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View Full Version : Work Capacity: how much is enough?


Justin Chebahtah
04-09-2009, 09:53 AM
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Craig Brown
04-09-2009, 12:55 PM
I like Ron Shaul on this stuff...check out the military section at www.mtnathlete.com .

Good use of general and specific training, with clear thinking and planning.

Craig

Garrett Smith
04-09-2009, 01:01 PM
My main thought on long metcons is that they should be used sparingly, if at all. They are low power output and require huge recovery times.

If some CFers can do mostly standard CF and a relatively small bit of running to complete 100-mile runs, I see no reason to believe that someone doing CF regularly can't do a (soul-sucking) chipper well at the drop of a hat.

Ari Kestler
04-09-2009, 02:18 PM
I could be totally off base here and I don't intend to hijack your thread in posting this, but something I've been thinking about lately....there has been a lot of criticism of CF for these chipper style workouts and how the excessive way that CF uses them leads one to CNS fatigue. Granted, I haven't actually compiled a database of the last 100 workouts or what not, but from my limited browsing and recollection it doesn't seem like CF prescribes THAT many chippers...if every 2 weeks you scroll down the main page and look at the workouts it doesn't seem like you are seeing >20 min chippers consistently.

Now, another thought I had was that HQ might not intend for a workout to be a chipper, it only becomes a chipper if you are not fit enough to complete it the way it was intended. I'm not pointing fingers because I fit in this category for a lot of these workouts. I'm just saying, following CF and scaling if you aren't up for it works out better than saying, forget CF I'm doing my own thing I want short metcons...

This is just something I've been thinking about recently, you don't see speal, OPT, Josh suffering from CNS fatigue, probably because most "chipper" workouts are not as soul crushing to them as they are to me.

In short, I believe that for most people, the CF programming is probably a little excessive and will lead to burnout/overtraining...however, once you become relatively proficient at CF (by any way, be it hybrid, ME, CA, etc...) regularly doing CF probably isn't that excessive and won't lead to burnout.

What do you think?

Other random thought, I'll often look at a long workout or a chipper and check out a fire-breather's time...say OPT...I'll multiply by some factor, in most cases, 2. If that workout takes me longer than that time, it's too excessive for my current level of work capacity and I'll plan accordingly.

Justin Chebahtah
04-09-2009, 02:26 PM
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Robert Callahan
04-09-2009, 03:52 PM
I remember watching a video of Dave Castro on programing a while back and basically what he said was that good CF programming should consist primarily of couplets and triplets (two and three modality workouts respectively). That you can use a chipper workout every once in a while but they should be use sparingly because of all the reasons others have already mentioned above.

So it would seem to me that the "official" CF line would be to use chippers very sparingly and to keep most workouts in the shorter metcon time domain.

A lot of affiliates probably use a ton of chipper workouts because they kick your ass and a lot of people come to CF looking to get their asses kicked. Doesn't mean it is good programing, it is just what they do...

David Boyle
04-09-2009, 04:06 PM
My two cents:

When I train my guys w/ metcons and other methods...ie crossfit, kettlebell, parkour..etc etc.

First thing first it has to be done in boots and utilities.

I've realized that too much time is spent in pt gear...(looking at the gen pop on base's where I've been).

PT gear is fine every now and then.

I've tried to make it has a reward or privelage...rather than a right.

Also keeping everything in the "green perspective". I try to fit a "helen" wod into a conditioning session and afterwards I have the Marines grapple. However this grapple session simulates a suicide bomber trying to blow both of you up, and you have 30 seconds to get off/up and run away b/f I say beep...your dead...this is after 3 minutes of just plain ol grappleing.

I've noticed that by doing this...it keeps the "combat mentality" going. When you constantly train in pt gear and lack the reason for the madness...we get complacent and "best time" hungry.

Just my opinion.

Semper Fi.

SSgt B.

Justin Chebahtah
04-09-2009, 07:08 PM
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Emily Mattes
04-09-2009, 07:40 PM
On another forum a Marine said he'd like to see military/fire/whatever folks do more Strongman-style training, so you get conditioning but with shorter periods and a lot heavier weights. I started a thread on it a while back.

Donald Lee
04-09-2009, 10:26 PM
On another forum a Marine said he'd like to see military/fire/whatever folks do more Strongman-style training, so you get conditioning but with shorter periods and a lot heavier weights. I started a thread on it a while back.

I trained for a month with Scott Brengel, the professional strongman, who wrote an article that was posted in that thread. The strongman implement that killed me the most was the sandbag. I think training with heavy sandbags would be extremely useful for the military.

Also, training with strongman implements and the duration conditioning workouts aren't directly related. The same implements, with lighter weights, can be used for longer conditioning workouts if preferred.

Craig Loizides
04-09-2009, 10:30 PM
I'd say do some longer workouts but just don't make them soul-crushing. Keep the intensity at something like 80% and maybe mix in a couple short periods of higher intensity. Most runners, rowers, etc train with 2-3 high intensity days plus a couple longer and easier days. And if you look at the scenario you described or most sports, it's important to be able to recover while working at a moderate intensity. I'm not sure that doing a 5 minute metcon followed by lying on the ground for 5 minutes is the best way to do this.

Donald Lee
04-09-2009, 10:44 PM
Justin,

Longer conditioning workouts are necessary to optimally build the oxidative adaptations necessary for bouts of long duration. I would not do this in the manner that CrossFit does though.

I got this from Joel Jaimeson:

2 intervals of 20 minutes separated by 8-10 min of active rest
(step ups, hill lunges, etc.)

It would be ideal to do this with a versaclimber to work both upper and lower body, but I've had success with step-ups, RDLs, Backsquats, etc.

I did a 10-min interval of weighted step-ups and another 10-min interval of RDLs, with about 2-4 bouts of 60 min. extremely slow jogging and biking, and my 3-mile run time improved by 2 minutes in about 2-3 week's time. I could have run even faster if I had felt it necessary.

This type of training is not meant to be done to muscular failure though, so the RDLs and backsquats don't work perfectly. I have experimented with some complexes like thruster + bent over row + RDL + hang power clean, but my grip kept on giving out, even with straps. I've also done backsquat + goodmorning complex, which did work out fairly well, but I was unable to do it continuously. I had to take a few short breathers.

I equate this type of training to heavy rucking. It doesn't need to be done all the time. You can do it once a week for a month and do it every other month or even less frequently possibly.

Garrett Smith
04-10-2009, 05:54 AM
Ari,
I have helped Josh E. with his own adrenal fatigue situation and I have spoken on the phone with OPT about the tendency for CF to cause adrenal fatigue in CFers, we were very much on the same page.

It is an issue that isn't talked about much in that community, anything seen as a potential flaw in the program is brushed under the table.

George Mounce
04-10-2009, 06:18 AM
Ari,
I have helped Josh E. with his own adrenal fatigue situation and I have spoken on the phone with OPT about the tendency for CF to cause adrenal fatigue in CFers, we were very much on the same page.

It is an issue that isn't talked about much in that community, anything seen as a potential flaw in the program is brushed under the table.

Interesting, the Mayo clinic doctor calls adrenal fatigue BS, yet it seems more of a prevalent thing in the natural medicine circles. After having never seen this, I did a bunch of Google-fu and the common consensus among M.D.s is that there is no clinical evidence to prove the existence of "adrenal fatigue." Many sites go on to talk about Addison's and the like which are clinically proven cases.

Not saying it doesn't exist but I would be interested in studies to prove its existence.

This is kind of a hijack, I know, but when I see things as interesting as this I like more info. This is a great discussion on the subject for anyone else who is interested: http://www.cpnhelp.org/adrenal_fatigue

Garrett Smith
04-10-2009, 06:47 AM
George,
I could go on and on about this, but here's the gist.

Think of Addison's as a complete or near-complete failure of the adrenal glands, sort of like Type I diabetes is with the pancreas.

Just like in Type II diabetes being ignored/abused for long enough to cause the pancreas to eventually fail, note that there was a long time downhill--normal glycemia, then pre-diabetes, then diabetes type II, and then finally pancreas failure and insulin-dependent diabetes.

Think of adrenal fatigue as being within the pre-diabetes and diabetes range. It's not "normal", and it isn't complete failure of the glands either.

It is really sad to think that people aren't even given the "range" of functioning of cars--without the midrange of adrenal fatigue, it's like saying a car is either running perfectly or not at all, that there is no midrange. There really is, and the constant stress of our lives can "burn out" our adrenals over time.

George Mounce
04-10-2009, 07:00 AM
George,
I could go on and on about this, but here's the gist.

Think of Addison's as a complete or near-complete failure of the adrenal glands, sort of like Type I diabetes is with the pancreas.

