or above 90%.

    2) Sprinting - 8 sets of 20 second sprint, 10 seconds rest.

    Both produce results. Both are at or above 100%.
    Last edited by Anthony; 09-21-2006 at 07:28 AM.
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    Iced Earth - Stormrider ArchAngel777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony
    70% of what? You could complete a 100%+ workout in 5-25 minutes.

    Two examples:

    1) Squats - 8 sets of 1 rep, gradually build up to 100%+ or your 1RM with 2-3 of those sets at or above 90%.

    2) Sprinting - 8 sets of 20 second sprint, 10 seconds rest.

    Both produce results. Both are at or above 100%.
    Hmm, maybe I am not following the terminology then... For me, then, according to your examples, I would be giving well over 100% each workout... I guess I am using the percentage as a means to do 70% of what my most possible best is (100%)... So in others words, I give it everything I have (literally) and I consider that 100% or near 100%.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    Tell me why you think you're giving well over 100% in each workout.
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    Iced Earth - Stormrider ArchAngel777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony
    Tell me why you think you're giving well over 100% in each workout.
    Well, because it takes me days to recover from it... The next day every joint and muscle hurts that was involved in the exercise... If I go lighter, I don't get DOMs. Just yesterday, I turned my training down a notch o two and am feeling pretty good. Essentially, I believe I am giving it well over 100% because I cannot do it more than twice a week and even then, I struggle for recovery then.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    I see two ways of determing whether you give 100% or not:

    1) one rep maximum
    2) heart rate

    The examples I gave above accomplish 100%.

    In the first example (max effort squats) you go over 100% when you set a personal record. "Well over" would be extremely rare. Even 5% over would equate to 20lbs on a previous 400 max.

    In the second example, if you are truly sprinting balls-to-the-wall, you're going to be damn close to 100% max heart rate by your 4-5th sprint. Even if you managed to go over your previous max, it won't be by much and it won't be for very long (ie, maybe a second).

    You haven't given me an example of how you achieve either of those, so my guess is that you're trying to measure 100% based on your volume and energy levels. This results in two things: inaccurate measure of progress and excessive volume. It sounds to me as though you are hitting a point of diminishing returns.

    Can you give me an example of a workout that you feel is well over "100%" and one that isn't?
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  20. #20
    Iced Earth - Stormrider ArchAngel777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony
    I see two ways of determing whether you give 100% or not:

    1) one rep maximum
    2) heart rate

    The examples I gave above accomplish 100%.

    In the first example (max effort squats) you go over 100% when you set a personal record. "Well over" would be extremely rare. Even 5% over would equate to 20lbs on a previous 400 max.

    In the second example, if you are truly sprinting balls-to-the-wall, you're going to be damn close to 100% max heart rate by your 4-5th sprint. Even if you managed to go over your previous max, it won't be by much and it won't be for very long (ie, maybe a second).

    You haven't given me an example of how you achieve either of those, so my guess is that you're trying to measure 100% based on your volume and energy levels. This results in two things: inaccurate measure of progress and excessive volume. It sounds to me as though you are hitting a point of diminishing returns.

    Can you give me an example of a workout that you feel is well over "100%" and one that isn't?

    Wow, really making me think.... I like that... Let me see if I can come up with an answer for that.

    I always work up to my 1RP maximum on clean days... Before that, I am doing more than 5 - 6 sets of my 90% 1RP as well. No question that I am giving it 100% here... Giving it, say, 70%, would be doing singles at 70% of my 1RP I guess... But, I never feel like I did anything when I leave the gym like that.

    Sprint... I don't wear my heart rate monitor, but I do take my pulse and it is always 180+ when I am doing my sprints... I have never tested my maximum heart rate, so I suppose I am not sure how close I am to 100% there. But, then according to your ratings, it looks like my workouts are 90% - 100% with sprinting and 100% for weightlifting... Or am I still not understanding this?

    Edit ** I think I may have misunderstood your post a while back... Let me see if I have a better understanding of it.

    100% is basically my current PR with dealing weight weights, correct? So, if I were to do a 200 pound bench press max, then the following week I was able to do 210, then I gave it 105%, correct? Then the next time I do 210, it is 100%, because it became my PR, right?

    As far as heart rate, I have no idea how you would ever go beyond 100%... Your max heart rate is your max from my understanding. So my only hope could be to maintain that 100%, right?

    How do I deal with energy levels then? I guess my viewpoint of 100% was depleting all energy (basically exhausting myself). Is this not another way to view 100%?
    Last edited by ArchAngel777; 09-21-2006 at 03:48 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchAngel777
    Anthony,

    When I typically work out, I give it everything I have, or at the very least 95%... Do you consider this bad? I know I am sore for a few days always... I do about two workouts a week currently and put in max effort on them. I basically wait until I am not sore any longer and everything feels top notch before moving on to the next workout. So far so good, but I am just curious, because you have more experience than I do.
    I know you addressed this to Anthony and I think he's done a great job answering, but I hope you don't mind if I chime in too.

    I think that you are going to have to vary your training volumes and intensities a little. After a while you're probably going to get stale with it as it is. I don't think you need to look at anything complex, but just varying the set/rep scheme and how much you have left in the tank after sets/sessions would probably be enough.
    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/

  22. #22
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchAngel777
    How do I deal with energy levels then? I guess my viewpoint of 100% was depleting all energy (basically exhausting myself). Is this not another way to view 100%?
    Everything before this, you got it spot on.

    As for depleting 100% of your energy, that's why you're sore, that's why you're only doing it twice a week. I know it certainly feels like you accomplished something when you crawl out of the gym, but you can't do it all the time without consequence.

    Like Sensei said, you're gonna have to alter things now and then. Either your sets/reps/exercises/intensity ... eventually something has to give.
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    Iced Earth - Stormrider ArchAngel777's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! (Anthony, Sensei) It looks like I will be changing my routine a bit... I think my plan is go a few more days a week and back off the volume so that I do not deplete (completely) my energy. I can still hit it hard, but in a different way it looks like.

    Thanks again!

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