I was thinking about telling you something not too many people talk about: when you should back off with training, dieting, and how to recover from overtraining symptoms (if you reached it).
I want you to take a few minutes of your time, sit down, and read this lesson. It is a life lesson I’ve learned in 5 years.
You’ll learn it and be able to apply it right away. What’s this all about?
The reality is that we are not machines. We can’t function 24/7 without “fueling” and taking care of our body. We require sleep. We are human. We are blood, flesh, emotions, hormones.
I now realize how truly dependant we are on our body.
This is why training and dieting after your body’s feedback is important.
If you’ve been dieting for a while, then what I am going to tell you today, might sound scary to you. This is especially true if you’ve made good progress with your diet and training.
The reality is that weight loss is a 2 step process: mental and physical.
To get a constant progression, you have to be prepared physically and mentally.
Now, let’s talk about this in detail…
This guide applies to you even if you are not currently dieting or training but you plan to do it.
Dieting And Body Recovery
If you are dieting for a few weeks, you probably notice that your body needs more time to recover between workouts. The actual workouts are getting harder and harder even if you are maintaining the same frequency and duration from when you first started..
Deep down, you might be starting to feel that you won’t be able to keep up with this kind of training and dieting for too long.
These are all potential physical problems.
Mentally, you might be bombarded by thoughts like “what if this doesn’t work?” or “what if I am not training enough and eating too much?”, or “Am I doing the right things?”
As humans, we are fuelled more by emotions instead of raw physical power. If you start getting demotivated, feel bad about yourself, experience pains that make you want to quit, you have to do something about it.
But what do you have to do to go forward?
This is the moment when you have to change gears and do something about it.
This is the moment I step in and try to guide you…
But first, let me tell you how I managed to make my fat loss a constant progression.
“It’s a good idea always to do something relaxing prior to making an important decision in your life.” – Paulo Coelho
I enjoyed reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
On a deep level, he is right with that quote.
That’s why there are times when you should push yourself more than usual, and times when you should just back off and relax.
How to lose fat, maintain muscle mass, and control your mind for optimal fat loss.
FREE 3-day course you can use to get lean. You will never get overtrained with this diet and training
Click here to download the DTM method
What Is Overtraining
Overtraining means there’s an imbalance between your recovery capacity and the training stimulus you are placing on your body.
Simply put: you train, and diet so hard that your body can’t recover from it
Next comes the negative effects of training, and dieting too much: You will experience a decrease in performance that takes more than 2-3 weeks to recover from, and reach your normal training capacity
When Does It Happen?
The period of hard dieting and training that can lead to overtraining depends on each person. But before I talk about it, I want you to make the correct distinction between overtraining and overreaching:
- Overtraining makes a huge impact on your nervous system. Your physical, and mental well being is affected. It takes more than 2-3 weeks to recover from it.
- Overreaching happens when you plateau or see a drop in your training performance. If you are constantly tired, don’t have enough mental and physical strength to get into a gym, you are probably affected by this condition. You are more likely to have this condition if the drop in performance goes for the next 1-3 weeks.
I want to make a note that I haven’t seen an overtrained person in my entire lifting “career”. Beside myself of course.
Overtraining is extremely rare.
I don’t want you to believe that you can get easily overreached or overtrained. Missing a workout if you are tired or a low mental motivation doesn’t mean you have any of these two symptoms.
What Causes Overtraining
Overtraining is mainly caused by the difference between the training load you are using in the gym, and your body capacity to recover from that same stress.
For example, if you are constantly beating your body with high repetition training, reps to failure, your diet lacks sufficient micronutrients, or you don’t get enough sleep to recover, then this will most likely put a big mark on your ability to sustain this level of training in the long run.
Other causes of overtraining are: your current life conditions, your job, daily stress, your family.
Overreaching is easy to get if all these conditions are met. And even if I said that overtraining is extremely hard to get, if you continue to stress your body with too low calorie diets, and high training volume programs, you have a big chance to reach overtraining.
True Overtraining Symptoms
I don’t want you to missunderstand this guide. Don’t make the mistake to think you are overtrained just because you happen to feel tired for a few days.