Just like in Type II diabetes being ignored/abused for long enough to cause the pancreas to eventually fail, note that there was a long time downhill--normal glycemia, then pre-diabetes, then diabetes type II, and then finally pancreas failure and insulin-dependent diabetes.

Think of adrenal fatigue as being within the pre-diabetes and diabetes range. It's not "normal", and it isn't complete failure of the glands either.

It is really sad to think that people aren't even given the "range" of functioning of cars--without the midrange of adrenal fatigue, it's like saying a car is either running perfectly or not at all, that there is no midrange. There really is, and the constant stress of our lives can "burn out" our adrenals over time.

Thanks Garrett, great comparison. So therefore too much stress over a long period of time without rest overtaxes the adrenal system and without proper rest management, the system can't recover. Proper diet and rest are crucial to health and longevity. I'm become more and more a fan of NEPA like activities over the super intense short activities. Hell the 8 hours in my garden yesterday was intense!

Back to the OP - my thoughts are that the answer is "enough to fulfill your purpose". Whether its to play with your kids or to win the CF games, you manage how much you want based on your goals. I would put the CF games as the extreme though as that level of work capacity is not sustainable over a lifetime. You can be a fire-breather for a few years, but you don't find 70yos playing pro football. It fits your purpose at the time. For me mine is enough to get good enough to compete on the erg and work my garden.

Gant Grimes
04-10-2009, 07:06 AM
I remember watching a video of Dave Castro on programing a while back and basically what he said was that good CF programming should consist primarily of couplets and triplets (two and three modality workouts respectively). That you can use a chipper workout every once in a while but they should be use sparingly because of all the reasons others have already mentioned above.

So it would seem to me that the "official" CF line would be to use chippers very sparingly and to keep most workouts in the shorter metcon time domain.

Leo S. suggested this to me over a year ago, and it's some of the best advice I ever received. It was completely contrary to what CF was doing at the time. Nice to see that they've come around. :rolleyes:

Garrett Smith
04-10-2009, 08:11 AM
George,
Here's something that I was definitely not the first one to notice.

Often conventional medicine and those who want to call everything that they haven't heard of "quackery", will deny the existence of syndromes (adrenal fatigue is a syndrome) that:

1 - they don't know how to test for in the first place
2 - consist of simply low functioning of the body systems
3 - there isn't a drug created yet to treat that symptom(s)

Lyrica (new patented drug!) and the new "explosion" of fibromyalgia diagnoses (fibromyalgia was denied by conventional medicine for a VERY long time) would be one recent example of this pattern.

Disclaimer--I have recently been hired by Future Formulations, the company of Dr. James Wilson (triple PhD, ND, DC), the man who "wrote the book" on Adrenal Fatigue. We will soon enough be working on a fully reference position paper on adrenal fatigue syndrome. Their website is www.adrenalfatigue.org , anyone interested in more information should read the book by Dr. Wilson.

Steven Low
04-10-2009, 09:37 AM
Maybe 2-3 of the 20-40 min workouts per month max IMO. Once every 2 weeks sounds decent.

Speaking as such though I don't think it's these workouts that are burning people out because intensity NEEDS to be lower to complete these. It's A LOT of short intense workouts then coupled with these that toast people.


And speaking as someone who probably burned out their adrenals... it sucks balls. I hate resting so I'm trying to take it very light.

Mike ODonnell
04-10-2009, 09:50 AM
It's better to be rested and ready to go if your real goal is 24/7 GPP, rather than burned out and useless. It's alot different to use overtraining and then be able to take downtime to peak before a competition than to go full force all the time and be expected to perform day in and out.

I'm going to steal a line from Mark Sisson: "Make your easy workouts longer and easier and your hard workouts shorter and harder"

Us "old" guys (over 35) tend to know that less is more when it comes to training nowadays.....as I'm in it for the long haul.

Brian Stone
04-10-2009, 10:04 AM
It's better to be rested and ready to go if your real goal is 24/7 GPP, rather than burned out and useless. It's alot different to use overtraining and then be able to take downtime to peak before a competition than to go full force all the time and be expected to perform day in and out.

I'm going to steal a line from Mark Sisson: "Make your easy workouts longer and easier and your hard workouts shorter and harder"

Us "old" guys (over 35) tend to know that less is more when it comes to training nowadays.....as I'm in it for the long haul.

I'm not at 35 yet, but I have found that this rings true for me to a great degree. After doing reasonably long stretches of CF programming, I found that there are days (even following a rest day) where I have the energy but just not the mental fortitude to smash through another 110% metcon. My earliest weeks of CF I felt guilty about going and doing anything LSD or non "functional," despite the fact that some days I just find these workouts more rewarding in those instances.

I've since realized the value in embracing these inclinations, but it seems to be anathema to CF philosophy in my mind. That may be my own personal misinterpretation, but at best I think the community as a whole has a prejudice against it.

Don't want this to come off as a blast on CF at all, since I personally love it as a whole. It's mainly personal observation, preference, and opinion based on my (admittedly limited) experience with this type of programming.

Garrett Smith
04-10-2009, 11:25 AM
The thing I simply don't understand is, regardless of modal domains and programming and work day to rest day ratios, where anyone can believe that they can push to 100% every training day (which heavily dips into the "fight or flight" systems of the adrenals, especially when reps are at failure levels) and not burn out.

Donald Lee
04-10-2009, 12:38 PM
I just wanted to second the recommendation for Dr. Wilson's Adrenal Fatigue book. It's a fairly easy read. Most of the book is very practical, while there's a good chunk of science for those who are into the science.

It also offers a critique of the medical community.

Alex Bond
04-10-2009, 03:28 PM
Anybody who doesn't believe in adrenal fatigue should do a 2000m row every day until they do.

Garrett Smith
04-10-2009, 05:20 PM
Anybody who doesn't believe in adrenal fatigue should do a 2000m row every day until they do.
That is very funny and likely very true.

I think some 800m runs at full speed daily would possibly do the trick just as well! :D

Steven Low
04-10-2009, 07:46 PM
That is very funny and likely very true.

I think some 800m runs at full speed daily would possibly do the trick just as well! :D
5 days a week one arm chins will do it... :)

Dave Van Skike
04-10-2009, 08:03 PM
geez, don't tell bike racers. you'll completely harsh their mellow.

if i'd have known about this i'm pretty sure i would have never been a bike messenger or completed a stage race. The track and criterium season would be out all together. ignorance isn't just bliss, apparently it increases your work capacity.

Emily Mattes
04-11-2009, 10:37 AM
What makes adrenal fatigue different from overtraining? I've used them interchangeably.

Alex Bond
04-11-2009, 12:23 PM
What makes adrenal fatigue different from overtraining? I've used them interchangeably.

Adrenal fatigue refers specifically to fatigue of the nervous system, whereas overtraining refers to any time to your are taxing your body beyond its ability to recover. For me, adrenal fatigue is that feeling after a workout where your brain just feels tired and slow, like you are just a little drunk - can't concentrate as well, clearly communicate complex ideas, etc.

George Mounce
04-11-2009, 12:47 PM
Anybody who doesn't believe in adrenal fatigue should do a 2000m row every day until they do.

Done. I don't have adrenal fatigue (and while it has a great description I'll be the doubting Thomas on this one). I never felt worn out by CrossFit and am in fact incorporating it back into my training regime. What I did feel was afraid I was going to push myself so hard that I would injure myself. Now that I know better, I can put a ton of stress on myself but not so much that I get injured.

Also I disagree that a medical problem has anything to do with feelings after a workout. A 1RM PR deadlift may cause a CNS response, but that isn't adrenal fatigue as it is being described by many practitioners. I still would like to see studies directly involving "adrenal fatigue" outside of the natural health world, because I'm having a hard time finding them, unless they are under the guise of Addison's, adrenal insufficiency or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Steven Low
04-11-2009, 01:08 PM
What makes adrenal fatigue different from overtraining? I've used them interchangeably.

Well, in some instances they can be I suppose, but they definitely aren't interchangable. You can have one without the other.

I'm not going to explain this here, but I will lower so keep reading. :)


Adrenal fatigue refers specifically to fatigue of the nervous system, whereas overtraining refers to any time to your are taxing your body beyond its ability to recover. For me, adrenal fatigue is that feeling after a workout where your brain just feels tired and slow, like you are just a little drunk - can't concentrate as well, clearly communicate complex ideas, etc.

Noooooooooooooo....

You clearly have not experienced both. Nor know enough physiology... no offense. :)

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Overtraining/overreaching is generally systemic fatigue of the central nervous system. It's true that you're taxing your body beyond it's ability to recover. In general, you will see performance decreases as the CNS is depressed further which will impair your ability to lift heavy weights or depress overall endurance. This means:

1. Recovery capacity without workouts is unaffected. If you rest for a couple days after overreaching you will get back to previous capacity if not better with some supercompensation. If it's not chronic, ~5-7 days max will get you back to full capacity ready to go.

