How to Avoid Over-training to Maximize Muscle Growth (PART I)

May 28, 2009

How to Avoid Over-training to Maximize Muscle Growth
By Vince DelMonte

Almost anyone that’s picked up a set of weights has or will experience symptoms of over-training at one point in there muscle building program. Over-training can lead to serious injury, chronic fatigue, and even muscle loss.

Over-training is very common amongst athletes and particularly bodybuilders, since they figure that training as much as possible is the fastest way to massive muscle gains.

This couldn’t be any further from the truth however…

Training too much, or at too high of an intensity will lead to over-training.

Now this doesn’t mean you don’t have to put plenty of effort in to see some decent results… Whether you are a bodybuilder, athlete, or just someone that wants to add some additional mass to your frame, you need to train hard and be consistent-that’s a given. In order to get the most out of your genetics, you have to progressively overload the muscles by increasing the weight and / or intensity of each weight training workout.

The problem is however, that many of us increase the intensity of our workouts or get insufficient amounts of rest, or even worse, a combination of both. The trick is finding the right balance between workout volume and intensity, and rest and recovery. And that is exactly what I’ll cover in this article.

The Effects of Over-Training on Bodybuilders

First, let’s take a look at some of the effects of over-training and how one can prevent over-training from happening in the first place.


The Effects of Over-training on the Nervous System

Over-training effects both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems in the following negative ways:

Higher resting heart rate
Weak appetite
High blood pressure
Weight loss
Trouble sleeping
Increased metabolic rate
Irritability
Early onset of fatigue

If you are experiencing more than one of the symptoms outlined above, you may be in a state of over-training, and should evaluate your routine as soon as possible.

The Effects of Over-training on Hormone Levels

Many studies have indicated that over-training negatively effects the levels of hormones, as well as the hormone response in the body. Since hormones play such an important role in the muscle building process, this can have a detrimental effect on your training progress.

Over-training has been show to:

Decrease testosterone levels
Decrease thyroxine levels
Increase cortisol levels


The increase in cortisol levels along with the decrease in testosterone levels is a deadly combination, since this leads to protein tissue break down. This will ultimately lead to a loss of muscle tissue.
The Effects of Over-training on the Immune System

perhaps one of the most alarming repercussions of over-training is it’s negative impact on the immune system-you’re bodies first defense against harmful viruses and bacteria.

Over-training can drastically decrease the levels of antibodies and lymphocytes in your body, making you much more susceptible to illness. Simply put, this means that if you are in a state of over-training, you are much more likely to get sick. Since you will have to skip workouts while you are sick, your muscle building progress will slow considerably.


The Effects of Over-training on the Metabolic System

Here is a list of how over-training can effect the metabolic system. These symptoms are the ones that are most commonly discussed, and are ones we can’t ignore:

Micro tears in the muscle
Chronically depleted glycogen levels
Slow, weak muscle contractions
Depleted creatine phosphate stores
Excessive accumulation of lactic acid
Extreme DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
Tendon and connective tissue damage
So you must get the point by now… Over-training effects the entire body, and can seriously impact the results of your muscle building program.

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About the Author:

Vince Delmonteis a competitive fitness model and personal trainer, as well as the author of No-Nonsense Muscle Building, a complete guide to building muscle for the hardgainer.

Vince’s program includes extensive diet plans, complete weight training regimens, video tutorials, and full email personal training support.


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