You have to make a distinction between a simple day when you feel tired, and how it feels to be overtrained:
- Training really hard in a gym for 1-2 weeks can’t get you overtrained no matter what
- A single workout session is not enough to get you overtrained
- The earliest signs of overtraining mostly occur at least after a month of very low calorie diets coupled with high volume and intensity workouts
- Training with extreme volume, and dieting with imbalanced nutrition for months can seriously get you in a overtrained condition that can take many weeks to get out from
That being said, here are the true overtraining symptoms you should look after:
- You lack motivation to get inside a gym
- You are constantly sick or feel sick
- You can’t sleep or rest well (your sleep is affected)
- Your muscles feel constantly tired, sore, and fatigued
- Your appetite plummets
- Your heart rate is increased even if you don’t do anything
- You don’t want to do anything
You might ask yourself…
How do I know so much about overreaching, overtraining, and how to recover from overtraining symptoms?
Because I had them myself… both of them… and it wasn’t pleasant. That’s why I am writing about them. So you don’t make the same mistakes I did.
It’s best to avoid them as much as you can. And now I want to show you how I got these negative conditions, and how I managed to beat them out of my body.
How I Got Overtrained (I Didn’t Wanted To Take A Break)
I learned this lesson the hard way… I remember how I was when I first started dieting and training.
My attention to details was amazing.
My energy was always sky-high. My motivation was always up no matter the day, hour, weather, life circumstances. When it came to eating and training, I was unshakeable.
I wanted to progress as quickly as I could. This went for months until things started to change…
I began to feel tired.
My energy levels plummeted down, my weight on scale stayed constant for weeks, my desire to go and train was nonexistent. It seemed like I started to forget about my desire to attain a great physique.
The reality is that I made progress. I lost a considerable amount of weight, and also gained some muscle.
I was in the leanest state I’ve ever been in my life; I was stronger and more flexible than ever.
I got close to my idea of a perfect looking body. But something had to be changed. It all went downwards… fast. It seemed like I had to do something or just quit dieting and training for my own good.
Even if I had all these feelings inside me, I was trying to suck it up and move forward no matter what.
I was fighting through my pain.
I thought I was stronger than it.
I thought that I could conquer anything with my mind. What happened next? I was conscious about my problem. I felt I had to do something about it. But at that time, I didn’t know what I had to do to get over that moment.
So I continued the grueling workouts, the low-calorie intake, and also tried to overcome all my problems by trying to be strong mentally.
This worked for a few months until…
I overtrained myself.
I remember one particular morning after I woke up. I wanted to go to the gym and train a bit.
I just couldn’t do it.
I heard my heart beat, I felt like I was going to pass out; I was feeling tiredness through my body. I was sensing that each body part was unable to do more work. I could not motivate myself to get inside the gym.
It went like that for that morning.
It went like that for another day…
By the 3’rd day, I knew I had to do something. So I did it.
I simply quit.
I stopped dieting and training for around two months. I just couldn’t do it anymore. That initial drive to make my body look the way I wanted, disappeared. And it happens to many of us.
Why all these things happened?
I tried training too much on low calories for an extended period.
While you can get away with eating a very low-calorie intake just like in my extreme fat loss diet that that helped me lose 8.6 pounds in just four days, going months and months with too much training and dieting can screw your mental and physical well-being.
Now, If I look back at myself, I know I was overtrained. Not overreached. Overtrained.
This guide has two phases: the prevention phase, and the recovery phase
How To Prevent Overtraining?
Now you know how true overtraining occurs.
Another reason why most people get overreached or overtrained is because there are so many clueless personal trainers and coaches out there that can make you beat up your body and recovery system with exaggerated volume workouts, and diets.
Preventing overtraining is as simple as making sure you apply 4 simple steps to your diet and training program.
How to prevent overtraining syptoms:
- Limit your high intensity workouts – if you are training with high intensity as I recommend inside my FREE DTM method for fat loss cheat sheet, 3-4 high intensity workouts are more than enough to help you lose fat, and maintain muscle mass
- Include variations in your training routine – you shouldn’t train at your maximum capacity all the time. I also apply this rule to my workouts. Every few months, take a workout and make it light. Cut the weights back but make sure you keep your protein intake high
- Leave some time between your training sessions – If you train 4 times a week, try to place a day off between them. A good rule of thumb is to take a day off after every 2 training sessions.