2. Decreased all around performance. Both strength and endurance are inhibited.

3. Gradual. You can see your performance decreasing day after day as your CNS is fatigued.

----------------------

Adrenal fatigue deals with systemic overtaxing of the adrenal glands (hence "adrenal") which produce a lot of the hormones in fight or flight response such as the catecholamines, aldosterone, glucocorticoids like cortisol, DHEA, etc.

From what I've experience with adrenal fatigue....

1. VERY poor recovery capacity after workouts. Workouts that used to take me 1-2 days to recover from take me 3-4 maybe 5 days to recover from (I've also induced this before with poor nutrition but that was like 2 years ago). My guess for this would be decreased DHEA output = less androgens to help promote recovery.

Adrenal fatigue will generally take AT LEAST 2-3+ weeks to recover from with no workouts at all. My recover capacity is just really messed up badly. I can barely do anything at all.

2. Strength is *NOT* depressed at all -- I've maintained all my strength because the CNS is not affected. However, sympathetic activation for endurance is depressed because catecholamine and cortisol production is lower which help release metabolites for energy production.

This is even *worse* than endurance performance being depressed from overtraining... if I had to give it a percentage it would probably be at least 10-25% worse.

3. SUDDEN. You're stressing your adrenals.. they keep working.. etc. then BOOM. I crashed one day after a tough workout, and I'm out for pretty much 4-5 weeks. Soooooooo tired during the day, but the symptoms of overtraining (per google search) are not there at all. No muscle or joint aches, extended soreness, etc.

----------------------


Those are really just 3 of the differences I can think of... there's probably more. But these are definitely NOT interchangable or the same thing. Although overworking yourself can give you both.

From what I gather it's easier to overtrain than it is to fatigue your adrenals......... but if you're pushing yourself with high intensity all the time I would worry about both.

Enrique Billington
04-11-2009, 02:56 PM
I've never rowed 2000m daily however I do lift my perceived 1RM in the clean/jerk, snatch, front squat and occasionally back squat five days a week, allowing myself six attempts if I fail the maximum of the day, and I haven't had any problems with "recovery". I make gains every week (I'm not a novice). I'm not taking restoratives either. Steven you should not take your personal experiences and apply them to everyone else. Different races, sexes, and individuals have different capacities when it comes to endurance, strength, recovery, etc.

(And I'm not saying adrenal fatigue doesn't exist.)

Garrett Smith
04-11-2009, 02:58 PM
George (and maybe Dave too), you guys may be some of the lucky ones who are more resistant to adrenal fatigue--the more resistant one is, the less likely they are to understand those who are not as strong in that physiological sense.

Those who do well in the Special Forces would generally be the types who are hugely resistant to this issue.

Adrenal fatigue in regards to training is generally a long-term thing, much longer-term than overreaching and likely longer (but could be complicit with) overtraining.

How does one generally get this issue? Lots of stressors (big and small) over a certain period--obviously individuality plays a role here.

Having many of the "life events" on this stress test (http://www.stresstips.com/lifeevents.htm) happening within a relatively short period really stresses the entire body system.

There is also a short test on this page regarding "burnout" (http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/adrenal-fatigue-questionnaires/burnout-questionnaire.html):
This questionnaire designed by Dr. Freudenberger will help you determine if you have symptoms of a syndrome popularly known as "burnout." Burnout refers specifically to a type of adrenal fatigue brought about by lifestyle factors such as working too hard or juggling too many activities. After you have taken this test, it might be interesting to compare your score with your scores on the Adrenal Fatigue Questionnaire on page 61 in the book Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by Dr. James L. Wilson.

Dave Van Skike
04-11-2009, 03:15 PM
fwiw I'm not saying it doesn't exist, just that i'm glad i know nothing about it..i do know that WRT work capacity, beyond the basic preparation to do "work" the battle for me is nearly always mental.

Garrett Smith
04-11-2009, 05:23 PM
Dave,
A good hypothetical example might be a training buddy who you knew used to be able to handle training mentally and do the "work"...but after he went through professional school, got married, had a baby, lost both parents in a car wreck, declared bankruptcy, etc., etc., all within a couple of years and now just can't ever seem to "suck it up" to train hard for longer than a week or two...it's not that he doesn't want to, it's that his resources are long gone.

Sometimes not knowing about this is a good thing...sometimes it leads people (especially women) through the medical wringer only for them to believe it is "all in their head", while they constantly get worse (the stress of the condition often creates a vicious downward spiral).

Generally, humans are not wired for the chronic, low-grade stress that our modern world has created in our lives. This is the big factor. Throw in lots of chronic low-grade stress, a couple really big stressful events, no significant "downtime" or vacations of longer than a week, and really intense training and there is a recipe for system overload.

Steven Low
04-11-2009, 05:38 PM
I've never rowed 2000m daily however I do lift my perceived 1RM in the clean/jerk, snatch, front squat and occasionally back squat five days a week, allowing myself six attempts if I fail the maximum of the day, and I haven't had any problems with "recovery". I make gains every week (I'm not a novice). I'm not taking restoratives either.

Steven you should not take your personal experiences and apply them to everyone else. Different races, sexes, and individuals have different capacities when it comes to endurance, strength, recovery, etc.

(And I'm not saying adrenal fatigue doesn't exist.)

What the hell are you talking about dude?

No kidding difference races have different capacities to whatever...... but the physiological effects are fairly universal for things like overreaching/overtraining and presumably other exercise induced medical conditions such as adrenal fatigue.

Enrique Billington
04-11-2009, 06:04 PM
Use common sense; some people are less susceptible to the conditions that others. Those with a more supple endocrine system clearly are not going to be affected as long, if at all, as someone who is less endowed when it comes to testosterone. Likewise those who only stress their nervous system once a week or once a month (as most people do) are going to feel a lot more over trained than those who have gradually built up to the point where they are doing it every other day. Age also plays an important role. The physiological effects are not the same for everyone.

And how can you call adrenal fatigue and overtraining "medical conditions" when they are not recognized to exist under any medical authority?

Steven Low
04-11-2009, 06:48 PM
Use common sense; some people are less susceptible to the conditions that others. Those with a more supple endocrine system clearly are not going to be affected as long, if at all, as someone who is less endowed when it comes to testosterone. Likewise those who only stress their nervous system once a week or once a month (as most people do) are going to feel a lot more over trained than those who have gradually built up to the point where they are doing it every other day. Age also plays an important role. The physiological effects are not the same for everyone.

No one is disagreeing with this?????????

This is not the physiological effects anyone is talking about.

Systemic overreaching and overtraining to my knowledge affect everyone fairly the same with decreased performance, poor recovery/sleep, etc. If you can refute something like that be my guest.


And how can you call adrenal fatigue and overtraining "medical conditions" when they are not recognized to exist under any medical authority?

Overtraining DOES exist.

Adrenal fatigue we have been discussing.

Whatever dude. Your choice to believe or not regardless of medical whatever.

Dave Van Skike
04-11-2009, 06:55 PM
Dave,
A good hypothetical example might be a training buddy who you knew used to be able to handle training mentally and do the "work"...but after he went through professional school, got married, had a baby, lost both parents in a car wreck, declared bankruptcy, etc., etc., all within a couple of years and now just can't ever seem to "suck it up" to train hard for longer than a week or two...it's not that he doesn't want to, it's that his resources are long gone.

Sometimes not knowing about this is a good thing...sometimes it leads people (especially women) through the medical wringer only for them to believe it is "all in their head", while they constantly get worse (the stress of the condition often creates a vicious downward spiral).

Generally, humans are not wired for the chronic, low-grade stress that our modern world has created in our lives. This is the big factor. Throw in lots of chronic low-grade stress, a couple really big stressful events, no significant "downtime" or vacations of longer than a week, and really intense training and there is a recipe for system overload.

I think I understand that all too well.

The part that confuses me is how this is an adrenal issue? I'm truly ignorant on the subject, how does one even test for it and eliminate all the other stuff, chronic low testosterone, lack of sleep, depression issues etc?

Certainly the low grade chronic stress in my own life (endless remodel with me as contractor, sole breadwinner, job working with vampires, parenthood, etc.) these things are things are three times as draining as sets across with heavy deads or a long hike or stair running.

Honestly without the little bit of suffering for under a heavy weight, the 10 hours a day at a desk would have me cleaning my ears with a shotgun well before teh overtraining kicked in..

Enrique Billington
04-11-2009, 06:57 PM
No one is disagreeing with this?????????

This is not the physiological effects anyone is talking about.

Systemic overreaching and overtraining to my knowledge affect everyone fairly the same with decreased performance, poor recovery/sleep, etc. If you can refute something like that be my guest.

What is there to refute Steven? All you have given us is your personal experience. Do you have any evidence that overtraining exists? Perhaps you should provide some studies and we'll start talking. Until then I recommend you check out this study or at least read the abstract; overtraining has not been proven to exist and you'll have a hell of a hard time proving that it does under standard scientific procedure.

http://www.solid-gains.com/study/25-1-does-overtraining-exist.html


Whatever dude. Your choice to believe or not regardless of medical whatever.

Now that's ironic.

Dave Van Skike
04-11-2009, 07:14 PM
I've never rowed 2000m daily however I do lift my perceived 1RM in the clean/jerk, snatch, front squat and occasionally back squat five days a week, allowing myself six attempts if I fail the maximum of the day, and I haven't had any problems with "recovery". I make gains every week (I'm not a novice). I'm not taking restoratives either. Steven you should not take your personal experiences and apply them to everyone else. Different races, sexes, and individuals have different capacities when it comes to endurance, strength, recovery, etc.

(And I'm not saying adrenal fatigue doesn't exist.)


I don't disagree with your sentiment at all. But your particular approach seems pretty autoregulated, certainly a smart way to train but the 6 attempts rule seems like a backstop against overreaching. (I too am skeptical about the frequency of "overtraining" )

BUT....FWIW, I didn't hear any real personal examples from S Low, other than the pullup thing which I don't get but whatever. You might be reading a bit more into it than he intended.

Enrique Billington
04-11-2009, 07:21 PM
Your results don't lie Dave.

This is what I mean by personal experience.


Overtraining/overreaching is generally systemic fatigue of the central nervous system. It's true that you're taxing your body beyond it's ability to recover. In general, you will see performance decreases as the CNS is depressed further which will impair your ability to lift heavy weights or depress overall endurance. This means:

1. Recovery capacity without workouts is unaffected. If you rest for a couple days after overreaching you will get back to previous capacity if not better with some supercompensation. If it's not chronic, ~5-7 days max will get you back to full capacity ready to go.

2. Decreased all around performance. Both strength and endurance are inhibited.

3. Gradual. You can see your performance decreasing day after day as your CNS is fatigued.

----------------------

Adrenal fatigue deals with systemic overtaxing of the adrenal glands (hence "adrenal") which produce a lot of the hormones in fight or flight response such as the catecholamines, aldosterone, glucocorticoids like cortisol, DHEA, etc.

From what I've experience with adrenal fatigue....

1. VERY poor recovery capacity after workouts. Workouts that used to take me 1-2 days to recover from take me 3-4 maybe 5 days to recover from (I've also induced this before with poor nutrition but that was like 2 years ago). My guess for this would be decreased DHEA output = less androgens to help promote recovery.

Adrenal fatigue will generally take AT LEAST 2-3+ weeks to recover from with no workouts at all. My recover capacity is just really messed up badly. I can barely do anything at all.

2. Strength is *NOT* depressed at all -- I've maintained all my strength because the CNS is not affected. However, sympathetic activation for endurance is depressed because catecholamine and cortisol production is lower which help release metabolites for energy production.

This is even *worse* than endurance performance being depressed from overtraining... if I had to give it a percentage it would probably be at least 10-25% worse.

3. SUDDEN. You're stressing your adrenals.. they keep working.. etc. then BOOM. I crashed one day after a tough workout, and I'm out for pretty much 4-5 weeks. Soooooooo tired during the day, but the symptoms of overtraining (per google search) are not there at all. No muscle or joint aches, extended soreness, etc.

Is Steven experiencing poor sleep and "recovery" hampered because he has overtrained or under some sort of endocrine disorder, or is it because he is a college student and sleeps an average of about three or five hours a night? It's simply false that recovery takes weeks or even days; in fact recovery occurs in a matter of hours and technically minutes.

You're right about the six attempts thing; I just allot myself that many tries as often times you can hit a PR if you keep trying, with sufficient (5-10 minutes) of rest in between attempts. It's forced improvement.

Enrique Billington
04-11-2009, 07:27 PM
And yeah totally, the concept of overrate...er.. overtraining has been blown to mythical proportions on the internet. It's really sad that all of these antiquated concepts like periodization, overtraining, etc are still being promoted.

Steven Low
04-11-2009, 07:50 PM
What is there to refute Steven? All you have given us is your personal experience. Do you have any evidence that overtraining exists? Perhaps you should provide some studies and we'll start talking. Until then I recommend you check out this study or at least read the abstract; overtraining has not been proven to exist and you'll have a hell of a hard time proving that it does under standard scientific procedure.

[url]http://www.solid-gains.com/study/25-1-does-overtraining-exist.html[/url

I personally have no vest interest if "overtraining" exists or not. So the article is basically insinuating that only really "overreaching" exists and it can be exacerbated a long time. Overtraining is not proven. Okay fine.

TO BE HONEST, I don't see a difference between this, and the analogy of creationists saying how "microevolution" is proven to exist, but there is not enough evidence for "macroevolution." Okay fine. It is what it is.

So, in effect, we're playing word games. This is all semantics.

ALL I am referring to here is depressed performance and comparison of this to other states of depressed performance and subsequent recovery.

Is there anything that needs to be refuted in the prior sentence?


Your results don't lie Dave.

This is what I mean by personal experience.

Is Steven experiencing poor sleep and "recovery" hampered because he has overtrained or under some sort of endocrine disorder, or is it because he is a college student and sleeps an average of about three or five hours a night?

Given, I don't have the best sleep schedule DURING that 'bout of training, but that's definitely just an additional stressor. It has not affected my recovery that much before, ironically enough, so why does it now?

Diet has not changed, sleep has not changed. Training has not changed. So why, after a recovery week of 7 days, would my performance level not be back up to par?

Unfortunately, I don't have access to equipment/tests where I can measure my hormonal outputs so it's a no go.

I take it you are not a believer in the black box.

It's simply false that recovery takes weeks or even days; in fact recovery occurs in a matter of hours and technically minutes.

What? Seriously, that's just wrong.

Protein synthesis for one is elevated in muscles for up to 48-72 hours after workouts.

Metabolic recovery takes a couple mins.. maybe hours sure. Damage takes longer to repair.


edit: if we're talking about something along the lines of the fatigue-fitness model sure. But the adaptations that comprise "fitness" DO take a bit of time to occur physiologically...... or would you say that falls under the fatigue taking longer to dissipate?

Enrique Billington
04-11-2009, 08:05 PM
I personally have no vest interest if "overtraining" exists or not. So the article is basically insinuating that only really "overreaching" exists and it can be exacerbated a long time. Overtraining is not proven. Okay fine.

TO BE HONEST, I don't see a difference between this, and the analogy of creationists saying how "microevolution" is proven to exist, but there is not enough evidence for "macroevolution." Okay fine. It is what it is.

This is not comparable; as there is plenty of evidence that macro evolution exists. Those who chose not to believe in it have simply decided not to accept the evidence.

It's not semantics.

Either overtraining exists or it does not, Steven. A few minutes ago, you said, outright, that it does indeed exist. So either there is little to no evidence to support it; or you are no different that the creationists you mention - you choose to believe in unsubstantiated, un-supported claims.

ALL I am referring to here is depressed performance and comparison of this to other states of depressed performance and subsequent recovery.

Is there anything that needs to be refuted in the prior sentence?

Not really; you are picking straws.



Given, I don't have the best sleep schedule DURING that 'bout of training, but that's definitely just an additional stressor. It has not affected my recovery that much before, ironically enough, so why does it now?

Lack of sleep - Distress.

Training - Eustress.

One leads to adaptation, the other leads to degeneration. Your "overtraining" is just undersleeping. Training itself is not going to cause your problems, lo and behold it will probably alleviate some of them.

Perhaps your lack of sleep hurts you more because you are training at a greater intensity than you were before?

Diet has not changed, sleep has not changed. Training has not changed. So why, after a recovery week of 7 days, would my performance level not be back up to par?

Because you would lose to a degree the training effect you had generated the previous weeks.

Taking a break off after having built a great deal of strength makes absolutely no sense. It makes no sense for an organism like human beings (just another form of animal that has to survive) to have to take recovery periods in order to improve. It is not in the nature of our DNA.




What? Seriously, that's just wrong.

Protein synthesis for one is elevated in muscles for up to 48-72 hours after workouts.

Metabolic recovery takes a couple mins.. maybe hours sure. Damage takes longer to repair.