- See how your body responds to your diet and training – Most people don’t listen to their bodies. And this can make them unable to progress with their fat loss or muscle gaining. This can translate into binge eating, sluggish workout sessions, low mental motivation. The next time you get into a gym, see how you feel before you start training. If you feel very tired at the beginning of your workout right after you warmed up, you are better off going home, and take a nap. But if you insist to train, make sure you take it lightly. There’s a reason why your body is tired. Don’t make it more than that.
How To Diet, Train, And Lose Fat Without Getting Overreached Or Overtrained
FREE 3-day course you can use to get lean. You will never get overtrained with this diet and training
Click here to download the DTM method
How To Recover From Overtraining
If you are experiencing signs of overreaching or overtraining, here’s what you have to do to recover from overtraining symptoms:
- Take 1-2 weeks off (don’t worry, your muscles won’t fall off, and if you take care of your diet, you won’t gain any fat. If you don’t count calories, make sure you are eating more food. If you count your caloric intake, eat 500-1000 more calories over your maintenance
- Stop dieting for the duration of your recovery period because you need all the calories you can get for recovery purposes. You won’t recover properly if you keep pushing yourself. I know this will be hard for some of you but it is a must!
- Don’t do anything that’s physically taxing. Just spend some fun time with anyone you like.
- Get a massage or some foam rolling done.
- Get some quality vitamins and minerals and make sure you are getting quality nutrients in your diet (eat your veggies)
- Sleep more than usual. Aim for 9-10h.
- Meditate. One of the best ways to lose fat from a mental perspective, is meditation. It increases your focus, energy, improves sleep, reduces stress and anxiety, and much more.
- Go to sauna or take frequent warm baths to relax yourself
How To Begin Your Training Routine After Proper Recovery
I wanted to touch this point because I keep seeing the same mistakes when it comes to coming back into a gym after a diet and training break.
I hope you don’t think you can get right back into training from where you were in your last training session.
That would be a big mistake that can slow down your progress in the long term.
Don’t do it.
Instead, the better way to get back into training is to take it slowly. How slowly?
Well, if it took you 2 weeks to get back on your feet, it is logical that your overall fitness conditioning will be lower than where you left it. But don’t worry…
There’s a thing called muscle memory.
What this does is simple. Muscle memory means that you will get back to your past condition way faster now. From my own experience, it will take you approximately 1 week more than your rest period to get back to your best shape.
So for example if you took a 2 week break from training, you’ll get your strength back in around 2-3 weeks.
What are the lessons we learned today?
- Taking a rest period from long periods of dieting can do wonders for your physical and mental state (you might come back stronger and leaner than before)
- Your body is not a machine that can push weights at maximum intensity for unlimited periods of time without backfiring. Believe me, pushing your body to the limit every day or every workout can only work for a limited period of time. Sooner or later, your recovery system and mental tiredness will fight against you. Pushing harder these times can be a recipe for disaster. You will lose this fight…
- Listen to your body. It knows what’s best for him. You can’t expect to ignore the signals he gives you for too long and not get any adverse effects. It’s like getting a cold. First, your body shows you the first signs of getting cold (sweating, small throat pains, tiredness, etc.). If you don’t take care of yourself (eat better, take a vitamin C supplement, get thicker clothes), you’ll just aggravate the symptoms until you get sick. Listen to your body
- Overreaching is not the same thing as overtraining but it has similar effects on your body: tiredness, disturbed sleeping, muscular fatigue, etc.
- Overreaching can go away in a few days while overtraining will take weeks or months to recover from
P.S. This is the 2nd time I kept my word, and wrote an article after two days. As I promised. I will be consistent with writing just as I am with dieting and training. In 2 days from now, I will write about the biggest weight loss industry scam that’s getting sold over and over again as the best weight loss strategy: Intermittent fasting. Don’t forget to share it with your friends. This is an important lesson to learn and apply if you want to get constant progress out of your diet and training.