Damage does not need to be repaired; it is part of the training effect, once you take time for the "damage" to repair, the training effect has already been diminished. This is why people like Ivan Abadjiev generally recommend against massage for anything other than relaxation (weightlifting is a relaxation sport), it de-trains the athletes. It's also why he recommends them to train through any pain, injury, etc, and his lifters (this includes those in many other countries who are coached by Bulgarian immigrants) never go through periodization, recovery, etc. You have just admitted that overtraining has nothing to do with the nervous system, which was your previous claim, as it is only the muscles that are "damaged"; the muscles do not move the weight on their own, they only do what the nervous system tells them, and the nervous system requires only a few hours to recovery from training. The condition of your muscles has little to no affect on your strength. Your opinions are little more than a contradiction of one another; and until you are able to source them; you should admit you cannot.

Steven Low
04-11-2009, 08:37 PM
This is not comparable; as there is plenty of evidence that macro evolution exists. Those who chose not to believe in it have simply decided not to accept the evidence.

It's not semantics.

Either overtraining exists or it does not, Steven. A few minutes ago, you said, outright, that it does indeed exist. So either there is little to no evidence to support it; or you are no different that the creationists you mention - you choose to believe in unsubstantiated, un-supported claims.


Not really; you are picking straws.

You have got to be kidding me. If you want me to take back what I said about overtraining then sure. I will. I take that back.

I only said overtraining exists as a prelude for "decreased performance and subsequent recovery" which I said and you want to bash down.

So now that I'm actually clarifying what I mean here are you going to disagree with that?


Lack of sleep - Distress.

Training - Eustress.

One leads to adaptation, the other leads to degeneration. Your "overtraining" is just undersleeping. Training itself is not going to cause your problems, lo and behold it will probably alleviate some of them.

Perhaps your lack of sleep hurts you more because you are training at a greater intensity than you were before?

Have you been following my log at all? Consider this.

I just went back through my log and added up all my sleep for the past ~2 months. My last cycle (Jan to about mid-Feb) took approximately 4 weeks.

From the end of that cycle 'til now I've gotten an AVERAGE of 7.39 hours of sleep per night over 52 days.

From when I realized I had probably adrenal fatigue I've gotten 7.50 hours of sleep per night over ~33 days.

Sleep has been broken up into naps maybe 25-30% of the time. So if there was 8 hours most of the time (70% or so) it's broken into 6 hours + 2 hour nap. Definitely a drain on recovery, but nothing to be THAT worried about.

This is NOTHING like the 3-5 hours people are saying I've been getting. No sir. Sleep is definitely not the problem here.


Because you would lose to a degree the training effect you had generated the previous weeks.

Taking a break off after having built a great deal of strength makes absolutely no sense. It makes no sense for an organism like human beings (just another form of animal that has to survive) to have to take recovery periods in order to improve. It is not in the nature of our DNA.

My strength hasn't decreased though so which is one of the things I was commenting on why it's PROBABLY not sleep/overreaching related (nor diet).

I probably have lost movement pattern related strength for OAC, but that's to be expected for not having done the movement in a while.



Damage does not need to be repaired; it is part of the training effect, once you take time for the "damage" to repair, the training effect has already been alleviated. This is why people like Ivan Abadjiev generally recommend against massage for anything other than relaxation (weightlifting is a relaxation sport), it de-trains the athletes. It's also why he recommends them to train through any pain, injury, etc, and his lifters (this includes those in many other countries who are coached by Bulgarian immigrants) never go through periodization, recovery, etc. You have just admitted that overtraining has nothing to do with the nervous system, as it is only the muscles that are "damaged"; the muscles do not move the weight on their own, they only do what the nervous system tells them, and the nervous system requires only a few hours to recovery from training. The condition of your muscles have no affect on your strength. Your opinions are little more than a contradiction of one another; and until you are able to source them; you should admit you cannot.

Um, just because I didn't use CNS as an example doesn't mean it isn't one. Omission doesn't mean I'm "admitting" something doesn't exist, lol. Poor argument.

CNS related overtraining/overreaching/whatever you wanna call it effect:

http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/85/6/2352


edit: any significant overreaching effect that has to do with decreases in hormones is generally neurological in nature since the hypothalamus is integrated with the CNS and a lot of the hormones it and subsequently the anterior pituitary produces are from a direct result.

Anecdotally, I am sure you know that there are two forms of "overreaching/overtraining"... one which is more endurance related and one which is more power/strength related.

Dave Van Skike
04-11-2009, 08:42 PM
i thought i had CNS once but wife said that men don't get that.

Steven Low
04-11-2009, 08:45 PM
i thought i had CNS once but wife said that men don't get that.
I chuckled. :)

Enrique Billington
04-11-2009, 09:03 PM
You have got to be kidding me. If you want me to take back what I said about overtraining then sure. I will. I take that back.

I only said overtraining exists as a prelude for "decreased performance and subsequent recovery" which I said and you want to bash down.

So now that I'm actually clarifying what I mean here are you going to disagree with that?

I would say that overtraining for the most part is nothing more than a prelude for a plethora of excuses and cop outs for one's performance and laziness.




Have you been following my log at all? Consider this.

I just went back through my log and added up all my sleep for the past ~2 months. My last cycle (Jan to about mid-Feb) took approximately 4 weeks.

From the end of that cycle 'til now I've gotten an AVERAGE of 7.39 hours of sleep per night over 52 days.

From when I realized I had probably adrenal fatigue I've gotten 7.50 hours of sleep per night over ~33 days..


Sleep has been broken up into naps maybe 25-30% of the time. So if there was 8 hours most of the time (70% or so) it's broken into 6 hours + 2 hour nap. Definitely a drain on recovery, but nothing to be THAT worried about.

So I was right, your average sleep time was indeed less than seven hours, you cannot include the practice of naps as "sleep" as little to no recovery actually occurs, your practice of naps is probably why you get so little sleep at night, which are of course the result of your college lifestyle.


This is NOTHING like the 3-5 hours people are saying I've been getting. No sir. Sleep is definitely not the problem here.

It is indeed. How could anything else be the problem? You do not train intensely enough nor with enough volume to illicit overtraining.



My strength hasn't decreased though so which is one of the things I was commenting on why it's PROBABLY not sleep/overreaching related (nor diet).

How do you know your strength hasn't decreased? You don't test your strength regularly.

I probably have lost movement pattern related strength for OAC, but that's to be expected for not having done the movement in a while.

If you cannot perform the movement at the intensity you could beforehand; you have lost strength. Movement pattern only applies to high-skill exercises like the clean, snatch and the jerk, and so forth. You're using it as another word for strength-skill. A one armed chinup requires no skill to perform. What more could it be? It's like saying you can no longer bench press 550ibs because you have lost the "skill" to do so.




Um, just because I didn't use CNS as an example doesn't mean it isn't one. Omission doesn't mean I'm "admitting" something doesn't exist, lol. Poor argument.

How is it a poor argument? You said that overtraining is a symptom of nervous system fatigue. If it can be a symptom of the muscles, how would you be able to tell? Perhaps you are thinking of soreness?

http://jap.physiology.org/cgi/content/full/85/6/2352


The relevancy of this article?

Dave Van Skike
04-11-2009, 09:26 PM
Enrique, i like your style but umm...there are some elements of here that are a bit off.
I'll leave aside the "skill" question (deep back squats and double jumps on an MX bike are both skill/strength, just different expressions) if over training et all don't exist, and I only really need 24-36 hours to "recover", why do deloading weeks every month or so work so well?

Enrique Billington
04-11-2009, 09:43 PM
Thanks Dave although these aren't my ideas or my style one bit, these ideas have been around for a long long time. I just repeat what I've read.

As for the deloading weeks I think they're no doubt effective however the manner in which they are employed is a complete different issue. I believe a "deloading week" should simply involve a reduction in the number of days you train rather than the intensity. I believe that it's necessary to do this for competition as well. I know that the Belorussians, Bulgarians, Turks, Iranians, Greeks and so forth all lift maximally even during the final weeks of the competition, but that they reduce the number of times they do this dramatically (and keep in mind they typically do it anywhere from two to three times a day). But as for a "deloading week" which involved a decrease in general intensity, I do not think that would be very useful for someone who is already training at a maximal level 3-5 times a week, especially with low reps, as this strength can be lost with a mere two days off let alone an entire week. It has to be maintained and improved upon throughout the entire year.

If that's what you mean by a deloading week, then by all means we are in complete agreement, it is necessary to lower the volume/frequency for some period like that if you aren't using restoratives. I believe this is not a means of preventing "overtraining" as is commonly understood but to prevent injury over the long haul and to allow certain processes (such as the production of adrenaline and other chemicals) to recover from a method that clearly demands them to a greater degree than more popular methods. And you do have to take in to account the autoregulation concept you mentioned, when doing something like this your body will naturally "deload" on the days when you aren't able to lift within the limits of your past PRs.

I'm not quite sure how a deep backsquat can be considered a skill. It involves no switching directions, relaxation of different muscle groups within fractions of a milisecond, multiple changes in one's positions at given anatomical planes within miliseconds, etc. It can take a while to teach someone a powerlifting squat or an SS squat especially someone like a highschool kid these days but I don't see how it can be considered much of a skill, but as you said it doesn't pertain much to the topic at hand.

Dave Van Skike
04-11-2009, 11:00 PM
regardless of how you think, based on your scholarly work, deloads SHOULD work, many athletes deload differently and to great effect.

again, i agree with some of your sentiments, overtraining is overrated and I have no idea what adrenal fatigue is, (pretty sure i don't have it) i think your insistent focus on the fairly narrow world of olympic weightlifting may have clouded your view of other people's experience.

that and you don't appear to understnad much about Powerlifting, strongman, highland games track and filed or any other strength sport. For my part I find oly lifiting interesting, like curling and NASCAR.

Enrique Billington
04-11-2009, 11:24 PM
Why do you think I don't understand much about those sports? Abadjiev's method has been applied to at least one of the sports you mentioned. Ekaterini Thanou is one of the only white females competing at an international level in the 100m sprint (she won silver at Athens 2004, after her gold medal was taken away from her) and she trains using this method. Why do you think it couldn't be applied to the other sports?

Dave Van Skike
04-12-2009, 08:17 AM
Why do you think I don't understand much about those sports? Abadjiev's method has been applied to at least one of the sports you mentioned. Ekaterini Thanou is one of the only white females competing at an international level in the 100m sprint (she won silver at Athens 2004, after her gold medal was taken away from her) and she trains using this method. Why do you think it couldn't be applied to the other sports?

the arrogant and dismissive tone would be a start, the quick and easy charecterization of the sports movements is another. the methods you describe seem sound, in fact i suspect they are not particularly unique because none of this stuff is new.

the problem is this... i wouldn't go around expounding on shit i know nothing about. if you think the PL squat is a simple lift with universally straightforward recovery parameters then there's a lot you don't know about squatting.

earlier in the thread, you were sniping about Steven's application of theory without experience....You've been doing pretty much the same thing. not sure if it was intentional or I'm misreading it but until you've walked a mile in a man's shoe and all that...

The closer you stick to what you actually do and why, the more likely we are to learn something, the more you blather about the scientific methods and "established" facts, the stupider we all get.

Steven Low
04-12-2009, 05:47 PM
I would say that overtraining for the most part is nothing more than a prelude for a plethora of excuses and cop outs for one's performance and laziness.

I would tend to agree. I think it's overrated, BUT most of the people around here or CF are either

(1) old enough to not have a good enough recovery ability as they used to or
(2) try to do too much at the same time (mostly CFers also doing a sport).

So for US it's definitely something to take note of ESPECIALLY when there's decreasing performance. Not overtraining of course but significant overreaching.


So I was right, your average sleep time was indeed less than seven hours, you cannot include the practice of naps as "sleep" as little to no recovery actually occurs, your practice of naps is probably why you get so little sleep at night, which are of course the result of your college lifestyle.

It is indeed. How could anything else be the problem? You do not train intensely enough nor with enough volume to illicit overtraining.

lol alright. That's your opinion.

Nevermind that sleep experience within the previous X years has been worse, but I still have recovered fine. Nice little point to ignore.

I know with 100% certainty that my experience with being down and out with excessive fatigue is NOT due to sleep, diet or any recovery training (3 recovery, 4 light, 3 medium and 2 heavy workouts in the 33 days that I thought I had some adrenal fatigue -- certainly not enough to do anything).

If it's not overreaching/overtraining like you're saying, then what is it?

Is it really my sleep? If you still think that I have nothing else to say cause you're not going to believe me regardless.

-------------------

Also, have you EVER worked with one arm chins?

If you haven't I don't think you know what you're talking about with not enough volume/intensity with OAC work.

How do you know your strength hasn't decreased? You don't test your strength regularly.

Nah, that's just wrong. I test every couple weeks on certain movements.

Cross work testing my pulling strength last week. Of course, I haven't tested much while I've been fatigued.

If you cannot perform the movement at the intensity you could beforehand; you have lost strength. Movement pattern only applies to high-skill exercises like the clean, snatch and the jerk, and so forth. You're using it as another word for strength-skill. A one armed chinup requires no skill to perform. What more could it be? It's like saying you can no longer bench press 550ibs because you have lost the "skill" to do so.

CNS based strength in motor pattern use and disuse. If this is not true then explain to me why:

1. Grease the groove works.

2. What happens after you don't do strength work after a week or two after finish GTG when you actually lose strength/endurance/etc.

How is it a poor argument? You said that overtraining is a symptom of nervous system fatigue. If it can be a symptom of the muscles, how would you be able to tell? Perhaps you are thinking of soreness?

The relevancy of this article?

Article clearly points towards something like "CNS" fatigue.

Donald Lee
04-12-2009, 06:23 PM
I think I understand that all too well.

The part that confuses me is how this is an adrenal issue? I'm truly ignorant on the subject, how does one even test for it and eliminate all the other stuff, chronic low testosterone, lack of sleep, depression issues etc?

Certainly the low grade chronic stress in my own life (endless remodel with me as contractor, sole breadwinner, job working with vampires, parenthood, etc.) these things are things are three times as draining as sets across with heavy deads or a long hike or stair running.

Honestly without the little bit of suffering for under a heavy weight, the 10 hours a day at a desk would have me cleaning my ears with a shotgun well before teh overtraining kicked in..

All types of stress require the adrenal glands, whether the stress be an illness, food allergy, exercise, mental, etc. When you have adrenal fatigue, hormones such as cortisol are depleted, so you unable to handle normal stressors.

Donald Lee
04-12-2009, 06:27 PM
The whole overreaching/overtraining thing is all semantics. Overreaching/overtraining lie on a continuum. The boundaries we choose are artificial, just as classifications of diseases are artificial. Even muscle fibers lie on a continuum.

Overreaching

An accumulation of training and/or non-training stress resulting in a
short-term decrement in performance capacity with or without related
physiological and psychological signs and symptoms of overtraining in
which restoration of performance capacity may take from several days to
several weeks.

Overtraining

An accumulation of training and/or non-training stress resulting in a
short-term decrement in performance capacity with or without related
physiological and psychological signs and symptoms of overtraining in
which restoration of performance capacity may take from several days to
several weeks.

Kreider RB, Fry AC, O'Toole ML (Eds). Overtraining in Sport. Human
Kinetics, 1998.

Signs and Symptoms of Overtraining
Immunological
Increased susceptibility to and severity of illness/colds/allergies
Flu-like illnesses
Unconfirmed glandular fever
Minor scratches heal slowly
Swelling of the lymph glands
One-day colds
Decreased functional activity of neutrophils
Decreased total lymphocyte counts
Reduced response to mitogens
Increased blood eosinophil count
Decreased proportion of non-T, non-B lymphocytes
Bacterial infection
Reactivation of herpes viral infection
Significant variations in CD4:CD8 lymphocytes


Biochemical
Negative nitrogen balance
Hypothalamic dysfunction
Flat glucose tolerance curves
Depressed muscle glycogen concentration
Decreased bone mineral content
Delayed menarche
Decreased hemoglobin
Decreased serum iron
Decreased serum ferritin
Lowered TIBC
Mineral depletion (Zn, Co, Al, Mn, Se, Cu, etc.)
Increased urea concentrations
Elevated cortisol levels
Elevated ketosteroids in urine
Low free testosterone
Increased serum hormone binding globulin
Decreased ratio of free testosterone to cortisol of more than 30%
Increased uric acid production

Physiological/Performance
Decreased performance
Inability to meet previously attained performance standards/criteria
Recovery prolonged
Reduced toleration of loading
Decreased muscular strength
Decreased maximum work capacity
Loss of Coordination
Decreased efficiency/decreased amplitude of movement
Reappearance of mistakes already corrected
Reduced capacity of differentiation and correcting technical faults
Increased difference between lying and standing heart rate
Abnormal T wave pattern in ECG
Heart discomfort on slight exertion
Changes in blood pressure
Changes in heart rate at rest, exercise and recovery

Physiological/Performance
Increased frequency of respiration
Perfuse respiration
Decreased body fat
Increased oxygen consumption at submaximal workloads
Increased ventilation and heart rate at submaximal workloads
Shift of the lactate curve towards the x axis
Decreased evening postworkout weight
Elevated basal metabolic rate
Chronic fatigue
Insomnia with and without night sweats
Feels thirsty on a constant basis
Anorexia nervosa
Loss of appetite
Bulimia
Amenorrhea/oligomenorrhea
Headaches
Nausea
Increased aches and pains
Gastrointestinal disturbances

Psychological
Feelings of depression
General apathy
Decreased self-esteem/worsening feelings of self
Emotional instability
Difficulty in concentrating at work and training
Sensitive to environmental and emotional stress
Fear of competition
Changes in personality
Decreased ability to narrow concentration
Increased internal and external distractibility
Decreased capacity to deal with large amounts of information
Gives up when the going gets tough

From Fry RW, Morton AR, Keast D. 1991. Overtraining in athletes: an
update. Sports Medicine. 2:32-65.

Parasympathetic (Aerobic OT)
Decreased performance
Decreased percentage of body fat
Decreased maximal oxygen uptake
Altered blood pressure
Increased muscle soreness
Decreased muscle glycogen
Altered resting heart rate
Increased submaximal exercise heart rate
Decreased lactate
Increased creatine kinase
Altered cortisol concentration
Decreased total testosterone concentration
Decreased ratio of total testosterone to cortisol
Decreased ratio of free testosterone to cortisol
Decreased ratio of total testosterone to sex hormone-binding globulin
Decreased sympathetic tone (decreased nocturnal and resting
catecholamines)
Increased sympathetic stress response

Sympathetic (Anaerobic OT)
Psychological effects: decreased desire to train; decreased joy from
training
Acute epinephrine and norepinephrine: increases beyond normal
exercise-induced levels (sympathetic overtraining system)
Performance decrements, may be too late to be a good predictor to avoid
overtraining

Because conflicting markers for anaerobic overtraining exist, many
athletes and coaches use markers of aerobic overtraining to monitor an
athlete's OT status which is not a completely suitable substitute for
anaerobic status

From Kraemer, W.J. Physiological Adaptations to Anaerobic and Aerobic
Endurance Training Programs. In T.R. Baechle and R.W. Earle. (Eds.).
Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (2nd ed.) Champaign,
IL: Human Kinetics. 2000.

Nutritional strategies to prevent overtraining can be found at:

Kreider RB, Leutholtz BL, Katch FI, Katch VL. Exercise and Sport
Nutrition: Principles, Promises, Science, and Recommendations. FTP
Press, 2009. Available at www.exerciseandsportnutrition.com
<http://www.exerciseandsportnutrition.com/> or www.amazon.com
<http://www.amazon.com/> .

Rick Kreider
Professor & Head
Director, Exercise & Sport Nutrition Lab
Thomas A. and Joan Read Endowed Chair for Disadvantaged Youth
Department of Health & Kinesiology
Texas A&M University
http://esnl.tamu.edu

Steven Low
04-12-2009, 07:06 PM
The whole overreaching/overtraining thing is all semantics. Overreaching/overtraining lie on a continuum. The boundaries we choose are artificial, just as classifications of diseases are artificial. Even muscle fibers lie on a continuum.
That's what I said, but he doesn't believe me. Shrug.

Dave Van Skike
04-12-2009, 07:10 PM
All types of stress require the adrenal glands, whether the stress be an illness, food allergy, exercise, mental, etc. When you have adrenal fatigue, hormones such as cortisol are depleted, so you unable to handle normal stressors.

I think Dr. G got that part across. How does one isolate theses generic symptoms (along with the ones listed in the overreaching/overtraining reference) from the myriads other possible causes? Like I said, there are plenty of low and high grade stressors that make life suck from time to time, arriving at the adrenals as the injured party confuses me.

Mike ODonnell
04-12-2009, 07:21 PM
I'm getting fatigue reading this thread.

Steven Low
04-12-2009, 08:27 PM
I think Dr. G got that part across. How does one isolate theses generic symptoms (along with the ones listed in the overreaching/overtraining reference) from the myriads other possible causes? Like I said, there are plenty of low and high grade stressors that make life suck from time to time, arriving at the adrenals as the injured party confuses me.
I'm not sure what you're getting at.

I mean, all of us pretty much know that overreaching goes away within a week -- at least most of us are smart enough to not let it go any further than that. You are definitely.

But if you have some persistent decrease in energy or fatigue from day to day that goes beyond when overreaching should have dissipated... you look at other factors.

The only systems beyond something like brain cancer and the CNS (as it would've recovered by then) is the endocrine system. Keep in mind that overreaching/overtraining states all have various side effects on hormonal profiles which is why they actually measure those hormones when they do their studies.

If the recovery period is significantly long enough to recover from the training stimulus, and fatigue persists it's PROBABLY going to be a related endocrine dysfunction. Other things such as respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, muscular, etc. you would all have different effects from each which make them easier to determine. PLUS with these you usually don't have global effects except maybe with immune disorders.

Maybe Garrett can elaborate a bit more on that if you don't get it, but in my mind at least it seems clear to look for an endocrine dysfunction of some sort. Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis especially since this regulates much of sympathetic nervous system activation which is critical in fight/flight response = any physical activity.

And it would be help if you could do measurements of specific hormones, but that costs money.

Garrett Smith
04-12-2009, 08:31 PM
Nice, MOD.

Dave, the adrenals mainly get "fatigue" through under-nutrition, as cortisol/adrenaline/noradrenaline (among others) require tons of nutrition when they are being specifically called upon. With such significant increases in our general stress levels along with the generally decreased nutritional values of our foods, it sets some of us up for this situation. If this is the issue, this is not something that a month off of training, more sleep, or more protein would fix. If only it were that easy.

For testing, I use a 4-time cortisol (~6am, noon, 5pm, and 11pm to see the cortisol circadian rhythm) + a 1-time DHEA & 17-OH progesterone measurement through Diagnos-Techs lab. The AM and PM blood cortisol measurements typically used to look for Cushing's or Addison's might be useful in some occasions, except that the "normal" ranges are only meant to isolate outright major diseases of the adrenals. Again, think of adrenal "fatigue" much like hypothyroid, it is an underfunctioning, not complete failure. Most hypothyroidism is also often an issue of undernutrition (often along with toxicity--mercury is nasty on the thyroid and adrenals).

There is also the whole book on the subject, for those who would like to look past the interwebz...

Enrique, for your own benefit on this thread, you might want to change your approach or you might find people disregarding your posts.

Steven Low
04-12-2009, 08:35 PM
Nice, MOD.

Dave, the adrenals mainly get "fatigue" through under-nutrition, as cortisol/adrenaline/noradrenaline (among others) require tons of nutrition when they are being specifically called upon. With such significant increases in our general stress levels along with the generally decreased nutritional values of our foods, it sets some of us up for this situation. If it is this issue, this is not something that a month off of training, more sleep, or more protein would fix. If only it were that easy.

For testing, I use a 4-time cortisol (~6am, noon, 5pm, and 11pm to see the cortisol circadian rhythm) + a 1-time DHEA & 17-OH progesterone measurement through Diagnos-Techs lab. The AM and PM blood cortisol measurements typically used to look for Cushing's or Addison's might be useful in some occasions, except that the "normal" ranges are only meant to isolate outright major diseases of the adrenals. Again, think of adrenal "fatigue" much like hypothyroid, it is an underfunctioning, not complete failure. Most hypothyroidism is also often an issue of undernutrition (often along with toxicity--mercury is nasty on the thyroid and adrenals).

There is also the whole book on the subject, for those who would like to look past the interwebz...
Which book is that Garrett?

You think it would be available in the public library? :p

Dave Van Skike
04-12-2009, 08:36 PM
psychological factors?
utterly retarded loading?
unfocused training efforts?
boredom?
laziness?

i've seen too many bouts of overreaching solved with a PR to go all doctor science right off the bat.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

thanks G, I think I get it, from what I recall of the "hormonal fluctuation model" ...My experience keeps telling me that 99.9 of the problems that need fixing in this arena are between the ears but I'll take it at face value.

Justin Chebahtah
04-14-2009, 08:15 AM
Notwithstanding the epic battle of brains this thread took, I thank you all for your input.

Dave, would you mind sharing some of your bouts with "overreaching" (insert term you're comfortable with here) that we're "cured with a PR"? This is not sarcasm. It just seems very different from the usual "take a week off" advice that is given. Perhaps you can share what your training is like, when you began to feel burnt out and how pushing yourself seemed to alleviate that.

As far as the overtraining does/does not exist argument...I'll have to go back and read some of these references. I am not educated enough in physiology to formulate a solid opinion on the whole science of adrenal fatigue/overtraining.

Garrett Smith
04-14-2009, 08:49 AM
Steven,
It's the "Adrenal Fatigue" book by Dr. James Wilson. I don't know if your library would have it or not, you'd have to check.

Dave Van Skike
04-14-2009, 10:54 AM
Notwithstanding the epic battle of brains this thread took, I thank you all for your input.

Dave, would you mind sharing some of your bouts with "overreaching" (insert term you're comfortable with here) that we're "cured with a PR"? This is not sarcasm. It just seems very different from the usual "take a week off" advice that is given. Perhaps you can share what your training is like, when you began to feel burnt out and how pushing yourself seemed to alleviate that.

As far as the overtraining does/does not exist argument...I'll have to go back and read some of these references. I am not educated enough in physiology to formulate a solid opinion on the whole science of adrenal fatigue/overtraining.

Justin,

Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying I cured overreaching by training harder...But I've certainly had long slogs without progress, mountign injuries, depression, poor sleep was shitty, training stale and brain fog. But then....if I just make a littel tweak, change somethign minor I'll hit huge PR and Snap, everything comes back into focus. thus leading me to believe that for myself, what I thought was overreaching or overtraining was largely in the brain...(I do believe the brain and the body are interconnected but my adrenals didn't get cured overnight if they had in fact been impacted)

I've had this happen a number of times. The first most memorable was over ten years ago during a cycling season where I had been training my ass off racing 4 days a week all spring, Lots of Volume.... I went into the summer weighing about 165, which for me was pretty tiny, and was getting dropped in races I should have been placing. On the spur of the moment, I decided to bale on a big stage race and instead traveled out of state for a critierium. I went out drinking the night befor and showed up at teh startline more than a littel hungover. That day I had one of my most memorable performances on the bike ever, driving a couple long solo breaks and eventually finishing in the money in a bunch sprint agaisnt doem prety fast company.. ..the rest of the season was significantly better and within two weeks I went on a tear at the track winning several omniums in a row and at Districts.

fast forward.

Last year I spent two months just working on my front squat towards the end of a long 6 months of unbroken training, I had spent most of the summer squattign one day a week and I had bumped it up to two days a week, soemtimes twice a day. ..., by the Auguset September I was dead tired and my max had maybe moved 5-10 pounds, I was routinley gettign lightheaded under front squats and had broken my no throwing up rule..

.I got super frustrated after missing my goal weight for the month...I was super pissed, I said screw it decided to hit a few zerchers...worked up to my first 405 zercher easily and a got a hard won 425, which was a 50 pound PR.

Another example, last month, I've been hammering way on a bunch of work and home related projects (I'm doing a remodel) and things in the gym have been pretty stale, my lifts have leveled out for a bit and I've had a number of injuries including breaking a small bone in my hand, for the most part I was pullign form the floor every other weak and squatting once a weak, my volume was low but the background stresss was very high.

hurting my hand forced me to use straps for my pulls for a couple days and then eventually forced me to use a hook grip for deadlifts. Apparently that little change made a difference as I went from struggling for 3 reps at 500 to pulling an easy triple at 520 and have pulled 5x500 twice in the last month....Yeah I'm still a little tired and shitty feeling , but the lifts are going up and my mood has vastly improved.

So, what does my experience mean to me? Overreaching may be part of it and a change of pace/rest may be needed...but I think a HUGE piece is mental. People thrive on visible signs of progress...if you feel ineffectual...you will be. That's one of the reasons I think a totally viable approach to stalling is to quit and do something else, nab a couple significant wins for yourself and then go back to it.

Gant Grimes
04-14-2009, 12:24 PM
i wouldn't go around expounding on shit i know nothing about.

That's my department.

In summary. If you're in a slump, for whatever reason, try to shoot your way out of it.

If that doesn't work, get happy. A cold Guinness, a tub of ice cream, a plate full of bacon, and a few days rest will set you right.

Liam Dougherty Springer
04-14-2009, 12:35 PM
I'm getting fatigue reading this thread.

Amen!

Liam Dougherty Springer
04-14-2009, 12:37 PM
That's my department.

In summary. If you're in a slump, for whatever reason, try to shoot your way out of it.

If that doesn't work, get happy. A cold Guinness, a tub of ice cream, a plate full of bacon, and a few days rest will set you right.

Double Amen!!

Justin Chebahtah
04-18-2009, 10:51 AM
Dave,

Thanks for taking the time to post your experiences. Although I haven't really stalled/burnt out yet (other than when I wasn't eating enough), I feel it's good to learn from others experiences and trials. Thanks again guys.

--
Justin

Spencer Durland
04-23-2009, 10:05 AM
I just wanted to pick up on a point that Justin, for one, originally mentioned way, way back, which was the need of a first responder to achieve/maintain fitness while remaining able to actually respond. I'm not sure what everyone's background is here, but I know for myself that I have the luxury of being able to go all out without any risk that after completing a crushing chipper or something, I would have to do kick in doors or save people in a burning house. It seems to me that a first responder's training methodology for getting into a conditioned state may be different from maintaining that state, especially in terms of whether or not to push harder through fatigue, plateau, etc. since so much rides on his/her ability to carry out the job's physical demands.

Didn't notice that the last post was 5 days ago, so maybe everyone's done with this thread, but if not, I'd love to hear what you all have to say.

Garrett Smith
04-23-2009, 11:27 AM
Spencer,
IMO, a first-responder doing crushing workouts of any sort on a "work" day that leaves them unable to do their duties properly would be on par with a surgeon doing activities that affected their coordination negatively enough to cause dangerous errors in their work.

Both groups should save that stuff for their days off. Those poor choices are threatening lives.

There was one post I remember over at CF on a FFer workout log thread where it said something like "after that workout, there will be no babies saved today". That makes me sick and I find it to be extremely irresponsible. Just so happens that I now have a baby and these FFers are in my city.

Spencer Durland
04-23-2009, 01:08 PM
I certainly agree with your sentiment. I don't want to fall back into a technical discussion of overtraining, overreaching, or adrenal fatigue (for which I am not at all qualified) but I think most can agree that there are times when, for whatever reason, full recovery did not take place. That being the case, I wonder whether, in the case of a first responder, the system used to achieve optimum fitness, as relates to professional demands, differs from the system used to maintain such fitness or at least slow any deterioration.

Even if CF makes me really sore and tired, as long as I can recover for the next day or get through to my off-day, then I'm fine and can continue to strive for the concrete fitness gains that characterize a program like CF. A first responder, on the other hand, has the responsibility to balance fitness gains with the ability to perform on the job. A PR 400 time is useless for a police officer if the effort left him or her unable to run down a suspect the next day. I ardently hope that such balance tips in favor of job performance, but the competitive aspect of CF (or other programs) might make this more difficult.

Gavin Harrison
04-23-2009, 02:02 PM
Dave,

Your experience with the zercher's / DLs sounds kind of like the ideas behind Block Periodization. Accumulation of training results / fatigue from pounding sand in some related things, then a period of transmutation, where you switch your training to focus on what you want to perform in specifically. I'm kind of assuming you didn't go through a realization period (taper) though, since it doesn't sound like you were competing.

Does this sound about right? Since the delayed transformation of the accumulated training results lasts about 4 weeks, the transmuting mesocycle falls right on the time when you're body is happy about you pounding sand for the last 2-3 months, and can turn the training affects into specific strength for other things.. your Zerchers, for instance.

Weird reading your post after looking through Jeremy Frey's logs the last few days on elitefts and reading about periodization in Science and Practice of Strength Training...

Dave Van Skike
04-23-2009, 02:37 PM
Dave,

Your experience with the zercher's / DLs sounds kind of like the ideas behind Block Periodization. Accumulation of training results / fatigue from pounding sand in some related things, then a period of transmutation, where you switch your training to focus on what you want to perform in specifically. I'm kind of assuming you didn't go through a realization period (taper) though, since it doesn't sound like you were competing.

Does this sound about right? Since the delayed transformation of the accumulated training results lasts about 4 weeks, the transmuting mesocycle falls right on the time when you're body is happy about you pounding sand for the last 2-3 months, and can turn the training affects into specific strength for other things.. your Zerchers, for instance.

Weird reading your post after looking through Jeremy Frey's logs the last few days on elitefts and reading about periodization in Science and Practice of Strength Training...

Really good eye Gavin! I've never really applied block periodization (or any really formalized method) to strength training but I am pretty familiar with the concept from bike racing where I had hits and misses. Misses included "accumulating" a lot of hours of roadwork and cross country skiing and then trying to translate that into MTB race fitness.

I did have one season where I broke off of any mid week mileage rides and skated instead, lots of 100-400 meter efforts and then one day of really really fast but short sprints, basically 5-10 jumps of 50 meters max. That worked really well.

Paul McKirdy
04-26-2009, 07:11 AM
How much GPP is enough?

Enough to have the mental and physical fortitude to run as fast as you can until you get there, anytime your immediate goal requires it. (a quote from my CC years ago...)